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Love Hate Relationships with Shanghai

Managing your relationship with your city and your job.

Love your job and hate city life? Love the city and hate your job?  

Read how to manage your love hate relationship with your job and life in the city to find some middle ground.

As a life coach, I hear from many people that they love their job and have had enough of Shanghai or that they hate their job, but love Shanghai. Sometimes the sentiments aren’t quite this strong, but in general, the dissatisfaction with work or life leads to feelings of unrest and questioning what changes are needed. 

 

Job Love, City Hate

 

When job satisfaction is high, individuals feel fulfilled and driven by a sense that they are doing something with their talents. Unique challenges and learning opportunities exist in China. Compare this to the frustration that can be felt with living in Shanghai, whether from the language barrier, the air quality or the lack of green space. This can lead to working longer hours to avoid the city and taking every opportunity to get out of here.  Or you might find yourself seeking insulating life experiences to avoid having to confront the things that cause frustration, such as only shopping at international grocery stores and frequenting restaurants where at least one foreigner is working front of house.  

 

City Love, Job Hate

 

 

On the flip side are those that feel like their life is an episode of Office Space. Going to work is filled with a sense of dread, not the typical “I can’t wait for happy hour,” job dislike, but genuine unrest with work. Often, this is a feeling of being underutilized, lacking challenges or potential for growth. When this is paired with genuinely loving Shanghai and all that the city has to offer from food to nightlife to people, it can lead to a sense of helplessness. As a foreigner, the visa that is needed to stay in Shanghai provides becomes a set of handcuffs that ties you to the job. 

 

Finding The Middle Ground

 

In both cases, consider how thinking outside of the box can help move the needle from Hate to Love. It is unlikely that you will wake up and feel ecstatic about your job when you were poking out your eyes yesterday, but it is possible to feel more neutral, or even to see the positive aspects. 

 

In the case of feeling less than thrilled with Shanghai, take a step back and objectively look at what it is that you do and do not like about living here. You may be surprised that there are more things on your list that you do like than you would have guessed. Also, consider where the truth lies in your statements. For instance, “I hate that it is always crowded and I can’t run outside” isn’t necessarily true. If you were to wake up early, you might be surprised how empty the streets are before 7:00.    

 

If your job is getting you down, consider what would need to be different for you to enjoy going to work. What is missing that you enjoyed in previous roles? If you feel disengaged, perhaps taking on different responsibilities would help to increase your feeling of control over your outcomes. If it really is that the job is just not a fit, begin to brainstorm how your network and connections you’ve made here can help you find a new job that will provide you not only with the visa you need, but the job you love.

 

As a life coach, I hear from many people that they love their job and have had enough of Shanghai or that they hate their job, but love Shanghai. Sometimes the sentiments aren’t quite this strong, but in general, the dissatisfaction with work or life leads to feelings of unrest and questioning what changes are needed. 

Job Love, City Hate

When job satisfaction is high, individuals feel fulfilled and driven by a sense that they are doing something with their talents. Unique challenges and learning opportunities exist in China. Compare this to the frustration that can be felt with living in Shanghai, whether from the language barrier, the air quality or the lack of green space. This can lead to working longer hours to avoid the city and taking every opportunity to get out of here.  Or you might find yourself seeking insulating life experiences to avoid having to confront the things that cause frustration, such as only shopping at international grocery stores and frequenting restaurants where at least one foreigner is working front of house.  

City Love, Job Hate

On the flip side are those that feel like their life is an episode of Office Space. Going to work is filled with a sense of dread, not the typical “I can’t wait for happy hour,” job dislike, but genuine unrest with work. Often, this is a feeling of being underutilized, lacking challenges or potential for growth. When this is paired with genuinely loving Shanghai and all that the city has to offer from food to nightlife to people, it can lead to a sense of helplessness. As a foreigner, the visa that is needed to stay in Shanghai provides becomes a set of handcuffs that ties you to the job. 

Finding The Middle Ground

In both cases, consider how thinking outside of the box can help move the needle from Hate to Love. It is unlikely that you will wake up and feel ecstatic about your job when you were poking out your eyes yesterday, but it is possible to feel more neutral, or even to see the positive aspects. 

In the case of feeling less than thrilled with Shanghai, take a step back and objectively look at what it is that you do and do not like about living here. You may be surprised that there are more things on your list that you do like than you would have guessed. Also, consider where the truth lies in your statements. For instance, “I hate that it is always crowded and I can’t run outside” isn’t necessarily true. If you were to wake up early, you might be surprised how empty the streets are before 7:00.    

If your job is getting you down, consider what would need to be different for you to enjoy going to work. What is missing that you enjoyed in previous roles? If you feel disengaged, perhaps taking on different responsibilities would help to increase your feeling of control over your outcomes. If it really is that the job is just not a fit, begin to brainstorm how your network and connections you’ve made here can help you find a new job that will provide you not only with the visa you need, but the job you love.

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