What qualified as moral harassment? Aka. How to kill innovation in China.



Here is the story I need some external judgement here.

In Dec. I submitted a project to deliver in May to my boss, he thought it was interesting and said I can start working on it. I designed a plan and start collected information about it to educate myself.

In Jan. my boss was on business trip but still presented the project to a potential partner who was interested. He asked me to follow, which I didn’t but I haven’t hear back from the partner until now.

In Feb (last week) my boss call me in his office to ask me how much confident I am on this project (I answer 200%!) and finally tell me for the first time that he is not sure if we will do the project of not. First surprise for me! I ask him what he needed and said I need to convince the whole team that the project is worth it.

I did and feel like it was a “kill the witch” meeting. But I defend myself, I had some supporters and after popular vote, the project passed at 1 vote! Seems like I was safe and we keep doing it.

The next day my boss call me in his office with his assistant on his side and challenge me for 20 min about the feasibility of the project. I answer everything and we decide we need to formalize everything in an agreement which I send to the designated person.

The next day I am again called in his office, with his assistant on his side to challenge me again about 20 min about how sure I am that the partner we will work with is reliable, will deliver… At the end he ask me to set up process to follow up this project, make a detailed budget, find solution to all problems upfront… I ask if other project has provided such document so I can use it as a template. But no, other projects didn’t because they are no new projects.

I answer everything and say ok I will deliver all requested documents. Finally I ask my boss to talk to him one to one and let him know I feel he is being a little bit unfair towards me. He answers random stuff, say he trust me but just need to be sure I am working 100% on this project.

I love my boss, he was a great heart, I know he is a very sensitive person because I went on business trip with him once and he told me he was hurt that the American partner didn’t take time to have a drink with us! He is this kind of person, very human.

But he also has progress to make in term and giving up control and trusting people he recruited himself for his team! And I am just sick to be the one to always be patient.

Am I wrong? What would you do (and don’t answer quit because it is not an option).


Updates: After a good night of sleep and relax a little talking with a friend, I took preventive action and wrote to my HR to suggest a “Communication Process”. I was inspire by “Rework” a book recommend by Huang Tao ( a iWeekend friend of mine) about passive communication. That is also the informal process we had when working at Naver.


My email: 
“[…]In order to avoid disruption in each other work please apply this communication system from now:
 – First talk to the person on skype 
– If need a meeting, request the meeting by email at least 24h in advance.
Only meet face to face if:
– Exchange will take less than 2 min
– You need the information urgently in order for you to meet a deadline. Tell when the person when is your deadline and by when at the latest they the thing they are requesting from you.
Hope it will help everyone~ […]”

i also mentionned in a separate email that I was feelign harassed and hope the company will protect me. Just because if I decide to quit, I want them to know the full back story.


About Carole (code name 烤肉)

I work in tech since 2008, moved from Reunion island to Paris, Beijing, San Francisco and ended up in Berlin in 2014.
This entry was posted in Being a woman, Being an expat, Personal Experience, Values. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What qualified as moral harassment? Aka. How to kill innovation in China.

  1. NnamdiJr says:

    At this point, if I were you I would just ask my boss to be clear if he supports it or not (instead of wearing down my resolve and indirectly looking for a reason to kill the project). Even if you’re certain of the project, if your boss doesn’t want it to happen then all the defending you do is a somewhat waste of effort. That said, they SHOULD be harassing you, you’re trying to bring something new to the table they aren’t familiar with so having to defend it fiercely comes with the territory. Have you heard what it took to get some of the best ideas pushed forward at Google? (if you haven’t read "In the Plex" by Steven Levy..) but I think now you’ve already shown enough you are "100%" behind it and it’s time for them to be clear about their support.btw, the "Communication Process" stuff sounds a little like over-kill tho.. lol

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