If you had to summarize your workplace in 2023 with one keyword, what would your answer be? Why?

As the year 2023 comes to a close, how has your work been this year? Do you have any unforgettable workplace stories? Has the gloom finally dissipated, or do worldly affairs remain unpredictable? Have you bravely shed your inhibitions, or have you steadfastly weathered the storms in the workplace? @Zhihu Career has launched the End-of-Year Workplace Ten Questions activity, inviting you to write your own unique workplace story! Activity rewards Based on the quality of content and the number of interactions, we will select 5 high-quality responses under this question and award each corresponding respondent with a Zhihu 2024 Calendar The winners will be announced on December 28th in the description of this question, so remember to pay attention! Activity period November 16th - December 24th Activity rules 1 The answer must be no less than 500 words 2 The answer should be a personal true story and ensure originality More questions can be found here» https//zhuanlanzhihucom/p/667117330

Mental Reset: Insights into the Workplace

The term “reset” is quite fitting to describe the past year in the workplace.

When it comes to the word “reset,” many people may think back to the time when the dynamic of the epidemic was “zeroed out” a few years ago. That period may have been a painful time for everyone—epidemic control measures restricted movement, masks had to be worn when going out, companies laid off employees and reduced salaries, loved ones fell ill and were hospitalized or passed away… It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that epidemic control measures gradually eased, and the concept of “reset” disappeared from the public’s view.

This year’s career development unfolded against such a backdrop. After experiencing the epidemic over the past few years, my mindset has not changed. I used to believe that I should strive more in my career while I was young, leaving no time for my family. It was during that period of control and illness in my family that I had the opportunity to spend more time with them and come to understand the importance of loved ones. I used to aspire to continuously climb up the corporate ladder, but the impact of the overall environment caught me off guard. I realized that no matter how hard I tried, as long as the company or industry was affected by the larger environment, my own development would be hindered. I had planned to visit many places, but after the epidemic, I missed out on several years of youth, losing out on the time and opportunities to travel… It is these experiences that have given me new insights in the workplace.

2023 is the year I will “reset” my mindset. The epidemic has brought me many painful lessons and experiences, but what needs to end will eventually end. It is the right choice to drive away the negativity and clear the unpleasant emotions from my mind. In the workplace, I am slowly learning to balance work and life, cherishing the present time to do things I want to do, without stretching my work rhythm too tightly. Starting from within my “heart,” clearing out the negative emotions, and approaching people and matters in the workplace with a more serene mindset, perhaps that is my biggest realization this year.

Confused Main Job, Growing Side Business

| Main Job: Confusion | Side Business: Growth |

This is my keyword for the workplace in 2023.

[Main Job] Midlife Crisis + Job Burnout

2023 marks my tenth year in the workplace.

This year, the company’s business has started to recover compared to the lockdown period, but it’s still a challenging year.

I am in charge of the finance of a subsidiary, but due to business adjustments, the group has transferred the subsidiary’s business.

Although I go along with the business, the company’s unclear strategic planning makes it unclear where I should go next.

Stable job responsibilities mean it’s difficult to find new challenges, and it also means promotion and pay raise have hit a bottleneck.

I have no interest in any work, I think about slacking off, I think about escaping, and typical job burnout strikes.

I can’t see the direction of future development, but I also feel discontent and desire a second spring in my career.

But when I looked around the job market, I found that the employment environment is extremely harsh, and there aren’t many suitable positions waiting for me.

I believe many people are like me, confused about their main job and wanting to make a change, but being unable to do so because many times, even if you strive for it, there are no new tasks assigned to you. The entire company is seeking stability and survival, and if you want to do something new, your superiors may not allow it either.

Mortgages, car loans, and the pressure of life make you reluctant to change jobs easily, so you can only struggle like this, keep observing…

However, the good news is that the company is indeed making bold adjustments to its business, so there are indeed opportunities. I hope I can strive for them in the coming year.

[Side Business] Rapid Growth + Constant Exploration

Being confused about the main job and powerless, naturally, I put more energy into the side business.

2023 marks the first milestone of my side business.

After joining the career field communication group, I met many experts and made many friends:

By consistently creating and sharing content every day, I have gained my 9,000th follower and am striving towards reaching the milestone of 10,000 followers:

This year, I joined the Zhihu Autumn Recruitment Assistance Team, helping many new graduates secure job offers. This is also a small sense of accomplishment for me:

In addition, I have explored various other side businesses with different friends:

  • Opening a lottery shop,
  • Developing ChatGPT application software,
  • Opening a maid cafe,
  • Opening a noodle shop,
  • Opening a gym,
  • Opening a bubble tea shop,

Although none of them materialized in the end, at least I have gained some understanding of different industries and avoided some pitfalls.

In short, I keep exploring and expanding the boundaries of my side business, hoping that one day I won’t have to work for others.

If you are like me, confused about the main job, I suggest enduring this difficult period for now, communicate with more people, and see if there are any opportunities for a turning point.

If you are like me, exploring a side business, then go ahead and do it boldly. I think it’s never too late to start at any time.

Workplace Experience in 2023

In fact, there are only two words, satisfaction.

Satisfaction with my own workplace, satisfaction with my colleagues, satisfaction with my company, and even satisfaction with my boss.

I genuinely feel that after working for so many years, the workplace in 2023 is the most comfortable state for me. I accept my mediocrity and am satisfied with the current workplace situation.

If there is no workplace PUA, no scolding from leaders, and no exclusion from colleagues in today’s workplace, it is basically unlikely. No one would believe that there could be such a company or such a transparent work environment.

But in the workplace of 2023, the experiences I have had have truly left a deep impression on me.

The boss doesn’t engage in PUA, nor does he exploit or criticize. There hasn’t even been a single critique.

So far this year, the only time I had to sacrifice half a day of my rest day was when the boss called me to the company for a half-day meeting on a weekend. The reason was that the deputy general manager was only available on Saturday, and this meeting was about the company’s business transformation, which was actually quite important.

There is also no mandatory overtime, let alone any ridiculous competition. After completing work, we basically leave on time.

There is no such thing as a mythical afternoon tea, but there is a coffee machine, an ice maker, and a bread maker. Everyone takes what they need according to their preferences, without any intentional comparisons.

Compared to the previous companies I’ve worked for, bosses there would either scold or throw a tantrum, not to solve problems at all.

You wouldn’t even think that one day, even if an employee made a mistake, the boss would never get angry and scold them. Instead, the boss would let the employee learn to take responsibility and solve the problem on their own. The boss would never easily lose their temper with employees and is particularly good at controlling their emotions.

Now let’s talk about career planning.

As a 30-year-old professional, I am relatively confident in my career planning.

Because my main job provides me the greatest value, which is endorsement from a big corporation, as well as endorsement from the projects I’ve handled. For example, the World Cup project and the aerospace project I’ve worked on have provided me with information that allows me to excel in my field.

As for development, it is more about seeking change. In 2024, I may have the opportunity to get more resources to work on.

Of course, there are also side jobs. Let’s just talk about the platform of Zhihu. I have written a lot of answers this year and I am very happy to receive the title of “Excellent Expert in the Workplace” on the platform. It is also my hobby to write about things I am interested in during my spare time.

I never thought I could find my value on this platform. If I were to define my concept of myself on Zhihu in 2023 using one word, it would be “fortunate”.

I never easily give up on any answer and use my own experiences to write some insights and reflections. When I get older, I will be able to judge my past self properly.

What I’m most fortunate about is that I have gained knowledge from a group of interesting and fun Zhihu friends. Their wisdom and insights have benefited me greatly, and I look forward to meeting everyone in person one day.

Surviving is Victory

Keyword: Survival

I think this keyword is not only applicable to me, but also to many friends.

Surviving is victory.

In this environment, talking about the vast universe, talking about extreme speed, talking about how to make a million in a year, and talking about how your peers have already abandoned you, it’s a bit unrealistic.

With the opening up, everyone had high expectations, but gradually realized that they still have to be realistic.

Objective laws have always been at play, it’s just a matter of sooner or later.

For friends in foreign companies, survive.

In the context of decoupling, foreign capital is more cautious, making decisions to increase investment is not easy, but the expectation of future returns is decreasing, and there are many people who are feeling the pressure. There are fewer positions, and opportunities are scarce. If you want to do something, you have to repeatedly prove it, report to the upper level of your mother country, but it’s basically like a drop in the ocean.

What else can you do? Having a good job and food to eat is not bad. If you always fail to achieve anything, it’s hard to say whether this organization will still exist in the future, and whether this job will still be available in China.

Just cherish the food on your plate.

For friends in private enterprises, survive.

I have a friend who works in a certain listed company, which can be considered part of the construction materials industry, as a real estate supplier. The situation in the real estate market, everyone knows, especially recently with the incident involving those young people, it sparked widespread discussion. Their company has a revenue of several tens of billions, and accounts receivable of several billions, and there are rumors in the market that they may be involved in a crisis. The employee stock ownership plan also suffered huge losses. They bought the shares when the stock price was over fifty, but now it’s only around twenty. Of course, they say that they can give up the profits and return the principal, but they haven’t seen a dime of that money yet.

What else can you do? At least you haven’t lost your job, just survive.

For friends in state-owned enterprises, survive.

Coming from a grassroots background, in such a broad institutional framework, if you want to progress and be willing to do things, it’s about having connections and building good relationships. However, in such a massive decision-making system, your efforts are not the determining factor. In recent years, management has become more standardized, and welfare has also been regulated to a greater extent. The resistance to progress has increased, but the amount of fuel that can be added to the tank remains fixed. Many people are gradually adopting a “Buddha-like” attitude, some are lying down, some are just going through the motions. If you want to strive, you will find obstacles from all sides. When you try to move forward, you will find that you are only holding yourself back. How to solve this problem? You can just stay put. As management becomes more tightly controlled, leaders at all levels are mainly concerned with self-preservation, and no one wants to take responsibility. The demands from the business are directly pushed down, without considering the capillaries at the grassroots level that have been blocked by various contradictory requirements. Various agencies that like to nitpick come and go in a blaze of glory, throw accusations swiftly, leave a pile of mess behind, and when they turn around, everyone is hiding in their dens.

What else can you do? Your salary is not reduced by a cent, so don’t always think about doing something big to get ahead. Nowadays, getting ahead is not something that ordinary people like us can think about.

For friends in the internet industry, the construction of the cyber infrastructure is complete, traffic has peaked, and the era of expanding territories has gone. The salaries are still attractive, but forget about achieving financial freedom through an IPO. What else can you do? Just survive, this job is still considered white-collar.

For friends in the finance industry, this year, those who understand already know that the time to take a hit has come, so just survive.

There was a former leader who went to an old area for further education this year. When he came back, he said to us that he believed the key to the success of the “Strongest Entrepreneurial Team in History” is:

Adapting to the trend.

Survival means going with the flow, not standing out in unfavorable circumstances, not putting in half the effort for half the result, and preserving one’s own physical and mental well-being. As long as you can stay alive, it is victory, and there is hope for the day when the wind rises again.

Wishing you all the best.

By: Pi Qiu Research Institute

The “Sense of Security” and Stability in the Workplace

When I saw this question, several keywords came to mind. If I had to choose just one keyword, it would be the “sense of security” that can summarize my workplace in 2023.

Speaking of the “sense of security,” I remember a time when I was dating my wife. The most memorable thing was that she used this term to ask me to hand over my salary card.

Since meeting my wife, my salary has never stayed warm in my pocket. Every time I receive my salary, it never stays in my pocket overnight… This is the reality of married men, isn’t it?

After agreeing to marry my wife, I haven’t cared about my salary since then. I haven’t even paid attention to how much I earned this month, whether it’s more or less, or why I didn’t receive any allowances.

Because I know that my wife can calculate my salary clearly. It’s also a sense of security, a sense of not caring whether the salary is more or less, which saves me from worrying about it.

But that’s a digression… Let’s get back to the workplace.

If handing over the salary is the sense of security a woman gives a man, then as a professional, what can give us a sense of security in the workplace?

The workplace “sense of security” that comes to my mind is: stability. In the past two years, many professionals have lacked this sense of security.

The overall business environment is not good, job positions are being reduced, many professionals are being optimized or laid off. Fresh graduates have a hard time finding jobs, and even when they finally find one, they have to work hard, fearing that one day they will be laid off or fail the probation period.

Whenever I see news related to the workplace, it’s either about workforce reduction or optimization, or filled with various negative information. In this situation, any professional would feel anxious, and anxiety leads to a sense of insecurity.

What professionals have lacked the most in the past two years is this sense of security, and it is also what they need the most.

Especially when facing company restructuring, layoffs, and other information, this sense of insecurity will arise.

My loyal readers know that I am a programmer working in the autonomous driving industry. The situation for programmers in the past two years is not optimistic, especially in the autonomous driving industry.

I have also experienced a turbulent and insecure workplace environment this year. The department’s structure has been adjusted continuously, and I have witnessed many colleagues leaving and heard their complaints. I myself feel unsettled.

This is the first time I have felt the importance of the “sense of security” in the workplace and realized its significance for professionals. Perhaps only those who have experienced it personally can feel the warmth of this term.

In this year, our department has undergone three structural adjustments, and we have had two different department managers. In such a turbulent situation, many people are filled with anxiety. Each adjustment means that a group of people will leave, let alone having three such adjustments. Many people have lost their sense of security long ago. Even those with strong determination will lose their sense of security after going through this several times.

Although I am luckier than many colleagues and have smoothly sailed through these adjustments, I have also lost a lot of sense of security.

To say that I am not afraid of being laid off would be a lie. After all, I have dependents and financial responsibilities. I still have to pay thousands of dollars in mortgage every month. It’s fake not to worry.

Although I do have some concerns, I am mentally prepared, and I am not worried about finding a new job. Honestly, even without actively submitting resumes, I have received phone calls from several companies' HR departments. However, I decisively rejected all of them.

The reason for rejecting them is not because I have no thoughts. When faced with a turbulent and restless department, anyone would feel this atmosphere and feel uneasy.

It’s just that changing jobs doesn’t align with my career expectations. I want to stay at the company for the long term, at least until I encounter a bottleneck, it’s not too late to leave then.

And for a professional who wants to stay with a company for the long term, the most needed thing is the “sense of security.” Without the support of this sense of security, it is difficult for a professional to focus on their current work.

Fortunately, after three rounds of restructuring, the company’s upper management has made its stance clear regarding the autonomous driving business. They will continue to invest resources in this area, so the next two years should be stable.

Recommended reading:

That’s it.

I am [Your Name], a professional in the workplace with nine years of experience, focusing on the workplace, programming, and autonomous driving.

Here’s a word of encouragement for you: Becoming stronger is the key to solving all problems.