Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby headhonchoII » 05 May 2012, 14:25

superking wrote:
Mr He wrote:The OP speaks Chinese, he alluded to that in his post.

And - for f**** sake. If you want to stay here and you need to learn chinese, teach part time, and enroll in a university program for a year learning the lingo. Supplement by getting a local girlfriend. How hard can that be??!!??

I came here as a student in 1995, and spoke a little only. After 18 months here on a not very strenious schedule, I spoke it well. It is by no means impossible. I know several here who have done it.



WHERE is the allusion? I can't see it. And I bet most of your mates would surprise you by how little Mando they can speak... even after 20 years.....

The only people I know in Taiwan with GOOD jobs either speak flawless Mando, or they have been there so long the locals just gave them a good job to shut them up.


What's a good job though? I got offered a good job in a Taiwan govt department, and lasted two months, because they were giving me 5 days a year off! Woo-hoo!
Still if I was content to sit at a desk 9-6 or whatever it was everyday and throw a presentation together every month I could have done well for myself there :). That's if I didn't cap myself first.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby Mr He » 05 May 2012, 14:31

superking wrote: Mr He, I have no desire to argue with you, but you are looking through rose tinted specs. Is it worth leaving USA to move to Taiwan to try to make better money and NOT teach? DUH. NO. YOU have a never say die attitude. I've been reading your posts for 8 to 10 years. Nothing beats you down, my hat is off to you for that. You are resilient BUT other people are not you.


Having done business here for what? 8 years, I would claim that my rose tinted glasses were torn off some time ago.

And - if the OP wants to be here in order to make more money than he did in the US, then well, it could work out that way, if the OP is willing to spend a few years slaving away for less.

I came here dragged along by my former wife. OK, I had no choice but to keep at it here, and that I did. The business idea - I had only a small handful of contacts, however I was desperate at the time, and wanted to be able to stay without driven to insanity by some taiwanese boss. (Taiwanese are in general horrible bosses).

That I suceeded - hard work, luck and determination. I only started working toward becoming a business owner a couple of months before starting out, with my dream being to get by running my own show, however it's either feast or famine, and after 3-4 famished years, the feast showly arrived.

I put a lot down to patience and persistence, however I do not believe that I am unique, other people could do the same if they got on with it, and did not bother looking either back or to the side.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby honolulu86 » 06 May 2012, 15:05

Thanks for the replies everyone. It sounds like everybody teaching ESL in Taiwan has thought about this question before. I am hearing a lot of frustration out there. At the same time, I hear the exact same things from my friends back in the USA. I guess one has to weigh the obstacles to career development and any positives of living in taiwan against the opportunities in the west. The way things are right now, both choices don't seem so good.

A lot of people are mentioning the importance of learning Chinese. I didn't major in Chinese, though between studying for several years and around 3 years in mainland China, I can speak conversationally and read novels and newspapers without too many problems. Anyway from reading the posts on this forum, it sounds like learning Mandarin by itself is not that useful, though it can lead to a lot of opportunities if you have some kind of unique skill to pair it with.

Deuce Dropper wrote:BUT BEING HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. People will hire you because they like you, not because you are some Google Generation punk who thinks his shit doesn't stink and he is too good to toil in mediocrity for a while before catching his break. Your familiarity with instant gratification will only harm you in the real world. I don't care how good your fuckin resume is either, I wouldn't hire ANYONE who hasn't been in Asia, no matter how sexy the CV is, people in and just out of academia struggle with this but in reality that MBA doesn't teach you much except how to do paperwork, it certainly doesn't teach you how deal with a dodgy factory laoban in Dongguan, how to handle incredibly unprofessional suppliers, or any of the other tightrope walks you need to pull off daily in this new economy hack show.
There are a lot of talented people here working jobs below their abilities, you are nothing special, and if you want to be something special you need to come prove it, whinging on a messageboard about not wanting to teach is a bad look.


Sorry if I gave that impression. I am not saying I am too good to toil in mediocrity! Instant gratification is too much to expect in this kind of economy. I would be happy to work 60 hours a week for 20,000 ntd a month for the next six years, I would even be willing to do a year or two of unpaid internships, as long as it meant there was even a remote prospect of developing skills and some kind of positive progress. and the thing is, I bet that there are a lot of other people here who would be willing to do the same thing. I am not saying I am too good for teaching... I have done it before, and I wouldn't mind doing it again to get money if necessary. I wouldn't mind teaching for 5 years while trying to get another career going. However, I do want to get as much information as I can before arriving so I can plan. I know that there are many smart people here who have gotten masters or phds in teaching or other fields, learned Chinese to a very advanced level, invested large amounts of money in businesses, etc and still find that things are not working out as well as they hoped, and I know these are the people I would be competing with if I went over there.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby John » 06 May 2012, 15:38

honolulu86 wrote:I would be happy to work 60 hours a week for 20,000 ntd a month for the next six years,


That is exactly what we (the employEES) do NOT need in Taiwan.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby honolulu86 » 06 May 2012, 16:46

John wrote:
honolulu86 wrote:I would be happy to work 60 hours a week for 20,000 ntd a month for the next six years,


That is exactly what we (the employEES) do NOT need in Taiwan.


I'm sorry, I don't want to push down people's wages! That's not what I meant. My point is, whether in the USA or anywhere else I am willing to start at the bottom and make whatever sacrifices need to be made. It is something that needs to be done in almost every industry I think, and this is true everywhere. I don't expect to get something great without putting a great deal of work into it

I think there is risk in every decision, whether it is getting a phd, going to law school, moving to DC to look for jobs, trying to find fulfilling work in Taiwan/China, or something else. I would bet that if you look at the numbers, the majority of people who make one of these choices right now will feel disappointed in the decision seven years from now...but some will be very successful, and what are the alternatives? I think in this situation the best thing you can do is find something you are passionate and just do your best
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby Formosa Fitness » 06 May 2012, 17:22

honolulu86 wrote: I would be happy to work 60 hours a week for 20,000 ntd a month for the next six years, I would even be willing to do a year or two of unpaid internships, as long as it meant there was even a remote prospect of developing skills and some kind of positive progress. and the thing is, I bet that there are a lot of other people here who would be willing to do the same thing.


There are and this is the other thing that Deuce Dropper didn't mention: so many people willing to work for nothing kills off any career you might have here. Many of us that tried it had graduate degrees, years of experience, and we making $40-50k even after years of working hard. Pay increases never came because they could always get someone else to do your job tomorrow.

If you want opportunity, then you make it yourself as an entrepreneur. It doesn't exist elsewhere.
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Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby headhonchoII » 06 May 2012, 18:58

I wouldn't say you can't have a career completely but it can take a long time and dedication before you start making bigger bucks, and for me that only happened after 7-8 years and a few twists and turns in between.
I only get paid more now because I work for a foreign company, the Taiwan pay maxed out years ago (and it was GOOD pay by local standards). The problem in Taiwan is that they pay you less and working conditions are worse, in general.
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And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby Icon » 06 May 2012, 23:38

honolulu86 wrote:
John wrote:
honolulu86 wrote:I would be happy to work 60 hours a week for 20,000 ntd a month for the next six years,


That is exactly what we (the employEES) do NOT need in Taiwan.


I'm sorry, I don't want to push down people's wages! That's not what I meant. My point is, whether in the USA or anywhere else I am willing to start at the bottom and make whatever sacrifices need to be made. It is something that needs to be done in almost every industry I think, and this is true everywhere. I don't expect to get something great without putting a great deal of work into it

I think there is risk in every decision, whether it is getting a phd, going to law school, moving to DC to look for jobs, trying to find fulfilling work in Taiwan/China, or something else. I would bet that if you look at the numbers, the majority of people who make one of these choices right now will feel disappointed in the decision seven years from now...but some will be very successful, and what are the alternatives? I think in this situation the best thing you can do is find something you are passionate and just do your best


Problem is that your dedication would not be rewarded in Taiwan. The loyalty concept is not that ingrained, and keeping valuable employees is usually through scare tactics and even blackmail. The attitudes are very different, because the conditions are different.

We were talking about this the other day, because I noticed some tactics at work, which I compared to other places, and seem a bit across the board. Every applicant is offered a lower salary than the first salary the person he replaced got. They always try to get the cheapest bidder. Also, bosses favor employees to manipulate conditions, and the company's regulations would most probably foster division by rewarding some at the cost of punishing the rest. Locals stay for the bonuses, the most loyal of employees will be perceived as weak and hence treated as disposable, hence ensuring this person's dependence on the company. Guanxi rules, so expect a lot of "pandering" and kowtowing if you want any continuity, this will be the measure of your success, not your achievements or contributions to the company.

Unless you are in a real foreign company, you come here, with a plan, set your time, get what you came to get, and go. Without the goal and time schedule, no way. Six years would be too long, unless you plan on becoming totally fluent in Mandarin. I am going to tell you what I was told when I stated this as my goal: then you'd be competing against thousands of Overseas Chinese and millions of Chinese in the Mainland. They will have better command of Mandarin that you'd ever dream of, and have the home advantage, so, make it part of the goal, not the end itself. Add to it, don't skip it, enrich it, but it is not the sole thing that can make you a shoo-in after you go back out there. And as you have heard, back you will unless you get a ball and chain -marry- or actually succeed as an entrepreneur -and then you have to expand probably.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby creztor » 07 May 2012, 14:59

I am sure you could find some decent career progression; however, as already mentioned above by a few posters, I think the best path of action would be to branch out on your own. You stand to make a boatload more money, but it's also jam packed with risk. Each to their own, I guess.
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Re: Career progression in Taiwan... is there hope?

Postby Taiwan Luthiers » 09 May 2012, 12:31

Everything is jam packed with risk, even working for a company.

If you are starting a business you have to have a product that meets a need of some kind, like if opening a restaurant don't open some copycat American or Taiwanese restaurant, have something unique to offer. Might take some time before people catch on but you'll get there. One thing about restaurants I have heard though (no first hand experience in running a restaurant) is that if it's not doing well in the first 6 months, then it's not going to do well ever. Location is very very important here. Have at least a million NT in your bank before starting a restaurant, because you need to be able to meet at least 6 months of expenses (rent for a good storefront can sometimes exceed 100,000NT a month!) as well as renovations and supplies.

Other businesses can include consulting, which could just mean having a home office and working from the internet. Translation is only good as a part time job unless you are a professional and have the dedication to put out high quality translation, if so join a professional organization.

Another idea is open a motorcycle repair shop. I don't mean scooters, but heavy motorcycles. Believe it or not there aren't too many people who are qualified to work on them in Taiwan, and Taiwanese would welcome highly skilled people who can work on their bikes without having to send the bike back to its country of origin. Can also fix scooters too if you don't get too many customers with big bikes at first. The assumption is that you are already skilled in motorcycle repair.

If you are a tattoo artist back home try starting a tattoo parlor that actually have a high hygienic standard. I for one am looking for a Western tattoo artist because I need someone who can understand what I want, and I don't think a Taiwanese who "spent a year in the UK" qualifies.

All of these assumes you have an APRC and have permission to work outside of your normal employment.
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