Several Problems with Hong Kong employment

November 23, 2005 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

So today i walk in and apply for a job.

The form is basically the same form you get for an icecrem shop or a movie theater or something like that. It’s one of those little forms you get from time to time that you fill out for a not terribly important job that basically restates all the info you already sent in your resume and will be further asked for in the interview. Frankie Wong asks me when I can start. The job works like this: you start out working less than 10 hours a week. Your pay is 100 HKD per hour. The hours improve as your performance improves and your pay will be docked if students leave. I can think of few job situations less appealing or more barbaric than this deal. First let’s look at the economics of this. Does this system ensure that the teacher will work hard for their pay? Sure, it does. You’ll have to “innovate” or pander to the class to keep yourself employed. Is that bad thing? No, I mean you should do your best in any job, but here’s the problem: does this provide any incentives for the boss to work hard to bring more clients your way? No, not really. Does it ensure that the business is taking some of the risk in the venture? No. It essentially means the business in question can continue to operate regardless of which way you act. It also fails to have a system of checks and balances, when and if pay is docked it’s not noted, hence Mr. Wong can just take money if he needs it from an already high overheard he extracts per student. It weeds out the “bad” teachers I suppose, but does it? Here are the other problems. The job assumes that money is the main motivation for teaching, anyone who has taught knows that the relation you form is far more important than money. Having fun with your students is part of the deal and productive teachers usually produce new lesson plans not to ensure their economic safety, but simply to make better lessons for a good class. Secondly, it defers responsibility for attracting new students on the teacher, which isn’t our job. It’s basically similar to the major label contracts that float around: you take the risk. You will need to advertise etc for your product and work to attract new students etc. The business just provides an office space and sponsorship of a visa. 10 hours a week at 100 HKD per hour is about 120 USD per week, meaning you take the loss on moving to Hong Kong instead of the business taking the loss as they do in Korea and Japan while your boss tries to attact new clients. It also fails to note one simple reality: teaching isn’t that hard. Students generally stay regardless of the teacher. While a truly bad teacher will drive students away, a truly good one will also drive other students away. No one is perfect and few people have the broad appeal to keep everyone happy at once.  The job also fails to notice that teaching especially english crosses boundaries, while the situation might suck in Hong Kong it’s better elsewhere. In Japan or Korea I can get more money, paid apartment, and possibly transporation for less effort and with more security. What the Hong Kong job attracts then is panic, it attracts people who aren’t going to their best, but merely will do their best to keep their job. It also fails to note that people are more than machines, they need some type of environment and commitment on the part of the employer, this relationship cuts the empathatic bonds of the usual employee boss relationship, you could do everything the business provides with just a few adds in the paper, but oh yeah now you need sponsorship for your visa, so you’re stuck. Here we see people who are effectively brutalizing foriegn employees because the law happens to force enterprising individuals to go through them. This isn’t economics, it’s robber barron capitalism. You may as well be living in the company store, and go north a little and that’s exactly what you’ll find.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Korea’s closed network hong kong is pretty cut throat

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