Ask a freelance marketer, writer and new media entrepreneur in Shanghai


Dear freelance marketer, writer and new media entrepreneur in Shanghai,

I am an English woman with an early-childhood teaching and ESL degree. I recently signed a one-year contract to teach first graders in at the Oxford English Academy (unaffiliated) in Nanshen district, Shenzhen.

On paper, it sounded great: a decent monthly salary (12,000 yuan), free housing, medical insurance, cheap food in the school canteen and round-trip plane fare paid for by the school.

But after I arrived, I’ve found the situation not as promised. My apartment is a grim, tasteless cell, more fitting to a particularly non-picky Buddhist monk than a Western educator.

In addition to my regular teaching duties, I find I am expected to conduct arts and crafts workshops, foreign studies and Chinese biology, and assist as a soccer coach, a game I know nothing about.

My salary has been withheld this month, without explanation, and my attempts to address my concerns with the headmaster have been fruitless. He has also not returned my passport since taking it for an F visa two days after I arrived.

On a side note, my social life is appalling. My only peer is a crude (and seemingly unqualified) American who made a lazy pass at me on our second meeting and has since taken my polite rebuffal extremely gracelessly. In short, I’m miserable.

Learning my lesson the hard way

Freelance marketer, writer and new media entrepreneur in Shanghai says:

I’m just gonna grab a skinny latte… you’ll be here when I get back, right?

Sitting comfortably? Good. Because I’m about to blow your mind.

Let me tell you something about success. Look at me… you think I’m 30, 32 right? Wrong. I’m 46. Sure, I’m a young guy but right now, I can look back at my life and say, you know what, I’ve done it.

I’ve done it.

Marketing – it’s still a new concept in China. Next year, it’ll be all over the place… and it could be you sitting on that heated balcony, sipping mocha, flipping through a Ferrari catalogue.

This is something you want to get in on right now, on the ground floor.

Sometimes success is just staring at you in the face. You should be thinking, ‘you know what, I’ve got an opportunity to make a lot of money right now.’ Bank it, earn it, this is how it works, this is how people earn money. I make money, you make money, Tom, Dick and Harry make money.

It’s a chain: You trust me and I’ll trust you.

China’s where the money’s to be made. In six months, you’ll have three, four people working for you. After that, the world’s your oyster, it really is.

I know I’m getting excited about this but you can earn so much money, the money’s there to be earned! You can be sitting on top of the tree, making shitloads!

You get just one opportunity in life and I’m handing it out right now. Did I mention all the money?

Last week: Ask an immaculately dressed West African gentleman loitering outside Yashow Market

Next week: Ask a paranoid foreigner working at a state-owned enterprise

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