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How does "guanxi" work for American life? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2005-5-25 09:38:54 |Display all floors
Source:
http://forums.nytimes.com/top/opinion/readersopinions/forums/classmatters/thecollegedropoutboom/index.html?offset=4

aurora_medinang0 - 8:44 AM ET May 24, 2005 (#11 of 59)

college
Having obtained an Undergraduate degree from a top New York City University and a Masters from a second tier school, also in NYC, I now hold the "pretigious" position of Secretary. My boss often refers to my title as "Admin Ass"! I've often tried to find employment in my chosen field of study--Human Resources, only to find that I do not have 20 years of experience and the many of these jobs go to people with connections.

Growing up, we were taught that getting a good education led to a good career. Nonsense.

My son will start college next year. I insist that he seeks a career in the medical sciences where,hopefully, politics and connections will not be the defining criteria.
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""Growing up, we were taught that getting a good education led to a good career. Nonsense. """

This proves to be true in China too. I assume the connections this original poster referred to is "guanxi" in Chinese language.

I wonder how the "connections" affect Americans lives. Any ideas??

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Post time 2005-5-25 09:45:39 |Display all floors

Another post on the same topic " College Dropout Boom"

jakeopher - 7:40 AM ET May 24, 2005 (#7 of 59)

Class
I come from a working class family in the Cleveland area. My grandfather started a painting business, my uncle now runs it, and I can someday take this position. We work in the wealthy parts of town on regular basis, for doctors at the Cleveland Clinic, families that made their money back in Cleveland's robber-baron days, wealthy people who generally come from a long line of wealthy people. We work for generations of the families as well. I know when one gets married the new house is bought for them, college is paid for, and the importance of college is stressed throughout their elite prep school high school lives. I grew up in the working class part of town, and got a glimpse of this world on an every day basis from about the age of 16 or so. I soon realized that these people were no smarter than me, but had parents stressing the importance of education, AND they were well connected and knew a lot of the same people at the big complanies in town. I decided I had better get an education myself, so at 29 I eventually got my first degree, and at 31 I finished up my Masters. With my blue collar background, I am still not "connected", I apply for jobs all over but it is difficult to get a good paying job, especially when employers see I was a 'project manager' for a family painting business. It is extremely difficult to break out of the working class background, even with an advanced degree. I still don't really care for the attitude and smugness of the socially elite. Perhaps I have self-doubt, but I generally don't care for them and wouldn't want to be in their social circles. They generally seem to have had things handed to them and have no clue how fortuante they really are, and their success is brought about largely by their lucky stars. Life is funny.
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""With my blue collar background, I am still not "connected", I apply for jobs all over but it is difficult to get a good paying job, especially when employers see I was a 'project manager' for a family painting business. It is extremely difficult to break out of the working class background..""

Do Americans have a strong sense of one's social class? Is it very difficult for the working class to become a middle-class?? Can "connections" change a working class to middle-class??

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Post time 2005-5-25 10:22:33 |Display all floors

The young

are inexperienced, they have to indicate their trustworthiness to someone -- this takes time. How loyal, how dependable is a person? -- This takes time to demonstrate.

Knowing someone who knows something useful is important: tried and true; otherwise it is a trial and error period of learning, and this is expensive.

If you know someone who knows how to do something, then they can help you overcome a lot of wasted time and effort trying to figure it out yourself, the hard way!

The lower staff of a business is used to screen incoming calls, inquiries and pests -- the world is full of people who try to sneak information out of you without giving you anything in return.

If Bill Gates bothered to answer the 10,000 emails he got everyday, he would not have any time to do anything else.

If he let everyone have his personal phone number, every kind of nut would be ringing his phone every second.

If he has to deal with his thousands of employees everyday that want to waste his to fill their own needs for recognition or to get advice and attention for their own particular problems, he would never get any work done.

You can waste your time with people who will waste your time or you can chose who you will speak with.

But how many people can you afford to spend time talking with?

You want to reserve your efforts for those who prove to be useful.

A young person starting out knows very few useful people.

A young person has to put in the time to find useful, loyal and trustworthy persons, who will not waste their time

For instance: it is clearly a waste of my time to be bothered with useless people like greendragon, cogito/thestud/xiaolizi, whitedevil, and the rest of the bunch of worthless idiots that clog up this forum; and since China Daily does a poor job of keeping their stupidity out of my face (the best they seem to manage is to delete posts that might be a little off color),  I can only afford to spend so much time here and I find I have less and less of an inclination to attempt to write decent articles for China Daily for that very reason!

We really need to pass around the collection plate so that China Daily can hire someone in 'public relations' who knows how to screen the idiotic posters out of this forum and allow better writers to come in.

It is funny, some guy in the outer forum, claims to be a real journalist, he should get paid for writing whatever he writes. I get paid by thinking my effort has some meaning to someone other than the garbage that China Daily seems to encourage in making this forum their personal playground of delerious insanity.

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Post time 2005-5-25 10:27:37 |Display all floors

re; sleepye

the problem, sleepye, is what they get a degree in.  

i've met several recent grads that tell me they are making 10USD ( which is nothing in most places in the US) an hour doing something totaly unrelated to their degree, which i've found is usually a degree in philosophy..psychology....all of what we call Social Behaviour or degrees in Humanities.

I'm not putting anyone down that has done this, but that facts are = demand/supply.  You get a degree in philosophy, and unless you get a PHD, which still might not matter, you are going to be a college professor more times than not.


That, of course, doesn't mean everyone witha  medical degree will get their dream job, but I feel it's more likely.

I bet those two people you refrence have some kind of general degree...

Something else to consider is that the guy is 29 before he got his degree, which isn't totaly uncommon, but he might have a sad work history up until he graduated, which to an employer, would make him seem irreresponsible...the employer is going to say, gee, you worked at mcdonald's till you were 29!...not always, but I think you get my point.  Jakeopher probably spent his 20s siphoning his parent's money..again, his fault and that defines his character.

In the US some jobs will run a credit check...they want to see how financially responsible you are.  Employers care about character, i think, more than the degree, though the degree is often a requirment.  

I realy don't feel guanxi is vital to success in the US.

"Do Americans have a strong sense of one's social class? Is it very difficult for the working class to become a middle-class?? Can "connections" change a working class to middle-class??"

Depends, because every teenager in the US can go to college...sure there are excuses of "i grew up in a rough neighborhood", or "my parents weren't rich enough"...to me that's all American BS....it's harder for some people, but it's a lazy culture that prevents alot of the American youth from getting a college education.  

In a nutshell, I can tell you the poorer you are the more money the US federal and State government will give you to attend college...not to mention you can join the military and recieve a free money, now, i think, up to 50,000USD after you server for 3-4 years (depends on military branch)...see, no excuse, right???

no guanxi issues...just lazy.

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Post time 2005-5-25 10:32:07 |Display all floors

re; tpj

"The young
are inexperienced, they have to indicate their trustworthiness to someone -- this takes time. How loyal, how dependable is a person? -- This takes time to figure out.

Knowing someone who knows something useful is important, tried and true, othrwise it is a trial and error period of learning, and this is expensive.
"

see, it's character that matters...I should also say that I agree 'connections' can be useful, but I again stress that i don't think it's vital.

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Post time 2005-5-25 11:55:04 |Display all floors

Thanks for both of your replies

I  talked to an American guy and asked for his understanding of "guanxi" minutes ago, but he has no ideas , his Chinese friends told him "guanxi is back door", "  usinge connections to get things done".

According to your reply and the original posts, mike, I found some similarities between Americans and Chinese, or same is true with the two different societies.

Chinese value education since ancient times. 万般皆下品,唯有读书高。(Education tops all social activities. my humble interpretation, needs a more accurate one). I found out that the difference is that a poor family borned Chinese kid will seek every opportunity to go to school and to change his social class or economic conditions. While a similar American kid might want to work to earn his USD. Supposed there are two kids at the  same age in the US and China, what will they encouter in today's society?

The American kid must have become a rich person but he is a dropout and without any degrees. He finally decided to go to school again to continue his degree education. But the Chinese kid holding several degrees but he must also suffer from the severe talent market competition. It is still not clear whether he can finally earn much to return his education loans.

The similarties are that both of them realize the importance of education finally. But in quite different ways. You said they are just lazy, I quite agree with this. Chinese tend to believe that kids born in rich families cannot compete with those born in poorer families. When China is on the way of Amerianization, more and more children become lazy and dependent.More and more little emperors will cause more social problemls for China.

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Post time 2005-5-26 01:24:21 |Display all floors

sleepye,

it really is easy.

Instead of using the word guanxi - use the word  "networking." That's really what guanxi is in "English" and in other countries. Same idea, same result, same method - just a different word.

All over the world - money talks, bullshit walks. If Billy Gates wants to play golf with the President - well, actually when he wanted to play golf with Clinton when Clinton was President and if he decides to play golf with the next President - he just has his people phone the POTUS people and the Prez will be waiting at the tee-off for the first hole.

You could say guangxi should actually be translated as relationships but that has a bit of a negative connotation in other countries - they feel more "clean" if they can delude themselves into thinking they practice "networking" and not the more accurate "favoritism," or "relationships."

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