I don’t make resolutions typically, but I’m in the middle of trying to decide whether the mounting nonsense that is my job in China is worth it.
First, the photos, then the conundrum…
Working in China ALWAYS involves endurance. But I’m a veteran, and I find that on several points, I’ve become quite able to just accept the bulls*** and move on. But with the relatively new job that I’ve taken, there has been an inordinate amount of stuff to deal within a very short space of time, and I am finding that I flip back and forth constantly about whether I should continue on here next semester. So this post is an attempt to resolve the issue.
The things working against me are the following:
- A massive 24/7 construction project going on outside my staff housing – since it’s not run by the university, we have no say in the matter (see my post and photos: All I Need is the Air that I Breathe… and Construction on this business);
- The heaping on of extra work at exam time that only applied to me, and NOT the three foreign men who also work here;
- The growing suspicion that I am being compensated less than the men (especially the ones who just graduated from college, have no job experience, and spend more time drinking than planning their lessons);
- The recently-heard gossip that the school is planning on making me teach 4 weeks more than the men next semester without being compensated more. I issued an inquiry to the program director – she is getting pissed with me, and without giving me any information, said, “Oh, things will be fair.” I will find out the truth on this matter in a few days…
- The constant, no-warning turning off of power for anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours in the staff housing. It doesn’t affect the rest of the university, and it usually occurs when I have internet-based communication planned for the online course I’m taking. It is making me look unreliable and unprofessional when I don’t show up for meetings online.
- The frigid state of my cement-block, cheaply constructed apartment with no heating. It is below freezing here, and it is colder in the apartment than in my refrigerator – actually, things keep better if I leave them on my counter…
- The recent demolition of a building just outside my bedroom window. Apparently, the university will start construction on a new building very shortly. I’m betting that it will be a rush job, meaning that construction will be going through the night. I’ve included photos of the destruction above, and yes, it is as close to my living space as it looks. Oh yeah, and they dump all their materials and garbage directly under my window. So, in case it wasn’t clear, now there are two construction projects outside my building going on at the same time.
What to do? I don’t want to have to look for a new job. But at the same time, a certain set of conditions needs to be in place to ensure a general feeling of being human. The big problem is that I really enjoy my students, even the lazy ones. They are awesome. Unfortunately, Chinese employers and colleagues, once they enter the bureaucracy, don’t like to have to deal with what they see as ‘unreasonable foreigner complaints’.
How to resolve this one…
More info on the photo challenges can be found here.