Working for a boss who has no money to pay salaries is not fun. In fact, it’s downright stressful and demoralizing.
I’ve been there, working for a boss who’s been so strapped for cash that he couldn’t even pay us salaries, yet he still expected us to come to his wedding ceremony and give him red packets. It was a strange request, but I understood why he wanted it.
In Chinese culture, red packets are a symbol of good luck, prosperity and blessings. By giving these red packets, my boss was hoping that our presence would bring blessings and luck to his marriage. (But of course even if I go I would be cursing him)
At first, I was reluctant to go. After all, if my boss had money to pay for his wedding, why couldn’t he pay us our salaries?
But then I realized that this was a cultural thing. I was expected to go, even if it meant I had to put aside my resentment and go without any money.
$2 ang bao
So I went, and I brought my red packets ($2 as a sign of protest). It was a strange experience, because while I was there, I was surrounded by people celebrating the union of my boss and his bride, while I was still unsure of when I would get my wages.
But I was also there to wish them luck and share in their joy. It was a difficult moment, but I was glad I went.
At the end of the ceremony, my boss gave me a hug and thanked me for coming. It was a gesture I had never expected from him, and it touched me. I realized that he had noticed that I had gone out of my way to be there for him, even though I was not getting paid.
Wait till the ceremony ends and he goes back to see how much I gave him.