Illustration by Luis Grañena I was six months into my job as ZTE USA’s general counselor when I realized I was being groomed. I was 40 years old at the time, and ZTE, one of the largest telecom equipment manufacturers in the world, had offered me my dream job. While I was qualified for the job — ZTE hired me away from its rival Huawei, where I was an assistant General Counselor in its Texas office — ZTE also saw me for what I was: a young lawyer who was hungry. They thought I’d be so smitten with the idea of being offered a top dog position that I’d gladly play the happy idiot for them. And you know what? They were kind of right. The red flags were certainly there. I just didn’t want to look at them. They had given me the title, “General Counsel,” that I had spent my whole career working towards. But what I didn’t realize was that to them, it was merely a title; really, I was just another worker bee for the Queen Bee back at ZTE’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China. And ZTE’s headquarteSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.