Being in contact with corporate and government leaders quickly taught me the importance of title and respect when speaking to a superior or simply a person in office.
So many Zongs
Working with a large group sometimes gives the impression that you are living in the land of the Zongs. Indeed the word zong 总 can be found in CEO, 总经理, Vice President, 副总经理 , and 总监, Supervisor (a position above department manager) – One of the meanings of 总 is principal, general.
And when you’re talking to one of these people, unless you’re really friends, you should use the title. When I went to a company in Hangzhou that had six vice presidents and a football team of supervisors, the word zong during meetings was flying around. Since there were several people named Wu in that meeting, it was decided to call the CEO, Great Wu Zong (大吴总), the marketing priestess Little Wu Zong (小吴总) and the head of the auditing department was renamed 总 for 局 in memory of his former position as 局长 office manager at the city hall. He was not bothered by being called zong; he did not have the long teeth of the intriguing marketing manager, who was fond of her zong and liked to be mistaken for the CEO when she was away on business.
Sometimes even to give a manager a face and give him or her more clout in negotiations, a false promotion had to be made. He will be called zong on the outside and will even have an extra business card with the title of zong.
Lu had come to my office on a Monday morning and explained the case to me. “I’m not 30 years old and I have to go and negotiate pitches with officials who can make it rain or shine. They are almost the age of my parents and have astronomical incomes. With my title of director, they barely look at me. If I am Lu Zong instead of Lu Jingli (director), I will carry more weight. I need it. »
Sometimes people would play with the word zong to send messages. For example, one director, who wanted to say “I am untouchable because of my supposedly special bond with the big chief”, pretended to make a one-time mistake by forgetting the word zong and showing more familiarity with the CEO. Many subtle scores on this theme in the nibbling of each other’s powers!
I was zong too and it took me a long time to get used to the title, me who had started Chinese at the age of 18 to read Lao Zi in the text! It’s not every day you turn 18.
Articles about enterprise in China
6 May 2020