I started after my studies to work in a startup. The company got bigger and also shrink somehow but let's say we are now a small company with 30 persons while we were only 8 when the business started.

The company I'm working for has a lot of customers and we have plenty of projects booked for the next couple of years... but due to the lack of resources, the business cannot be delivered on time... and I need to pay my own health insurance...), and even if I'm working 80hours a week (I technically speaking... literally burned out and became obese last year), the raise is still pretty low after 3 years.

I'm doing mainly C#, DevExpress Winforms (which is a bit old stuff), I'm thinking about moving, but could not spend that much time learning Chinese when I barely had the time to come back home and have a shower... no need to mention the lack of social and everything (forget about the work-life balance).

The company has some potentials to grow and to somehow stabilize and I'm getting tired. As I cannot speak Chinese it's real hard to get something else in China plus I'm afraid about my career. Ok I know .NET C# but I don't have any other experience in some more trendy stuff like JS, WPF, ASP and I feel keep being stuck with that for the rest of my life and I dunno how I can develop other skills while I don't have the time for myself right now. (I'm trying on my very little spare-time to do that, but it's: writing JD, taking part in the recruitment, giving training for code and design guidelines, etc. Maybe not as professional as it would be in a much bigger company but this is somehow something I'm really proud of, the fact that I helped to setup a (small) software team, 5 people.

I've been contacted by Microsoft and some other companies but didn't get any serious opportunity. Recently a consulting company contacted me for a job C# in Beijing (much bigger company and salary, so at least no cashflow issues) but I do not know that much and I'm afraid to get stuck again doing some winforms... plus I've heard terrible things about consulting firms.

So I'm sort of struggling, it's like leaving a comfort zone (which is actually not really one) in order to go to something I'm not really sure about. I'm kind of afraid to fail, I like challenges but I know so little about what I'm supposed to do that it's kind of scary to leave everything behind.

I do not really know what to think about and what should I consider before making an eventual move.

[EDIT] Two years after I quit PRC, I've learnt a lot, it was hard to get something decent in China, so I ended up moving back to France. I went working to a pretty big corporate investment where I learnt about decent CI, serious Unit Testing and real SOA and some other cool stuff (I mean applied knowledge other than I did back in college) it was great. Just stay 9 months though cause then I got the chance to get something else in Canada working for a pretty big company in the video game industry but wosh it was not my cuppatea so I quit after 3 months then working for the 2nd biggest carrier in telecommunications for 5 months now.

A few things I have learnt over the past two years:

  • Don't deny who you are: you have your values and others have theirs, in a workplace it's very important to have a "fit" with your coworkers never think you are paranoid (unless it goes far beyond the laws of physics). It's not being arrogant, it's accepting who you truly are (don't be condescending with others though). The problem is basically to find out a bit too late that you don't like where you live or work. In case of the workplace it's a bit of a pain cause if you quit after only a couple of months, recruiters will think you have been fired (which never been my case) but after I left this big video game company it was not that easy to get something else... a lot of fishy unprofessional recruiters with less than so-so contracts... I have been through a lot.
  • Consequence of the first thing I've learnt, don't overlook cultural differences, they do exist. I am really having hard times in Canada right now (and I experienced reverse cultural shock when I went back to France, cause I was too "Chinese"). I think the corporate culture here (spoiler alert: it might sound like I am overgeneralizing but keep in mind that it's just me and my shallow experience in two different companies) in Canada is generally not straightforward at all with people often backstabbing each other within earshot distance. It's a lot of smiles and I have to over process to figure out if what I am doing is right or wrong: how you look or sound here has as much importance as what you actually do. Don't want to over generalize but that's my feeling and been here for 9 months, maybe I will change my mind, but honestly I don't like that. I have a feeling of people being hypocritical, just fake fake fake all the way, I try to adapt and understand why they behave like that, but I think this cultural trait rather unproductive. Anyway maybe just been unlucky or maybe I am just a bad immigrant for Canada. Essentially the "I have to read between the lines" thing is really exhausting...
  • Brand new techs don't really mean much: there is a lot of hype in the industry, what matters are the basics in CS: data structures, algorithms, CI, testing, how the web works, etc. New frameworks are not destroying what you've learnt back in college. The only problem is the keyword matching for stupid recruiters that don't really get that regardless of the technologies you are going to use at work, you probably have to accommodate to the company... and so the tech thing after a while is pointless... unless that you don't accept wasting a "day or two" on the specifics (and I see more days actually wasted on things other than tech in companies: e.g. poor management of admin rights, poor infrastructure and manual tasks that should have been automatized).

Anyway, I've grown up and I am sure I sound like a perfect idiot but it's fine there is always someone that does not really know you with different background and values that can judge you just to say that you are dumb.

Thinking about going back to Asia (not mainland china but maybe HK or Singapore) I miss the convenient life and public transportation, decent food, etc.

  • 2
    I think the first questions ought to be 1) What is your native language/nationality? and 2) Why do you want to work in a place where you don't speak the language, and which is notorious for poor working conditions? – jamesqf Jul 25 '15 at 0:19
  • We can't tell you what you should or should not do as we do not know all of your circumstances. Voting to close. – Jane S Jul 25 '15 at 8:35
  • 1
    Also, WRT "trendy stuff", just remember that in a few years there will be a new set of "trendy stuff". – jamesqf Jul 25 '15 at 19:50
  • 1
    @jamesqf true, but WinForms will remain on the list of old or obsolete technologies. – mcknz Jul 25 '15 at 20:13
  • @jamesqf 1) I'm French, my wife is Chinese, guess it makes some sense why I'm here: my wife has some family duties. The Poor working conditions is a stereotype that is somehow true for a lot of people. Although China is changing (too) fast and job conditions as well. Most of expats in PRC have a decent contract (and plenty of them speak pretty bad Chinese). Cause at first I thought I would have the time for that (studying Mandarin)... but it turns that... no. Anyway, barely have the time to post something on SE... – Natalie Perret Jul 27 '15 at 6:18

Wow, you are grasping for something that I personally would consider "insane work schedule". I am C# guy myself.

Go out there, try a few interviews and see where you can get - remember you can always change things - ALWAYS.

Also, get on to your Language, if you choose to live in China, learn the language, because communication is what moves you up at work.

  • Agreed, of course this is obviously, insane, unhealthy and everything... By the way, I'm learning when I can, that is: not that often. I'm gonna get another interview on Friday: better position, better paid, better work-life balance so more time to study Mandarin after my working hours and possibly another technology. We'll see then. I'm doing my best. Just a bit afraid that it's gonna be a pain in my career to stick to an old technology, until I can show off a bit some real-world skills that are more required on job market. I guess I would have experience in ASP.NET would help a lot. – Natalie Perret Jul 27 '15 at 4:34
  • 2
    You should just think more of yourself. I know brilliant talented guys who spent years in one company for crappy pay and terrible work schedule, while others just stated that they are awesome and found a new job. – Alexus Jul 27 '15 at 6:48
  • we found out that our dear GM was doing tax evasion (basically using the money for its own private purposes...), some documents stating that basically the GM was rewarding himself USD60,000 for exceptional management... And the best is that he the one saying that we have cashflow problems... Sadly a lot of things makes sense now... – Natalie Perret Aug 4 '15 at 3:56
  • +1 @Alexus for "You should just think more of yourself. I know brilliant talented guys who spent years in one company for crappy pay and terrible work schedule, while others just stated that they are awesome and found a new job." – Brainless Aug 31 '15 at 6:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .