Dec 052009

Moving on out!

A lot has happened since last update.

I was more-or-less fired from my job at the end of October. Here us the summary. Lets just say the situation in the company was not good…I’m owed a lot of money and the company is behind paying salary by two months. A girl in my office resigned because of this and found a new job. Someone told the girl she was not allowed to resign, even though she did not receive her monthly salary of $285 for 2 of the 3 months she worked in the company…and she did not receive a copy of her contract when she requested it. I told the girl that I want her to stay, but if she leaves I can’t blame or stop her. Someone (a dumb-ass who works in the Shanghai office) told my boss that I “gave permission” for the girl to leave, and somehow I was responsible. So my now-former boss sent me a text message telling me I have to get the girl to come back. I refused. He then sent me a text-message demanding my resignation. Looking back, I should have told him to fire me. But hey… I have already been officially fired from jobs about 3 times in my life. I did not want to be fired again. Furthermore, my boss was having medical problems, facing an operation, and not in the country. So I don’t blame him for going crazy, but I’m not putting up with this crap anymore either. And I wanted to leave the company anyway.

So after this, during the month of November, I negotiated with a client to provide consulting services, while also negotiating and going to interviews for another job opportunity. Our current lease was up at the end of November, so we also searched for a new place to live. Our old apartment was getting too old, the landlord did not fix the hot water heater to make it more reliable. So we did not want to renew the lease. Furthermore, we wanted to move closer to the kids’ school. At the same time, I needed to start my own company so that my customer can pay me for the consulting services I was offering to it.

I saw about 15 apartments during November. We found an apartment in the first week of November which I liked. While negotiating with the landlord, the couch I was sitting on collapsed. The landlord said “Oh…you broke it! You are too big.” So that fell through. Then I looked at a lot more apartments, with different agents. I saw an apartment I liked, but it had only an electric water heater – that’s not acceptable because when the water runs out after taking a long shower, we have to wait a long time for new hot water. I told the agent that if the landlord agrees to put in a gas heater, I will rent the place. The next day, the agent called me to tell me that the landlord agrees to put in a gas heater, but could I pay the management fees (about $30 / month)? I agreed. On November 18th, I paid a deposit – 4000RMB, (about $600) to the agent, and I congratulated the agent on his ability to negotiate for the hot water heater. On November 22nd I went to pick up the key and found they installed another electric heater. I called the agent, who then told me that, in reality, I had actually asked for an electric heater.

I told the agent that I want my deposit back. The agent said that the money was given to the landlord. I called that landlord and explained what happened. The landlord said the agent asked about a gas heater, but the landlord refused, so the agent asked the landlord to put in another electric heater. I told the landlord that he should give back the deposit because I was cheated. The landlord said this is a problem between me and the agent. I tried talking to the agent. The agent said this was my fault…that the agent had told me that it was an electric heater. I called the landlord and told him to give back 3000 RMB and we will just walk away. He said that he is fine with the contract as it was and saw no reason to give anything back. Some more back and forth happened between me and the agent / me and the landlord. Then on Tuesday night, at 10:30PM, I called the landlord and said that I’m going to move in. “But on December 2, the EPA will come to the apartment to do a lot of testing, because I think there is a toxic gas coming from the furniture. And on December 3, I think that you will need to replace that big flat-screen TV, as I think its already broken. I think it may have fallen on the floor. And I notice the couch was ripped up…you need to replace that. Do you see where this is going, you fuck? You hired a company which cheated me and you are not fucking taking responsibility. But you didn’t just cheat me…you cheated my family. You cheated my sons. YOU CHEATED MY LITTLE SONS! [quite voice] And for that, sir,… you WILL pay. Do you understand the Mandarin I am saying? The agent said I did not communicate clearly I needs a gas heater… do you not understand this? You have cheated my sons and now I go to fucking war you mother fucker!”

I do think that I should get some therapy for my anger management issues. But hey…the anger sometimes works for me.

On November 25th, the agent gave me back 3000RMB. But now I had a problem… I needed to find a place and move out before the current lease was up, on November 30th. That night, we had Thanks Giving Dinner, with Haga’s traditional fusion Thanks Giving Tofu recipes. We were thankful for our beautiful children, our health, our family and friends, and for new beginnings.

On November 26 we went to a new agent, who is part of the property management organization of the complex we want to move to (where the kids’ kindergarden is located). They showed us a really nice apartment which we decided to take. The next day, they got back to us to say that the landlord does not want to rent out to a family with kids. But that day, we found a pretty good apartment, right behind the kindergarden. We singed a contract and moved out on November 30th.

Our new apartment, in LingLongWan, is… OK. On the plus side, its newer and much better insulated that the last apartment. We can turn on the heater and actually feel warm. The furnishings are comfortable. It has a good feel. The new landlords seem responsive. And its actually about $50/month cheaper than the last apartment (and we save more on school bus service for the kids, as now they walk to school) On the other hand, the master bathroom has a glass wall… I guess designer liked people watch him take a dump. Its smaller than the last place. The washing machine is a side-load design which cannot wash as many clothes. The TV, while usable, sort of sucks (it has a purple-streak down the side). The dressers
are smaller. The bathroom leaked from the ceiling because the bathroom upstairs leaked and that landlord didn’t fix it for
two days. And we found out that we are sharing the apartment with a mouse, who bore through a box of pizza on the table during the night. I guess these problems will be fixed soon and we will feel better after we unpack and get to relax a little.

On another topic, I have started Taikongren 太空人Consulting Company, Ltd. during the month of November. Getting that started was not a small amount of work, especially while looking for a new house. Taikongren Consulting Company has an office in Hong Kong, which is where the bank account is, but not the corporate HQ. (I will not write here where the real HQ is located), as well as a small home-office in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. For the next year, starting on December 1, my customer is paying Taikongren Consulting a very nice amount of money (which is taxed at 10%, as the China government assumes that payments to foreign companies in HK might be just tax shelters, so China puts a “transfer tax” on the payment). For that money, Taikongren Consulting is sending their top consultant, a Mr. Jesse Covner, to go to their factory every morning and help them do three things; 1) introduce a leadership competency-based performance management system, 2) be the Change Management Manager and suggest where they can make improvements to their organizations, and 3) lead their SAP implementation team. For those who don’t know, SAP is a form of Enterprise Resource Management software…think of it as the software management system of a company. I have a supervisor who actually does all the hard detail work of this job. My contribution is to be more like the “bad cop” and push department managers and other higher-ups into cooperating with the team. The GM of my client’s organization – a very cool and smart European man – wanted someone who was a little more aggressive and seemingly un-stable to work in this position…someone who could get people to move a little quicker. It’s so far a very fun job. I’m learning a lot. Only downsides are a) it will last for a year, at most, and I don’t know what I will do next, and b) I have to get onto the company bus at 7:10 AM to get to the other side of town where the factory is.

Thanks all for now. Love and miss all my family and friends. Next post will be on Chanuka, in our new apartment (and maybe a review of the near-by Korean restaurant.)

 Posted by at 10:55 am

  One Response to “Change, Conflict, and Resolution, And Thanks Giving”

  1. this is an exciting story. I do not know where you learned of the constructive side of anger expression.

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