Nothing can be more delighted than starting to write a new post for my blog at the starting days of the year 2006, especially when my young daughter, Jade, laying besides me quietly, after quite a long time of quietness here. There is nothing to tell but the posts appeared on the front page shows everything – very few updates in past two years. Fortunately, I am now walking out of the darkness, and welcoming the bright future.
- A Transformation from runs of depression but enters the other
People always assert that PhD study should be among the most horrible experiences that human beings might take in the world. I did not quite agree with this argument indeed until I experienced that fully on my own for several years. Comparing with those who are taking that in China and that are under dual stress both from living and from the studies, I am definitely lucky, though I have my own problems to deal with – language barriers, cultural shocks and the toughness of finding a good job. My confidence on both study and English speaking in first two years at Lancaster was totally ruined as I suddenly find that what I had learned in China, though proved to be huge success on my academic record, brought nothing bright to me at that time, besides countless complains and suspects of whether I can really handle these tasks from supervisors. And on my side, I suddenly find it was really an impossible task of finishing up reading 4 or 5 papers in a whole afternoon and can remember sufficient details as a support to my supervision meetings. Different ways of communications and understanding can, though not always, but of high frequency, lead to great dispersions and that greatly affected their evaluation.
Though I finally finished all these up and received my PhD degree, I was losing core support from them on my job seeking as they coherently agree with my non-qualification of finding a job in UK.After experiencing several failures in UK and around, say Manchester, Bristol and Dublin, I moved back, with both great depression and bankruptcy (my wife paid my return ticket and the final bill of my housing in UK). I was totally lost, siting in the flat of Shenzhen where my wife shared with some other girls. At that time, I was still not prepared well of finding a job at home, though my friend SH, soon realized that I was not in a good position and should continue with some works in academia. Under his help then, I got an offer from Michael and started to work on a project that links mandatory changes on board structure to some sorts of market reactions. Unfortunately, these results provide to be curious and hard to implement and my mood was down again and I started to think about why I really wanted to start to take a PhD, solely under the suggestions of my previous supervisor. Well, he is always a kind man in my mind.
Life is becoming doom as well when working on some other projects that are handled by another friend. This is again derived from the research that I have taken in UK but the skills and knowledge that stimulates really apply. It is a purely financial topic but is really interesting, at least I felt so. As if we can successfully establish that series of work, we will have a good understanding of agency problems and ownership structure, two important fields in corporate finance. However, I am shocked by even the very first round of tests. Given these accidents (I prefer not to call them failure here), I even joked with my friends saying that if I have made good use of fortunate when finishing up my PhD and nothing remains in stock when we are working further on.
The job seeking process in China was not that smooth as I firstly imaged, though the difficulties are of very different aspects comparing with those I have met in Europe and Asia. It has become a popularity among many Chinese universities to recruit their new staffs from overseas with a contract basis. This reform comes quickly and widespread as even 2nd and 3rd tier schools are involved. Ads are everywhere, offering very attractive package (comparing to those for domestic graduates). But these offers are often contract-based. That is, they are not permanent positions as it used to be but you are offered this positon in a duration, 3- or 6-year contract with covenants on research outputs, measured by numbers of publications and of state-funded projects that are under his or her name. This is merely based on the fact that universities in China are dreaming of getting close to their international counterparts while most of their existing faculties received little training that are standardized and targeted for such a high level at their times, and they are eager to absorb somebody new with good training and can help them accomplish this.
However, most schools, especially those in middle and western part of China, as well as those that belong to second- and third- tiers with limited international horizons, they definitely have not learned how to support those faculties rather than to charge them. Promises are always not kept in a 100% manner, and terms can be changed at their discretion without any prior notification. In addition, you will soon find that the contracts are never appreciated. You might be required to teach much more courses than that are specified in a contract, though they would promise you some payments in extra. But these payments would be very low as they are in a domestic standard. Though the teaching load is of equivalent in UK with around 2 lectures and 6 tutorials per week, here in China there would be no TA available. That is, you will have to deal with all the works with your own hands, and there would be no compensation for hours devoted in extra.
These issues are always untold for newbies when they are seeking for a position or in the process of negotiation unless he or she mentioned so and raised some questions about. Even so, the answers that they shall receive can always be ambiguous, e.g. these arrangements will be in compliance with the regulations (don’t ask for the details about the regulations as nobody knows that clearly). For some more details about all these abnormal issues that people might come across, please refer to the other post that I have written months ago. All these issues eventually drives me into different rounds of selection – where to go and to start my new career.
Finally, I made a final choice, though a bit compromising, but wish that would be at least a temporary termination of these runs and hop there would be a new start since the coming of 2016.
- I got married (again)
Well, the very first thing that I have to claim is that here I am not welcoming my second wife but a second wedding ceremony besides an official registration that we have completed quite a few years ago.
An interesting tradition in China is that people around shall never admit that you are married unless there is a dining party that has been held. This kind of dining party is always taken in two different parts: one is a ceremony where family members from both sides and friends will witness such a marriage, and the other is for dining where plenty of nice food shall be provided.
We made a big change to such a process by separating the ceremony from the dining part. This is because that we are concerning about the service that the firms can offer that handle such ceremony. Very few professionals are involved indeed but instead, most staffs working as directors, photograhers and DJs, are mainly amateurs. What we really made in place of such a convention of holding a low-quality ceremony is to ask for some helps from a local church.
- Jade’s coming: really a bright star to my families
Jade’s coming is definitely the greatest gift that our family owns this year. With her coming, we are welcoming a new era of life. We are not enjoying a life where only Tingting and I get involved, but we are centering to her. Day by day, we are concerning whether she is starving or full, whether she feels hot or cold, whether she is in a good mood or not, and as a privilege of a girl, we are always seeking for nicely designed dresses for her globally, on the requirement that these will do no harm to her health. By doing all these, we have successfully placed numerous orders from Amazon Japan, UK, US as well as some online venders like Caters, Mothercare and Drugstore. Our credit card is complaining and our bank balance is struggling, but we are really in pleasure that we have never experienced before.
But Tingting’s pregnancy was not that smooth as we firstly anticipated. Bleeding, a sign of miscarrying shocked us in May. That was quite a plain day indeed as usual she I was working at Lingnan, when receiving an emergency call from her comes in as she was crying and showed difficulty of telling me about the accident. I was deeply shocked nut had to keep her calm in priority. It was my only time of taking a taxi returning to Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint, and thanks to my temporary HK ID card, I was able to pass throgh the boarder in a rush and finished the trip in one hour. That built up my personal record. But things turned put to be not that bad under the arrangement of some friends so that Tingting received quite immediate cure.
Jade eventually came to this world on November that year without any sign of anomaly. She came out to be quite healthy, open-minded, and with a good size (She was weighted 3.91 kilos at the time she was out). I can hardly understand how people can have been motivated of calling around when having their baby without any care about the situation of their wives (this is common indeed). Both Tingting and Jade seems to be good when coming out, with the greeting from her doctor.
Now a new chapter of my life starts.
- Research: Undergoing though not successful
This topic lays on quite a few ones that I do not want to discuss but can hardly be avoided. As a PhD graduate without any publication in two years, this is definitely a desaster. Both the overlooking on my side at the begining of taking a PhD, as well as the misled policies for training their PhD students (They should have not realized that now) at Lancaster should take good responsbility of what happens here. However, as a school that offers training, their issues on policy would not affect them much, at least in a short horizon. But for me, as a graduate student who are seeking for a job in market, this is a 100% failure.
I finished my PhD at Lancaster eventually in fall of 2014, and then leave that small town for good. Though I have gotten three chapters of thesis in hand that can be turned into three working papers for publishing purposes, they are hardly qualifed. These working papers, though are based on very popular topics – bank accounting (which is becoming even more popular when writing this blog than that time when I was taking my PhD), are really unqualified for publication. The reason is quite straightforward – too simple on content, and too preliminary on research design.
Under the help of one of my best friends at Lancaster that I was offered a position at Lingnan (Hong Kong) as a senior research assistant for Professor Michael Firth under two projects respectively. We are interested in whether a mandatory change on board structure can have some impacts on the agency problems that investors have to meet up. However, our results was quite unfortunate and can hardly be used for publication. Though it is said that results without any significance in statistics should have its contibution to the real world no less than those of significance, they are quite less likely to be accepted (In this regard, I really admire a work published by my supervisor on which there is no significance at all!).
The other project seems to be a quick meal that talks about some issues about female auditors. This however, becomes another unfortune as well due to its quite unpleasant results. Both these resuls teach me that researches should only be conducted on a basis that is both solid, meaning very complete and thorough understanding of both its topics and its feild, and realistic, meaning that our arugments are fully compliant with what is happening in the real world. This triggers me very great interest of dong some research in accounting standard settings and their application. The reason is quite straightforward – they have good implications for both those who are looking for a paper getting published, and those who are looking into some issues in a practical aspect.
All these sufferings are becoming very great shocks to me that I have doubted whether I should have contiuned, or even started to take the PhD years ago. But soon I realise that this is not something that can be reasonably calculated as I have to admit the interest of research in my mind, which is part of personal characteristics. Interest in works and their promoted move-ons may not necessarily result in good success, but can really make those work enjoyable. And, that’s enough.
- Some words about my blog
This blog tooks quite a long time to write up. I have long thought about whether to maintain this site anymore or not. Comparing with the days when I was at Wuhan (when this site was firstly established) and at Lancaster (when I contributed to quite a few posts), my schedule now is quite constraint. Indeed, I completed quite a great portion of this post during the time when I was participatng the annual conference of China Accounitng Association. Tingting and Jade has fallen asleep and I was typing with a Bluetooth keyboard connected to my iPad.
I would like to appreciate my readers, though I believe there would be very few numbers here, for your support of great consistency in past few years, that enables me of continuing to write up, though under a very low frequency. Wish you keep on enjoying my writing.