Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Job in China

Since getting back from Georgia, I've been looking for another job abroad. My first choice was Japan. I've been interested in Japan since befriending a very nice Japanese lady on Myspace many years ago. I thought getting a job over there will give me a great opportunity to experience the country, the culture and her people. Alas, their requirements for the jobs over there are very steep. I spent more than a month sending CV's to no avail.

Second choice was China. I spent only a few weeks applying to China and got an email from one of the sites I registered with. they had an opening that I qualified for! I was at work, when the said email came through. I quickly emailed them my stuff. Literally, before my email went through, I got a response! They asked if I was on Skype. They were interested. I am! They added me and my stomach turned of excitement. I was too nervous to accept. And I wasn't dressed cute. You know how it goes! These things always happen when you're not dressed so cute. Plus, I was eating! I ran to the mirror, spruced myself up and accepted the Skype request. This all happened within two minutes! She called me and the interview went something like: Hi. Please state your name?
Me: Babalwa Brook
China: Sorry, I can't hear you?
Me: Ba-ba-lwa B-roo-k
China: tell me a little bit about your work experience?
Me: I -
China: Sorry, I have to go. My phone is ringing, I'm very sorry about this!

In less than 5 minutes, I'd got a response, had an (almost) interview and was left completely confused. Turns out I'd applied for two different positions from the same agency. 2 hours later, she sent me an email, responding to the one I didn't get a response to. Not the one she asked to interview for and offered me the job. I got more confused! I had to ask which position I was being offered. Plus, one paid double the other. Alas, I got the less paying one!

They sent me a contract. Typed on Word. No letterhead! Weird. But oh well. I filled it in and submitted all the required documents. I was so confused. I didn't know whether to be so excited or not. The (almost) interview was on Friday, by Sunday, the contract had been signed, sealed and delivered. I was with my sister at my place when the final confirmation of the job offer came through. She had the same reaction I did - confusion. She suggested we google the agency and the agent. Google.com »» ChinaESL Rebecca Tang »» there's an entire forum threat about her on one of the websites. All good reviews. Perhaps one or two, skeptics. Some (if not all) of the posts were by her.

I had to buy my own ticket, get a Tourist Visa (not Work Visa!), and head to china asap! I was to take a cab to China ESL's offices where Rebecca would fill me in on what was going to happen next. Even though I got a job, they hadn't placed me yet. They'd place me once I got to China. They had all these terms and conditions as to how much money I'd have to pay them pay if I didn't do this, that or the other. I had to think long and hard about this 'opportunity'.

I contacted the Chinese Embassy, +- 12 times in different days before I finally got hold of someone from the Durban branch. No joy in the Sandton, Pretoria and Cape Town offices. I spoke to a Chinese man. He wanted to know how long I was going to China for? And told me: Chinese Tourist Visa Requirements :- I could only get a 1 month Tourist Visa seeing as it was going to be my first time. I had to send them 3 month's bank statement with a balance of no less that R1 000 ($125) for everyday I'd spend in China. They wanted proof of accommodation, like a hotel booking and an itinerary. Here's the thing: I'm not going on vacation!

I had to contact Rebecca and tell her about all this. By the way, Rebecca Tang is also a Visa Agent. You'd expect her to know better than to send me to China on an illegal visa and not to furnish me with the necessary information and documentation for the visa application. I asked her for more help. She replied: no problem, you can come on the 8th! I explained that I thought it would help if they got me a work visa because this tourist visa thing doesn't sit well with me AND the requirements are insane. I'm going to be working there, therefore I didn't need to have all this money in my account. She replied: no problem, you can come on the 10th. Whew! What the heck is going on?!?!?! I was so drained from this back and forth non-communication! I thought hardly about this and did more and more research on the whole thing. I was still miserable at my job and had constant headaches from being treated like an utter moron. China seemed more appealing from where I was standing. I collected all the required documents and got stuck when I got to the itinerary part.

I emailed China ESL again asking for help with the itinerary. They replied: You are great! We would like to offer you the job! THE HECK!?!?!? I had a weird feeling this Rebecca must either have a split personality, amnesia or I was communicating with a machine this whole time. The sent me a contract AGAIN! I thanked them and asked what the next step would be. I also asked about the Work Visa. They told me to get a tourist visa that they would convert it into a work visa once I get to Beijing. I'd had to fly out to Hong Kong (and pay for the flight myself) and they would pay for the visa. I mean really now! Couldn't we just do this before I leave South Africa? Anyway. I asked about the itinerary as I was not really going on vacation and had never been to China. I wouldn't know where to say I was going. They responded: no problem, come this weekend!


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