Getting a recommendation for a job in China

The longer my family and I live in China the more we find out about the Chinese culture. From time to time we come across an interesting difference between our two cultures. Recently a friend gave me this analogy to explain one particular area of “losing face” or “shaming” someone. I found this really interesting and wanted to pass it on. Here it is:

So in China let’s say there’s a guy whose specialty is computers. One day he goes to find a job and applies at a company that’s in his related field. When he applies he has a letter of recommendation from Bill Gates. The company sees his recommendation and they give him the job.

It doesn’t seem all that different from what would happen in America, right? But what’s interesting is that although the person would get the job regardless of him being in America or China, why he would get the job is different.

In America, he would get the job because BILL GATES one of the biggest names in the computer industry recommended him, so he must be qualified! We would look at Bill Gates ability to judge talent and trust his opinion.

But in China it’s not the same. He would get the job as well, but he would get it because the company wouldn’t want to shame (another way to say this would be, to embarrass) Bill Gates by refusing a person he recommended. In China, shaming someone or causing them to lose face is a very serious matter. You can do much harm here by embarrassing someone even if it’s done unintentionally… which I’m sure I do nearly every day.

Interesting, huh? What do you think? Leave comments below.

Enjoy this day,

Save to delicious Saved by 0 users


TS Hendrik said...

That's certainly different. seems like you'd get a mixed bag with some unqualified employees.

the petersons said...

Yeah, I might need to do a follow up post about how this works out for the company. Because, I agree that it seems like you would bring on some employees that you really wouldn't want. Thanks TS for dropping by.