The Sounds of My Workday

I’m sure many of us interns have come across this phenomenon, but I can’t help but feel a desire to share part of this with everyone. Inspired by Pam’s post about the sounds of Shenzhen, I wanted to share some of the sounds of my workday. My experience with office culture in China has been rather quiet. I feel like the boisterous American when I waive hello to someone and ask how they’re doing. For the most part, the planners here at CAUPD Beijing are quite fastidious with their work and don’t take part in “talk around the water cooler.” While that’s not a bad thing, I have since begun to notice the small sounds that pepper my day. It seems that each transition warrants a musical interlude, which case I have recorded what comes out of the speaker system each day at work. So without further adieu, here is an introduction to the sounds of my workday!

10am. It’s exercise time! Get off your buns and get moving! The following sound lingers through the hallways and into my office area. While no one on my floor actually takes part in exercises, I hear folks on other floors choose to gather in a common area and perform tai chi or other routine exercises.

11:45am. Lunch time! Time to take a break from your desk work and relax with your friends. For some reason, the following music does not excite me about the prospects of a CAUPD lunch. Alas, to each their own.

1:30pm. Wake up! Lunch breaks are amazing in China. After lunch, workers here usually head back to their desks for a quick snooze. Imagine having a 2 hour lunch break in the U.S. where you can pull out a cot and sleep! I could have recorded the snoring that comes from the neighboring cube, but I thought the wake up music was more fun… Time to get back to work, people!

5pm. Go home time. For better or for worse, no one around me actually leaves at 5pm. It seems most people arrive at 8am or so, and stay until around 6pm. The lucky people get to stay even later, sometimes staying overnight at the office! Unlucky me shows up at 9am and leaves promptly at 5pm. Ain’t that something? Either way, I listen to this as I head out the door…

And that, my friends, is a sonic adventure of my day. Kind of makes me wish all my daily transitions were punctuated with some form of music–maybe a marachi band to get me up and running in the morning… a classical orchestra to lull me to sleep… For now, I will take the little treats I get throughout the day while here in China.

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