Most of my colleagues are from the post 80s generation or what the Chinese call ba ling hou. These mostly only children are an interesting bunch to deal with.
They have come to depend more on friends as they don't have siblings, but at the same time they are not used to sharing things or cooperating with others.
Some are used to having things their way, others, worried about not being included can be very accommodating.
And it's the former who are the hardest to deal with.
There's one young woman in her early 20s in my department who seems to have slipped under the radar in terms of getting a job at the company. Apparently she aced the written "entrance" exam, but in fact her skills on the job day-to-day hardly reflect her supposed superior language skills.
She also likes to be as low-key as possible, slipping into and out of work as quietly as possible and only completing the absolute minimum to make it look like she is doing her work.
She avoids dealing with me as much as possible, resorting to MSN messenger if she has to chat with me online and even then it's like pulling teeth.
In person she avoids answering my questions directly, instead throwing out a number of other statements she hopes will answer my queries but in fact exacerbates the situation.
When I try to advise her on how she can tackle a problem, she has already decided how she will do it and not even consider advice from an experienced person.
This all makes it harder for quality control on my part, but now I realize it's practically a lost cause.
I have appealed to superiors about her poor work performance; one has agreed with me, but others don't seem to want to deal with this HR matter.
Chinese companies these days seem less keen on firing people with the new labour laws that came out in January 2008. But really, sometimes people don't match the jobs they're in and letting them go can sometimes be a blessing in disguise for them. However, managers like to procrastinate, or avoid the situation as they don't have to deal with that person on a daily basis.
When I talked to another colleague in another department about her, he also moaned about having a similar person in his work group.
What irks us the most is their petulant attitude -- like a child insistent on having his or her way despite having to conform to company standards.
So imagine -- millions of 20-somethings like the one I described -- and they will become the next generation leading China.
Scary thought, isn't it?