Expat Freelancer: Lack of professionalism

Expat Freelancer is a … freelance worker in Shanghai. Dealing with difficult clients, working at home and living outside the office bubble are just part of being a freelancer.

A city such as Shanghai provides aspects of oddity in various fields. One is the field of normal office work. There are many positions filled in the area of ‘sales & marketing’ or ‘business development’. Or jobs that are not managerial positions, but have ‘manager’ tacked onto the end of the title.

These are the positions filled by unskilled and generalist people. I’m not saying that ALL such people in such positions in China are unskilled – but there is a certain trend. The trend is that people who have no idea what job they really want to do,  become ‘business development managers’.

The lack of being able to choose a specific field of work is not something that I am directly criticizing – being that kind of person myself. I have absolutely no wish to let my job, employer brand or name card define me as a person.

Some people in China (and the world) work for a pittance of a salary, with a crappy, egomaniac of a Boss, in a job they don’t like – purely because they can tell people they work at ‘Gucci’ or some other horror of a workplace. This makes absolutely no sense of logic to me.

However, the point here is the people in the positions at first mentioned.

These people:

–          Take DAYS to answer emails. This is inexcusable.

–          ALWAYS tell every person they know how ‘busy’ they are. No matter they have time for eating outside three times a day and finish work between 6 and 8pm.

–          Don’t work weekends. Not for a single minute.

–          Yet, STILL claim to be too busy to answer emails.

We are now far enough into ‘the future’ that answering all emails before the end of the day is something that can be done anytime, anywhere, and takes a matter of minutes.

This leads us on to the actual answering and writing of emails:

There is also no excuse for the lack of proper email writing, if it is in a professional, work context.

Greetings, written content and salutations.

I once emailed someone about a job offer that they had offered me. I hadn’t made a prospective pitch to them for work – they had specifically come to me to see if I could complete a small task.

On my reply to them, I outlined the key points and details, including some background knowledge, and an example of a company I had previously worked with.

Their reply to me was:

“what is [example]”. Obviously they actually asked about a specific thing that I had mentioned, but this should all remain anonymous.

But yes, that was the reply. No “Hi …”, no “thanks for your reply, I see those points, what is [example] that you mentioned?”, no salutation or name.

It’s not that it was casual, friendly informality: I had (and still have) never met this person and these were the first few emails being exchanged which may or may not lead to a commitment of work partnership to be carried out between us.


Ditto phone rudeness. There is NO EXCUSE to be rude on the phone – ever. Even if someone is calling you from a company that you regularly deal with – but is still a small bother.

Take an example: a hotel staff called a client that they regularly deal with because they had exhausted all other avenues to try to reach a colleague of that client.

Such as:

“Hello, sorry to bother you – I work for X and we are trying to contact your colleague – could you possibly help at all?”

The reply was: “are you the person that will get my product to be sold in your hotel?”

“No, I am not”

“Then I’m not going to speak with you”

WHY on Earth would anyone feel the need to be rude on the phone? Aside ego, immaturity and arrogance of course.

Too many such people in this city. Have you dealt with such rude, unprofessional people? Comment below.


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Categories: Work


Foreigner in Shanghai


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