I realise that there is no end of topics discussing the pros and cons of working in Taiwan, but I’d really like to get directly to the heart of the matter before I actively start looking for a job in Taiwan in a short couple of months…
When I lived in Taiwan before, I worked for a big American tech company that seemed to do it’s best to try to emulate Silicon Valley. As I work in London now, I can look back at how things were in that company and I can safely say that the work culture was considerably more demanding and less rewarding than what I’m experiencing now, with longer working hours, the expectation of overtime with no reward, very little annual leave, and much worse pay than what I get now (even when factoring the lower cost of living out there). On the plus side, there were many team-building events during work hours (so many that I sometimes found them annoying), free Chinese classes during work hours, opportunities for bonuses throughout the year (not just the rather generous Chinese New Year bonus), and more public holidays than in the UK.
But working at a Taiwanese or Chinese company sounds considerably worse still. I’ve heard all the rumours about not being allowed to leave the office until your boss leaves, working weekends, being guilt-tripped into not taking what little annual leave you have, poor pay, condescending attitude towards foreign employees, etc.
Is it really as bad as this? Are Taiwanese start-ups more enlightened? Or should I only look for jobs at big international companies, like Yahoo and Amazon?