How to be Friends with Your Chinese Boss

The day that my boss asked if me if I thought he was too old to have an affair on his wife was the day that I realized that I should probably ‘tone down’ my friendship with him. It is not that I did not enjoy talking to him about topics unrelated to work. It was just that he was 30 years older than me and I was not really interested in talking with him about his personal life. Besides, I liked his wife and I did not want to be involved somehow in causing problems for them. On the other hand, I was happy that he thought of me as more than an employee. It signified that he not only saw me as a good employee but he also considered me to be his friend. If he could speak frankly with me about certain issues, I knew that I could reciprocate that frankness if I needed to ask a  favor.

The best way to be friends with your boss is by showing him or her respect. Respect is the foundation of any good relationsip.  Respecting your boss means coming to class on time, being truthful, and showing interest in the school. Respect does not dictate that you have to be on call 24/7 or perform services that are well out of the scope of your contract. But if you demonstrate to your boss that you recognize is position, there is a much better chance that he or she will appreciate you more and listen to your needs.

Another way to become ‘fast friends’ with your boss is to ‘kiss up’ a little now and then. This concept is especially important when you are with your boss at a business dinner. Making a simple toast to your boss and his friends will impress everyone and result in your boss ‘gaining face.’ Using a few common Mandarin phrases will also have a similar effect. As I mentioned before, showing interest and praising your school in the presence of your boss and his colleagues goes a long way towards establishing your friendship.

Last of all, do not engage in talking badly about your boss ‘behind his or her back.’ You may think that complaining about your boss is a good way to ‘bond’ with your workmates but you would be surprised how fast and frequently these types of conversations reach the ears of the school administration. If you have an issue, it is much better to talk with your boss directly. He or she will appreciate hearing from you personally and the end result will more than likely be better.  

Every experience in China is different. I have worked with excellent bosses as well as bosses who never even learned my first name. Some teachers in China never actually meat the ‘real’ boss. But no matter who is in charge of your employment in China, it is important to take the relationship  seriously and remember that such a friendship could be to your advantage someday in the future.

3 Responses to How to be Friends with Your Chinese Boss

  1. worker says:

    I live in China. I was walking around the other day and I counted 24 children. Out of the 24 kids, only three were girls! That is a sex ratio of 8 boys to 1 girl! I once taught a class of 33 students where only 3 were girls! Now I know the official rate is 5 boys to 4 girls, but this is ridiculous. Who are these beloved sons going to marry in 20 years?

    I am aware that China has a one child policy, has a preference for sons as a replacement for a lack of a social security plan, and is backwards and undeveloped, but aborting females for males is beyond cruel. Estimates say that there will be a surplus of 60 million males in ten years.

    Chinese parents can have another child if they have a girl, but not if they have a boy. Chinese, however, often ignore the law, abort the girl, and have two sons. I am also told that China will import women from Russia, Thailand, Japan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines to make up for the lack of wives in China. However, these countries do not have an extra 60 million women and India, Pakistan, Nepal, Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan also have a severe shortage of women. An imbalanced sex ratio is a serious problem and could lead to social instability and even war.

    If you ever go to China, count the first 20 kids you see yourself. I bet you won’t find the sex ratio is better than two boys to one girl. If you are concerned about this problem, try to raise awareness by discussing this issue with others and ask them if they want to live in a world where everyone has an unmarried son.


  2. Shivangi says:

    lol. At least you are better off. My Chinese boss is in “love” with me and wishes to start an affair – with ME. Gawd!! Anyway, despite a refusal, he continues to be polite but does not fail to drop subtle hints which of course I choose to grossly ignore.

    Ooohh! I’m pretty (laughing my head off)

    Have yourself a great day ahead.


    JACK Reply:

    I had a chinease boss who recruited me because of my merit and then started bullying me.I am also so surprised to see such a behaviour from PhD holding person. During many of the meetings I came to know that boss is not that much good enough in the job he is doing, only thing he always interested is hanging aroound with a bull shit lady who has been recruited beacuse of beauty not for her knowledge level. She arrives always late and spend most of the time in lesuire manner, very week in her job and roam aroung knowledgable colleagues to get the work done through them.

    Even chinease boss raised his foot in a meeting when I made a realistic comment on some aspect discussed in the meeting. This is clearly a matter of non-professional behaviour & sadist behaviour from his side.]

    Chinease boss used to delay my salary, no salary slip given to me so far so as to harass me. He still owes me atleast 2 months salary( i left the job).

    Even when I am a highly qualoified expert involved in many international committees he does not like me.

    I have not seen such a useless & crooked boss in my life.

    Gods saves people working under chinease boses.




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