I wrote previously about how I could never actually figure out what Chinese people did at their jobs, but I know most of their “titles.” The titles can mean anything, but looking at them, and knowing my friends, I feel as if many of them are very much entrepreneurs.
Here are some of my Chinese friends’ jobs:
Training School Owner/Teacher
Tea Shop Owner
Clothes Shop Owner
Alcohol and Tobacco Shop worker (family business)
So those are some of their jobs, but they always seem to be looking to do something else. For example: Huang Xing Guo, my 43 year old friend, runs a music training school where he teaches kids how to play different instruments. Additionally, he taught at a different training school for very young kids. Then, he opened his own street restaurant that he works at from 7:30 PM until about 2:00 AM or later every night. And now, he wants to open an English training school.
One thing I have discovered is that everyone wants to learn English. Adults want to learn English, and even more, they reallly want their children to learn how to speak. With the growing interest in English, training schools are popping up left and right.
My friend Zak has just opened his own in Xiangtan, Hunan, and I, personally, have had four separate people approach me with the idea of opening one together. I lived in a small town, and so English training schools weren’t as numerous as in bigger, more developed cities, and so many people saw this as an opportunity to be ahead of the trend. However, there’s one problem: they didn’t have a foreign teacher. It’s not 100 percent necessary to have foreign teachers, but if you were a Chinese parent sending your child to an English training school, would you want them to go to the school where there was a foreigner, or the one where there wasn’t one? Duh, the one with a foreigner. Hence the reason why I was approached by many different people on this very subject.
My friend Wang Ming Fu was constantly pestering me on the topic of opening a school, but his English being only “so so,” he wasn’t able to explain to me in much detail what he really wanted to do…and what he expected me to do. I, unwilling to make a long-term commitment at the time, didn’t want to agree to anything, and eventually, he expanded his tea business and stop asking me. But now, Huang Xing Guo is asking me to help him open one, and as a friend, of course, I will help…but what does that mean, “help.”
“Lost in translation” is a saying I should learn in Chinese since it is an everyday occurrence.
I guess the main thing here is that I may or may not be getting myself into something and I don’t know exactly what it is. Of course. It’s like, “Yes, I will go to lunch with you,” and realizing what I’ve gotten myself into when I am kidnapped and taken to a town an hour away. Except, this time, it’s possible that I am getting involved in some type of business partnership. I don’t know. All I know is I didn’t sign anything!