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China’s Post-90s Workers: The Job-Hopping Generation

Only 40% of China’s post-90s graduates stay in their job for longer than 2 years, a new study says. Many young Chinese are not afraid to quit their jobs, with some media even reporting cases of twenty-somethings resigning because “the weather is too cold”.

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Only 40% of China’s post-90s graduates stay in their job for longer than 2 years, a new study says. Many young Chinese are not afraid to quit their jobs, with some media even reporting cases of twenty-somethings resigning because “the weather is too cold”. China’s post-90s generation is a job-hopping one, that chooses personal freedom over financial security. Is it true they quit their job over every little thing?

My 24-year-old Chinese friend Nana has just started her third job within a period of three years. She worked at a Beijing office, but soon got bored and then resigned.

Nana was very excited about becoming a henna tattoo artist in the capital’s lively Sanlitun area last year. But the henna tattoo business turned out to be too slow. She now works as a kindergarten teacher. Recently, she told me that she might quit soon: “It’s not really what I want in life.”

 

“8% of post-1990ers have four or more different jobs within a time frame of 3 years.”

 

Nana is not the only post-90s urban Chinese who often changes jobs. According to a recent study by the Mycos research institute (麦可思数据有限公司), the post-1990ers who graduated in 2011 on average have two different employers within a period of three years. The study also says that within three years, 8% has four or more different jobs. Only 38% worked for the same company within a 3-year-period.

The ‘Post-90s generation’ or the ‘Jiǔ líng hòu‘ (九零後, ’90-after’) is a generation in China, especially in urban areas, born between 1990-2000, although the Post-95s generation is generally also viewed as a specific generation with its own distinct characteristics.

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The post-90s generation is often considered to be self-focused. They are generally viewed as bad team players who are much less concerned about hierarchical relations at the workplace than China’s older generations are.

They are also generally considered a confident generation that demands more from a job than just the right salary. They want a job to be interesting, offering room for personal development, and provide them with a suitable working environment.

20110506095938515A Chinese cartoon with post-70s generation (left) saying: “I work overtime.” The post-80s generation says: “I don’t work overtime!”. The post-90s generation (right) says: “I don’t work at all!”

As with all generational cohorts, the post-90s truly are a product of their time. They were the first generation born in a post-Mao (1976) and post-Tiananmen-protest (1989) era, and belong to the one-child-policy (1978) generation. They did not suffer from great hardships in the way their parents and grandparents did, and often grew up with much material wealth in a rapidly developing China.

 

“Quitting my job because the winter is too cold.”

 

Throughout the years, post-90s workers consistently attract the attention of Chinese media, often for writing unconventional resignation letters. Last year, one recently graduated male real estate agent reportedly quit his job because there were “too many women in the workplace”, which “negatively influenced” his personality.

resign

Another resignation that went viral in late 2015 was that of a Hunan female office worker who wrote her employer that she was quitting her job because “winter is too cold”, making it “difficult to get out of bed in the morning”.

 

“For the working post-90s generation, personal fulfillment goes above anything else.”

 

Sina News published an article about the Mycos report, that is titled “Representations of Post-90s Generation in the Workplace” (“90后职场肖像”), on September 13.

In the article, Sina reiterates the study’s findings that for the working post-90s generation, personal fulfillment goes above anything else.

job-hopping

Sina News interviewed several urban post-90ers who recently quit their job.

MA graduate Zhang Yang had a good job at a state enterprise. Although his company paid him very well and often allowed him to travel abroad, he quit anyway. Why? Because the work was “too monotonous”. “If I would’ve continued doing this job,” Zhang said: “every day of the rest of my life would be the same until my retirement. That would be awful.”

Female law graduate Chen Tingting resigned from her job as a secretary in an office because she “could not get along” with her direct superior. The 24-year-old Zhang Bin had three different employers within one year. Not one time did he resign for salary-related reasons, he told Sina – all of them had to do with a “bad atmosphere” at the office, or not being on good terms with his colleagues.

 

“Why is the “post-90s” label used again?”

 

News of the post-90s workplace survey made its rounds on Sina Weibo today. The topic “The Post-90s Generation Quits Their Job for Every Little Thing” (#90后一言不合就辞职#) attracted many comments.

Not all netizens agree that job-hopping has to do with being part of the post-1990s generation per se, and that it is untrue this cohort quits their job “for every little problem”. The post-90s generation often is viewed as being selfish, rude, or only following their own dreams – and many post-90ers do not agree with this view.

“Why is the “post-90s” label used again?”, a 22-year-old netizen named @Lakin says: “Why don’t you write that companies nowadays squeeze out recent graduates? Why don’t you talk about the fact that there’s more and more superficial multi-level marketing trash companies? Why don’t you investigate how the flows of people are now so big that there’s even fraudulent companies? It’s because of those sh*theads that this topic even came about. I’ve already switched jobs 4 times!”

lakin

Another Weibo user agrees with @Lakin that it is more a problem of present-day companies than the post-90s attitude that there are so many people job-hopping: “There’s a reason for everything. Who likes to look for a job and go to interviews every day? If the company would be good, nobody would want to quit! You’re making the post-90s look bad.”

There are also many post-90s generation netizens who recognize themselves in the survey, and understand why many of their generation choose different jobs. “This is my second job, and every day I dread going to work. I feel like a robot, I feel numb,” one post-90s commenter says.

Another popular comment of a post-90s netizen says: “All in all, life is short. Relatively speaking, isn’t it important to be happy? We all have different situations, different living environments and mentalities. It is not worth the trouble to worry about how others see you. We have to be ourselves and do our own things. We can do our duties while enjoying our rights.”

“Who cares about the post-90s generation anyway?” one netizen wonders: “We are the post-00s generation, we are the future!”

– By Manya Koetse

Related Vocabulary

跳槽 (Tiàocáo)- job-hopping
九零後 (Jiǔ líng hòu) – Post-90s generation

Featured image: News2500sz,
Kaixian TV.

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, popular culture, and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

China Insight

Bakery Boycott over Taiwan Issue: The 85°C Café Controversy

In light of the recent boycott of 85°C Bakery Cafés, some complain: “There’s still money left in my customer card!”

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A brief visit to Taiwanese bakery 85°C by ROC President Tsai Ing-wen has caused a huge storm on Chinese social media this week, where netizens called for a boycott of the chain.

One brief visit to a Taiwanese bakery turned out to have huge consequences this week amidst discussions over Cross-Strait relations.

On August 12, Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen paid a visit to a Los Angeles chain of Taiwanese 85°C Bakery Café (85度C) while on her United States trip.

During the brief bakery visit, Tsai reportedly chatted with employees and was offered a small gift. The occasion, captured on photos, triggered controversy among mainland netizens, who tied the event to the 85°C Bakery supposedly supporting Taiwan independence.

Image via Taiwan News

The issue drew so much controversy on Chinese social media that netizens called for a boycott of the 85°C chain, with typical comments saying: “[85°C Bakery Cafés] is a company in favor of Taiwanese independence. Your consumption will fund Taiwanese Independence. Let’s boycott together!”

Tsai has not endorsed the 1992 consensus or ‘One China Consensus’, something which has made the polician a controversial figure in mainland China.

Small Visit, Big Consequences

85°C, also called the ‘Starbucks of Taiwan’ has 1000 locations worldwide, of which 628 outlets are active in mainland China.

On the 15th, the 85°C mainland branch issued an official statement on their WeChat and Weibo account in response to the controversy, saying that the gift Tsai received was a “private matter” and that the company “firmly supports the One China Policy.”

But the same statement, that emphasizes the peaceful development of Cross-Strait relations, was not published on the website of Gourmet Master, the 85°C parent company. In a reaction, the 85°C head office stated that the post was an individual action of the 85°C mainland branch and that they would not express any opinions on the matter.

The controversy is deeply affecting the business of 85°C in China. Not only are netizens calling for a large-scale boycott, China’s most popular online delivery apps have also removed the chain from their platforms.

Among the major food apps boycotting 85°C are delivery giants Meituan, Ele.me, and Dianping.

The recent developments have led to a sharp drop in stocks of parent company Gourmet Master, hitting its lowest point in 15 months.

Netizens Worried over their 85°C Customer Card

On Weibo, many seemingly see the 85°C boycott as their personal mission, writing things such as: “There are many more tea and bread shops you can choose to go. We, as common workers, can’t really fight the big companies, and it’s impossible for us to force others not to go [to 85°C), we can only do what we think is right.”

Many sarcastically say: “Wanting to make money in Mainland China while also wanting Taiwan to be independent – how nice.”

Recently, similar sentiments flooded Weibo when a video clip emerged of Taiwanese actress Vivian Sung, in which she called Taiwan her “favorite country.” Sung currently stars in the mainland China’s hit movie Hello Mr. Billionaire (西虹市首富).

Although many people on Weibo are in favor of a boycott of the 85°C Bakery, some are somewhat more critical about the issue.

“We actually do not know if this chain is in favor of Taiwan independence,” one commenter said: “But if Cai goes to the US in her role as President, her every move will be coordinated. Which is to say that Cai, of course, knew about 85°C before, and they were prepared to welcome her.”

There are also those who seemingly do not care much about the political side to the discussion – they are more worried about what to do with the money they have deposited in their 85°C-customer cards.

“Let’s use it up quickly,” some say, ignoring the supposed boycott: “We won’t be able to use it anymore if they’d close their doors.”

“I just hope they won’t leave the mainland any time soon,” someone else writes: “I still have credit on my customer card..”

By Gabi Verberg and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Insight

Princess Syndrome Candidates? Shanghai Kid’s Spa “Twinkle” Turns Children into Little Stars

Innocent child’s play or raising little princesses?

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Photo via Xiaohongshu.

A recently opened kid’s spa in Shanghai is one among many businesses catering to Chinese millennials and their little kids. Although many love these new luxury services for China’s youngest, there are also those who say these daughters will end up suffering from ‘Princess Syndrome’ (公主病).”

Recently, a Shanghai kid’s spa has been at the center of an online discussion on ‘Little Red Book’ (Xiaohongshu/小红书), a popular interactive e-commerce platform focused on fashion and beauty.

The establishment named “Twinkle” is a luxurious “parent-child restaurant” (亲子餐厅) that also includes a playground and the much-discussed children’s spa, that seems to be mainly focused on catering to little girls.

A post dedicated to the spa received nearly 4000 likes and 1500 comments on Xiaohongshu within a few days time this week.

Marketing and e-commerce specialist Miro Li discussed the topic on LinkedIn, writing:

This well decorated “kids spa,” with everything in pink, is located in a shopping mall in Pudong. It’s very popular among millennial parents and [it’s] hard to book a seat. Service fee is RMB 218 (approximately USD 32) for each kid, including a pink bathrobe, a “facial” with cucumber mask, a “foot spa”, and a glass of grape juice within [a maximum time of] three hours. The spa also has a restaurant and a small indoor playground.”

Miro Li further explains:

This post has got people in the comments [section] split into two groups. One side strongly disagrees with parents who take kids to the spa, saying kids are too spoiled. The other side thinks this is totally normal as long as parents can afford it.

She adds:

RMB 218 for an afternoon with kids is not too expensive in a first-tier city, but it’s also not cheap. Apart from the debate, we can see that many Chinese millennial parents are pursuing the best quality of life for themselves and their kids. They don’t care too much about the price like their parents do and they are more willing to spend on lifestyle.

The newly opened Twinkle “premium kid’s cafe” and spa, located in Shanghai Pudong’s Century Link Tower, is the second shop that has been opened after the success of the first Xintian-based branch.

Chinese parents increasingly spend more money on luxury goods for their children, such as branded wardrobes. Already in 2015, about 60 percent of surveyed Chinese millennial parents spent more than 3,000 yuan ($471) per month on luxury goods for their children, Jing Daily reports.

However, some people think that Chinese parents spoil their (only) children too much, leading to “Princess sickness” (公主病) (also ‘Little Emperor Syndrome’ 小皇帝病 for boys), a term used in China to describe young women who with a self-centered and high maintenance personality.

The Xiaohongshu comment section has generated some heated debates about the Twinkle kid’s spa.

“It’s not right!”, one person says: “These girls are too young to experience this. (..) It’s better to let them study when they’re young, and let them read some books.” Many other commenters agree, writing: “Children shouldn’t do the same stuff as grown-ups do.”

 

“You don’t get Princess Syndrome because of a spa treatment.”

 

“It’s not because of the price, but I would never let my daughter do this,” another female commenter writes: “I hope my daughter can grow up naturally (..) I want her to learn to do good for society and others.”

Some even call the spa a “violation of socialist core values.”

But there are also many people arguing that commenters criticizing the spa are taking things too seriously.

“What a bunch of sour comments here,” one person says: “All that talk of Princess Syndrome – you don’t get Princess Syndrome because of a 218 yuan spa treatment, it is something that comes from how parents treat their children. By getting a spa treatment, these children learn the good habit of taking good care of their skin from an early age (..). At the same time, it also teaches them about the kind of life they’d want and that they have to do their best to reach it.”

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions,” another Xiaohongshu user says: “But I’d say it’s much better to bring your kid out to play like this than to let them play on your phone.”

However, it seems that the more critical stance is dominating this debate. The top comment of the section, receiving more than 1000 likes, says: “I just think that it’s not right to inject these kind of ideas about what enjoyment is into the minds of kids this small.”

“Mums just want to give their kids the very best,” one reply reads: “If they can afford it, it’s absolutely normal for them to do so.”

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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What’s on Weibo provides social, cultural & historical insights into an ever-changing China. What’s on Weibo sheds light on China’s digital media landscape and brings the story behind the hashtag. This independent news site is managed by sinologist Manya Koetse. Contact info@whatsonweibo.com. ©2014-2018

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