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Author Topic: Asian bosses are tough to work with
Mad Jay
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This piece of wisdom, most recently, came out the mouth of a recruiter [Eek!] But, I have heard it repeated several times. The reasoning given is, since most Asian workers are immigrants, and generally it takes a lot of hard work for an Asian immigrant to get to a supervisory position, they become more demanding when they reach that position. If conventional wisdom is to be beleived Chinese/Japanese boss = perfectionist and expects employees to be perfect; Indian boss = hard-working and expects employees to put in over-time.

I don't beleive in it. I was just wondering if other people have heard it too, and if there is any truth behind this stereotype. My experience with Chinese, Indian and African-American supervisors doesn't fit the stereotype. More than anything else, the culture of the company and the project that I am working on influences how hard my job is/was.

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Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

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Eddylizard
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My last indian/asian boss was to say the least lenient. Any more laid back and he'd have fallen over. Definately not a slave driver. Though I don't know if he was an immigrant, or UK born.

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guruwan2b
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I worked with (not for) an Asian engineer. He was a domineering, chauvinistic creep. He was also literally totally nuts. He was finally "let go" when he became so paranoid that he was asking coworkers if other coworkers had been talking about him. He also beat his wife. Last I heard he was still in a psych ward.
This was one of the only Asian's I had worked with and as we say "Anecdote, not data".
guru

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robbiev - singin' off key
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I worked for an Asian lady a few years ago. She was very difficult to work for.

She constantly wanted me to come in early for no extra pay and stay late for no extra pay.

It was retail store, I was the only one there for my entire shift at first. She wanted me to stock the beer cooler when no customers were in the store. She made a *HUGE* deal about never leaving the register if customers were in the store. Of course, it makes sense. She just over-blew it.

Most nights I worked, there was literally never even a few moments where there was no one in the store. We were a very busy store in a central location. She would come in every now and then to check and see what I was doing. There would be 5 or 6 people in line and another 5 or 6 people milling in the store shopping, and she would ask me why I wasn't in the back stocking.

All I could say was, "Well, there are 10 or 12 people in the store. Exactly when should I go back there."

She was so anal, she actually watched the security tapes. I assume she fast forwarded through them, but she would always mention things that made me believe she actually watched them.

She would say, "I saw where M came in around 9:02. Be sure to watch him. He steals," but she would give commentaries on many things that happened every day.

All that said, I don't know if it was because she was Asian. I've worked for other people that were difficult too.

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DesertRat
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Assuming for a moment that this stereotype is true, why is this a bad thing? Though it certainly does NOT apply to every Asian boss out there, there is more than a grain of truth to the relationship between Asian culture and a noteworthy, strong work ethic.

When did this become a bad thing? Maybe if the rest of us worked a little harder also, this country would be a better place... [Smile]

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Nion
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I agree with you to a point. However, I find I respond better to a nice, friendly boss than a stern one. I also respond better to a boss who knows I have a life out of work.

I currently have a boss like the one I described above and this is the best job I've ever had. At the same time, I'm breaking records for production and am brutally quick and efficient.

Stern and calous doesn't always win the way. [Wink]

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Sara at home
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I worked for a family company owned by a Chinese immigrant. He spent most of the month at another location, only about a week each month in our office. The rest of the time the office was run by his American born son. Other bosses in the company included a Japanese-American and a Korean-American. All the hyphens were first generation.

The father was very difficult but I assumed that to be because he was a very difficult man. He treated his employees no worse than he treated his wife and kids; he yelled at everyone. But in a social setting, he was more tolerant, I must admit.

The three hyphen bosses were nice guys and easy to work for if you did your job. If you didn't, eventually you went down the road. The wife was very pleasant to be around.

But the one thing that always stuck in my mind was her look of frustration when she realized how much the Chinese couple who ran one of the other businesses stole from them before they got caught. "I can't believe they stole all this from us, their own kind." And then she got this funny expression on her face as though she realized what she said to me, the German-American who didn't steal so much as post-it notes. I hope she learned something. I hope she learned that you can't judge people by their race or nationality.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

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Mad Jay
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quote:
Originally posted by DesertRat:
Assuming for a moment that this stereotype is true, why is this a bad thing? Though it certainly does NOT apply to every Asian boss out there, there is more than a grain of truth to the relationship between Asian culture and a noteworthy, strong work ethic.

When did this become a bad thing? Maybe if the rest of us worked a little harder also, this country would be a better place... [Smile]

Because the conventional management wisdom is that more pressure leads to bad work, and too much oversight leads to loss of creativity. Maybe lots of work gets done under a strict boss, but it is unimaginative and of shoddy quality

Sadly, the stereotype of Asian boss = bad boss gets perpetuated around in the immigrant community a lot. 8 out of 10 times that I have heard this remark, I have heard it from a fellow immigrant. I don't know if the stereotype is popular among non-immigrants too. It could be that other immigrants are more relaxed in saying something "un-american" in front on other immigrants

You are right that many Asians pride themselves on their strong work ethic, and this stereotype might just be the ugly side of that.

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Nico Sasha
In between my father's fields;And the citadels of the rule; Lies a no-man's land which I must cross; To find my stolen jewel.

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robbiev - singin' off key
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quote:
Originally posted by DesertRat:

When did this become a bad thing? Maybe if the rest of us worked a little harder also, this country would be a better place... [Smile]

It becomes a bad thing when a boss wants a person to give more than they should be expected to give.

Wanting an employee to give an honest day's work is one thing. Wanting an employee to do things they should not be expected to do is another.

For instance, in my case, my boss wanted me to come in an hour early and work an hour longer almost every day for no extra pay (it was an hourly paid job).

My shift was something like 3 PM until 11 PM. She wanted me to come in at 2 and work until midnight, but only write down 3-11 on the time card.

That is, in fact, a problem. I'll give anyone an honest day's work. I won't work for free.

ETA: this reply is going on the assumption that "difficult to work for" means more than just "expects you to do your job."

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Every time I see a good looking woman, I think, "0oooh. There's another one I'll never have!"

Corvette. The louder you scream, the faster I'll go.

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Artemis
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It would be interesting to see if this holds up for Asians born in America--those who haven't immigrated here.

Actually...on second thought, I'm an Asian American, born here. I wonder what I'd be like as someone's supervisor or boss. Hm. Hopefully, not too tough. I can't really imagine myself screaming at people about TPS reports and the like. Probably a result of seeing too many Office Space type movies.

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Errata
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Artemis, I would say from personal experience that those born in the US are indistinguishable from the general population. I don't have any personal information about Asian immigrants as managers on which to base any stereotypes. For me "Asian" definitely doesn't imply an immigrant.
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Ganzfeld
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There's a lot of difference between different Asian ethnic groups and, especially, between individuals. No generalizations about Asians are particularly useful.
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