January this year.
His girlfriend of many years (and now wife) was already there, working
at a good job and she gained residency status, making her eligible to
sponsor him after they got married.
With the global economic downturn and being a new immigrant, he was
faced with two marks against him and was unemployed for over five
What he did everyday I have no idea, but probably trying to adjust,
having trouble understanding Aussie accents even though his English is
quite good. During that whole time his wife was financially supporting
the two of them.
But then last month he told me he was applying for a job and asked me
to help edit something he wrote as part of the application test.
Soon afterwards he got the job, working for a magazine that required
both Chinese and English skills.
I thought he was set and now was working on establishing his new life,
when he contacted me again a few days ago and told me he quit the job
he had only started weeks earlier.
He explained the new job put so much pressure on him (or rather he put
so much pressure on himself) that he couldn't sleep for a week and
then decided to give up.
I was shocked that he had quit so early in the game and only told me
after the fact and not when he was struggling when I could have
encouraged him or given him suggestions.
His boss hadn't even complained about his work -- in fact he had
praised him -- so it was more of my friend not feeling confident about
taking on new challenges despite having the ability to tackle them
My friend pined for his days back in China when things were easier
working for a state-run company, not having many responsibilities and
not much pressure to deal with.
Shocked and disappointed, I lectured him, warning that if he could not
withstand work pressures now, how could he handle having a child, or
paying a mortgage on a house?
"You're scaring me," he wrote, but surely he must realize it's the
truth. Welcome to the real world.
While he is not an only child, my friend is not the most ambitious
go-getter either. He's relatively easy-going and kind-hearted,
preferring to find easy-to-do solutions than working hard to overcome
Many Chinese here think immigrating is easy -- they believe only
privileged people can go abroad. But little do they realize that it's
more about attitude and willingness to adapt than how fat their bank
With the tables turned, my friend now understands the challenges I
face being on my own in Beijing and struggling with communication and
understanding how things are done in China.
However, his shying away from obstacles, especially ones he could have
overcome with a bit of sweat and tears doesn't seem like a promising
start to being a new immigrant, let alone an adult.