T-14: Spoiled Rotten - China Blues - CycleBlaze

August 1, 2020

T-14: Spoiled Rotten

So nice having this stuff just show up in my hallway without my having to lift a finger.
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I am so fucking spoiled by my life in China.

When I first got here, it was because the things I wanted to buy were cheap in relationship to the income I had. The income I had was terrible but I was 21 and I didn't have many wants, needs, or a thought in my head about things like 'retirement'.

My income still isn't great when it comes to metrics like 'building a nest egg' but, without knowing what I would have ended up doing if I'd actually gone to grad school the way I was supposed to, it's hard to say if I'd be much better off in the United States. I certainly wouldn't be able to afford weekly (sometimes daily) massage, going out to eat every night of the month, and at least one 2+ month long vacation every year.

The thing about China that makes me spoiled though isn't any of those things though. The thing about China that makes me spoiled is having an assistant.

I have had an assistant since shortly after I got back from my "that was nice, shame it's never going to happen again" big bike trip in 2012 to celebrate my successfully opening a company.

His name was Jimmy. He worked for me for just under a year. Job description of "things I don't want to do" like standing in line at government buildings, dealing with the bank, doing a metric fuckton of research into the cancellation of laws regarding where foreigners could stay and when they were cancelled, and navigating frustrations like online shopping back when a foreign name on a credit card made things insanely difficult.

Jimmy was followed by Sansa. Sansa worked for me for three years. Sometimes, I sent her a shopping list of bulk items from the grocery store, and I'd come home and they were already in my refrigerator. She also went to the post office for me, did some of the negotiating with clients, and (on my dime) got an accounting license and started doing the monthly corporate tax report for me.

Between Sansa and Kaylee there was a brief respite with the two women who I respectively refer to as "Useless" and "Princess". Claire, who came after Kaylee and before Tyra, had many of the same characteristics in that she initially looked really good on paper but she didn't seem to grasp that one of the reasons I do everything via chat programs and email isn't because my employee is working flex time outside of my visible supervision but because chat clients have timestamps that can be checked.

Like Sansa, Kaylee worked for me for three years. And, much as it really annoyed me to have to train her replacement, I'm glad for her that she used the time working for me as a way to get herself a better job that pays her more money.

Now, I have Tyra.

Tyra was hired with less than a week to go before my last tour. Initially a last gasp desperate measure because if I didn't replace Claire, I was possibly going to have to cancel the tour, she started out her employment with me by my going on vacation for three months.

There are all sorts of traditional administrative assistant jobs that Tyra (like her predecessors) does, such as handling visa paperwork, making sure a customer has the correct details for the corporate bank account, or helping a foreign client navigate the department of motor vehicles. But, hands down, the best thing she does is runs my errands.

I want to get a new pair of flip-flops and have the handicap lift put in? She'll go to the store, buy two pairs in my size, take them to the cobbler, schedule a date to come back and pick them up, and leave them on the first floor of my building.

I want to buy a camping hammock, instant oatmeal, instant sugar free drink mix, three kinds of dried fruit, and ziploc bags off of Taobao? She'll talk to multiple sellers, figure out the best price/shipping time on each of the items, order them to her apartment, talk to the courier, and leave them in the hallway in front of my door.

I have a client who sent me a picture of text? She'll type it out for me.

I decide that I want to see if I can subtitle a viral propaganda video and put it on my Official WeChat Account? She'll contact the government department that made the video and get me a 4k original copy.

Yeah, I'm spoiled.

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