My husband John just accepted an offer of work from Huawei – hooray! I am very happy for him to get a good job as a Software Engineer after so long. John and I are in different groups but are at the same company together for the third time. Huawei is a leading telecom solutions provider based in Shenzhen, China (near Hong Kong). John and I are working in their Santa Clara, California, center.
I have been working as Huawei’s Chief Analyst, Software Development Trends, for the past month. It is an interesting place. In the thirty years I have worked in research and development, I am used to being in the minority because I am a woman. At Huawei, I am also one of a small group whose primary language is English, and I am even more unusual in being a born American.
Despite our cultural and language differences, my new co-workers have been helpful and welcoming. The lady in the office next door has shared her honeysuckle tea and her cookies. I brought in some of the roses and nandina from my garden for her and others who have helped me. I am learning how to work with both the Chinese nationals and my fellow “foreign experts”.
As in many cultures, saying a direct “no” seems to be impolite in China. I have started listening for the ways in which my co-workers give an indirect negative response, such as:
“Not very Yes”
“Not so much…”
“I have a suggestion…”
“Not very good”
Image 2010 Copyright by Katy Dickinson