Why do young people nowadays prefer to have a lower salary and live comfortably without being too tired?

Many people would rather work in small company offices where they can slack off every day and earn a monthly salary of four to five thousand, rather than taking a higher-paying job with overtime.

The essence of “lying flat” is living in the present, living for today.

The essence of striving is placing hopes on the future, living for tomorrow.

So, the fundamental question is — who has taken away the young people’s hope for the future.

Because relying on a salary from a job: 1) cannot alleviate poverty, 2) cannot lead to wealth, 3) cannot benefit family and friends, it’s meaningless.

Because capitalists now exploit not only during the day but also at night

It really can lead to death

Attitudes of Young People Towards Work

This may not represent the thoughts and attitudes of all young people.

It can be understood that some young people cannot find high-paying jobs, so they have to work in small companies while maintaining a laid-back attitude.

If given the opportunity to earn a high salary, few people would easily refuse, unless they are genuinely not in need of money.

It can also be understood as a way to ensure their happiness, which is why they maintain a laid-back attitude towards their careers.

After all, working hard may not necessarily lead to the desired expectations.

Young people have their own understanding and see through the realities of the workplace, which is why they give up the rat race.

Because they will realize that no matter how hard they work, they may still face layoffs and optimization, so they would rather adopt a laid-back approach to avoid exhausting themselves.

After all, in the workplace, all decision-making power is in the hands of capitalists, and workers have no choice.

When they need you, you have to work overtime, and when they don’t need you, they can let you go at any moment.

There is also a situation where many young people are pursuing side jobs. Choosing a lower-paying job allows them to have more free time.

On one hand, it allows them to live comfortably and have more time to enjoy life. On the other hand, it gives them the freedom to do what they want without constraints.

If the side job becomes successful, they naturally won’t pay much attention to their main job income. They just need to ensure the stability of their main job, be able to pay social security contributions regularly, and leave work on time, and they will be satisfied.

Of course, this is similar to those with privileged family conditions; they may only need a job to fulfill their needs.

They don’t need to put in much effort for this job, as long as they have a position to solve their life experiences.

The Economics of Overtime: A Comparison with Badminton

A few years ago, an analysis of overtime was shared, but many people dismissed it.

Today, let’s revisit the topic and see the effects.

On the badminton court, the most common players are “street-style butterfly hitters,” often at level 0.

What do you think is the most common level among players, aside from level 0?

It’s not level 1, not level 2, but level 4.

In theory, player levels should follow a normal distribution, so why this sudden gap in the middle?

This phenomenon is rooted in a profound economic principle - marginal returns.

The reason why “street-style butterfly hitters” never seem to improve is due to a cognitive blind spot.

Most of them are unaware that badminton is a competitive sport.

In their minds, the game is still about hitting the shuttlecock as many times as possible without it hitting the ground, with more rallies equating to greater skill.

A few individuals are aware of badminton rules, but they believe that achieving a high level requires exceptional talent, which they think they lack, so they let it slide.

However, once they break through their cognitive limitations and realize that badminton can be played differently, and that they can become skilled players, they start systematic training.

Starting from their grip, footwork, and progressing to smashes, drops, clears, net shots, and kills, there are numerous techniques to learn initially.

Mastering each technique brings a sense of achievement that keeps them excited for days.

Continued refinement of their skills can keep them motivated for months, with substantial marginal returns during this period, leading them to prioritize training over other activities.

Soon, their technical details are honed to the point where they reach level 4.

To progress further, they would need to invest a significant amount of time in repetitive practice, a tedious process with diminishing marginal returns.

However, there’s one last challenging technique awaiting them: the backhand.

While the marginal returns for mastering the backhand are small, it’s still worth it.

So, some level 4 players attempt to break through, and once they do, they typically reach level 5.

But from level 5 onwards, there are no new techniques to learn, and the only task is endless refinement of details, with marginal returns approaching zero.

This explains why you occasionally encounter level 5 players but level 6 players are extremely rare, to the point where many clubs offer free membership to them.

The level 6 players gracing your club with their presence are already doing you a great favor; charging them would be inconsiderate.

This same principle applies to China’s job market.

Starting with the internet boom in 2000, and later, the mobile internet in 2008, the saying “even a pig can fly if it stands at the wind’s edge” shattered young Chinese people’s misconceptions.

They realized that in this era, wealth and financial freedom could be achieved through hard work.

As internet companies continuously raised salaries, the marginal returns for overtime work became extremely high.

Throughout history, there have been few eras where an ordinary person could achieve financial success through relentless effort.

The decade from 2010 to 2020 in China was precisely such an era.

At the same time, the marginal cost of overtime work approached zero.

Here, cost refers to opportunity cost.

As many Chinese people were neither rich nor poor, they lacked diverse hobbies.

Outside of work, their leisure activities mainly included browsing short videos and playing games.

Even without overtime, they would have little else to do, so the opportunity cost was nearly zero.

With the opportunity to earn more money through overtime and nothing else to occupy their time, it was an obvious choice.

Thus, a trend of working overtime emerged.

Of course, as an individual, you may not see it this way.

But in aggregate, within a relatively free market environment, people’s behavior tends to follow economic principles.

Such collective behavior isn’t easily changed by individual will; that’s why it’s called a principle.

Based on this principle, we can boldly predict that over the next decade, overtime in China will significantly decrease.

The mobile internet’s dividend has been exhausted, and the next big wave is nowhere in sight.

The post-2000 and post-2010 generations are gradually entering the job market, and they have diverse interests and hobbies, thanks to their affluent backgrounds.

This raises the opportunity cost of working overtime.

As marginal returns decrease and costs increase, no one wants to engage in a losing proposition.

While these principles may seem cold-blooded, they govern how the world operates.

There are many more such cases in life; we’ll discuss them gradually in the future. If you’re interested, stay tuned.

Anyway, you probably won’t read this even if you bookmark it, so giving it a like would be nice…

Don’t Pretend to Be Youthful Here!

Most of those working 996/007 in big companies are indeed young people.

And only young people can endure it.

For the older generation, taking it easy is more common, and it’s a natural phenomenon.

Physically and mentally, they can’t keep up.

In this society, young people often don’t have much of a choice.

996/007 with high pay, or 955 with basic sustenance.

The majority opt for the former, while a few who are stress-free or come from affluent families choose the latter.

Of course, some have no choice but to go for 996 with low pay.

Those who can pick 955 with high pay are the top few or some in leadership positions.

Many who are willing to take it easy at small companies aren’t necessarily avoiding big companies; it’s just that they can’t get into big companies.

Even when taking it easy, the benefits of slacking off in a big company are several times higher than in a small one.

In fact, some top-tier foreign companies offer very comfortable working conditions.

For example, companies like Hulu in the past were quite relaxed, but due to various reasons, their core business had to be divested, and things changed.

In recent years in China, there have been some foreign companies with good benefits and adherence to labor laws.

However, when they leave, even fewer companies adhere to labor laws, and everyone’s life becomes more exhausting.

Regarding young people embracing a laid-back attitude, while there are certainly some who truly do so, the majority are still unable to fully embrace it.

“Prefer Low Salary Over Exhaustion” Doesn’t Represent All Young People

The conclusion that “prefer low salary over exhaustion” doesn’t actually reflect the views of all young people.

This largely depends on the work environment they find themselves in. In my opinion, many young people still choose to strive and accumulate wealth in the early stages of their lives.

For example, everyone knows that working in the internet industry can be tough, with intense competition, but many young graduates still aspire to join internet giants. They are willing to endure the exhaustion and competition to gain knowledge and credibility.

Similarly, those who move to big cities like Beijing, Shenzhen, or Shanghai to pursue their dreams have thoroughly researched and mentally prepared themselves before setting off. They are like warriors who knowingly enter dangerous territories.

There are also many young individuals who could lead a comfortable life in their hometowns by securing a stable job but choose to broaden their horizons and explore the world outside. They believe that life is short, and they want to see and experience as much as possible without regrets.

People who choose to take it easy have different reasons and motivations. Some have worked hard but reached a point of diminishing returns and reluctantly accepted reality. Others lack the competitive advantage to work at larger companies and settle for smaller ones. There are also those who simply don’t want to strive and have no interest in watching others do so.

So, please don’t discourage young people from pursuing their goals or force them into a laid-back rhythm. Instead of advising or even scaring them into staying in their comfort zones, let them make their own choices.

In fact, for society to progress and develop, it relies on those who strive, even if you are just a laborer at the bottom of the social hierarchy, you still make contributions in subtle ways. On a smaller scale, if you want to climb the career ladder, become wealthy, and lead a successful life, striving is the inevitable means. After all, most people don’t have the good fortune of being born into wealth or power.

In reality, every social stratum has its own pressures, and not all second-generation individuals choose to take it easy. After entering the workforce, I’ve encountered some second-generation individuals who continue to work hard every day, striving to earn more money. In their circles, relying on their parents is not seen as honorable.

The current job market is challenging, not only in terms of finding work but also in terms of protecting the rights of employees. The reasons behind this vary, including economic conditions, policy shortcomings, and inadequate enforcement at the grassroots level. However, these problems are common, and everyone is experiencing them. In the future, regardless of whether these issues are resolved, they will ultimately be overshadowed by the wheel of history.

But life is personal, and you only get one shot at it. You can’t gamble your one and only life on uncertainty. You can’t predict whether problems will be resolved, and you can’t control when they will be. So, even if you wait for that day when you find yourself in a fair and just world, you may no longer be able to keep up with the pace of the new era. Because you have been taking it easy for so long, and during that time, you may have already been phased out.

You may consider taking it easy as a form of protest and think it’s cool…

Some young people often arrogantly challenge the world with their fragile bodies.

Lu Xun once wrote in “Hot Wind,” “If there is no torch after this, then I will be the only light.” However, you, who choose to take it easy, can never become that ray of light, and you may not even be able to illuminate your own life.

Let’s Be Honest, It’s Almost New Year’s - Do You Want High Pay or Not?

Come on, it’s almost New Year’s, can we just be honest and stop pretending? Just answer this: Are you unable to get a high salary or do you simply not want it?

Throughout the year, we’ve been bombarded with questions like “Why do young people today…” It seems like whenever someone mentions “young people today,” they’re talking about all young people, and the emotions of a few individuals end up representing the thoughts of an entire generation.

Now, find any well-known young person you know and ask them this: Would they be willing to take a high-paying job? If they have the opportunity for a high salary, would they still opt for a low-paying one to take it easy?

And for those asking this question, take a moment to ask yourselves too: Would you be willing to take a high-paying job if offered? If you could earn a high salary, would you choose a low-paying one to relax?

Dear editors, you’ve been at this for a year now; it’s time for a break.

Why Did the Tortoise Win in the Race Against the Hare?

In the famous fable of the tortoise and the hare, why did the tortoise ultimately win against the hare?

Aside from the hare’s overconfidence, the most crucial factor was the hare’s willingness to adopt a “lying down” mentality.

The hare could have ended the race at any time and even aimed for faster speeds. Even if it didn’t compete with lions, cheetahs, or gazelles, it should have, at the very least, aspired to be the fastest among its fellow hares.

However, the hare considered the tortoise its sole competitor, and it only needed to be faster than the tortoise. So, regardless of whether it won or lost against the tortoise, it didn’t necessarily strive to be the fastest within its own species. The hare might have thought that if it won, it would have to pursue stronger opponents, and if it lost, it would be frustrated. Therefore, it decided to ignore the outcome and simply choose the most comfortable way to end the race.

The phenomenon and views of young people choosing a laid-back lifestyle are somewhat akin to the philosophy of the “tortoise and the hare.”

Some people strongly disapprove of young people adopting a laid-back attitude. They believe that young individuals who sit in air-conditioned offices, play games, chat, and surf the internet all day while earning an acceptable salary are irresponsible towards their own lives. They argue that as long as one works hard every day, they can surpass those young people who choose to take it easy, regardless of whether they started later or learned slower.

However, many young people have tried to compete and engage in the rat race with their peers. They discovered that no matter how hard they worked, they often ended up becoming tools for manipulation by their superiors. Working more did not necessarily lead to earning more in a short period, and they didn’t know when they would break through. So, they prefer to choose a comfortable way to work.

In essence, as long as there is a material foundation, the desire to win in the workplace isn’t always so high. It’s entirely reasonable for young people to choose a laid-back lifestyle when they don’t feel a significant pressure to compete with their peers or stress about their income or job position.

It is as if those who say this treat small companies and high-paying enterprises as fools.

It’s quite simple.

Why are you so tired?

At the age of 30, high blood pressure.

At the age of 35, nervous breakdown.

At the age of 40, high cholesterol.

At the age of 45, gout.

At the age of 50, diabetes.

At the age of 55, overworked and overweight.

At the age of 60, alcoholic liver disease.

At the age of 65, lumbar, shoulder, and cervical spine problems.

Are you earning a lot?

Aren’t all the fatigue and illnesses you have from working for the hospital?

I can’t say for sure that young people in small companies won’t get these diseases.

But I can say if they do, it’s because of their own choices, not because they were forced to work.

The Non-linear Relationship Between Income and Happiness

Many people have long believed that “higher income leads to greater happiness,” but numerous surveys have shown a completely different reality. The individuals reporting the highest levels of happiness in society often fall into the “mid-range income” category.

For instance, in the 2021 CCTV Financial’s “China’s Wonderful Life Survey,” happiness levels were examined among populations in various provinces and cities. The conclusion was that individuals with an annual income of “¥120,000 to ¥200,000” reported the highest happiness levels, followed by those with an annual income of ¥300,000.

This phenomenon occurs because while “income” is considered a goal by many, the increase in income itself only provides short-lived happiness. Lasting happiness often requires “consumption.”

Consumption is not merely about “spending money,” nor is it about “impulsive spending.” It is best enjoyed in a relaxed state, shared with family and friends, and directed toward areas of interest in life to create lasting “enjoyment.”

Overly busy work, on the other hand, may increase “income” but can deprive individuals of the time and mood to “enjoy consumption,” leading to significant stress that hampers the experience of “happiness.”

In reality, many workplace surveys show a curve where workplace stress and happiness closely align.

Among those earning ¥100,000 or less, stress is minimal, and the next low point in stress is around an income of ¥300,000. However, it’s essential to note that these two groups are not the same. People with an annual income of around ¥300,000 typically occupy mid-level management positions or higher in ordinary companies, a smaller demographic.

On the other hand, those earning ¥100,000 or less are often ordinary salaried workers in cities below the third tier, living close to their hometowns, leading relatively stable lives without the need to work in larger cities.

In essence, those earning less than ¥100,000 per year tend to be “fearless,” while those earning around ¥300,000 are “content with their position in the workplace.” Higher earners bear more significant responsibilities, while lower earners are anxious about a drop in income.

This is because nearly 70% of workplace stress comes from the “satisfaction with oneself” rather than external pressures.

Regardless of gender, the primary cause of psychological stress in the workplace is dissatisfaction with the “current professional situation,” resulting in internal anxiety. Dissatisfaction with work objectives, leisure time, and interpersonal relationships follows.

For most employees, it’s a matter of “making do” rather than striving for the unattainable.

If you find yourself stuck with a monthly income above ¥100,000 but unable to break through to the ¥300,000 middle-management level, you might be facing the most significant stress and inner turmoil.

For those who can rise through the ranks with a stable position, they naturally reach a new “comfort platform.” Otherwise, consider adjusting to a lower-income position that offers a significant amount of free time, allowing you to enjoy life and engage in activities you love while supplementing your income with a side hustle. This might be the path to a more comfortable and fulfilling career.

Additionally, when it comes to “stress relief methods,” most professionals choose “exercise and travel.”

These activities align well with the scientific aspects of stress reduction, involving “aerobic activities” and “changing one’s environment.”

Aerobic exercise generates “endorphins,” which are more helpful in stress reduction than anaerobic exercise, while experiencing a new environment can temporarily isolate one from stressful situations, promoting relaxation.

Endorphins are endogenous opioid neuropeptides, produced by the central nervous system, that bind to opioid receptors, leading to feelings of pleasure and pain relief. They are often referred to as “feel-good hormones.”

In 2024, if you find your career advancement hindered and feel trapped in a constant state of anxiety about sliding backward, consider engaging in aerobic activities like running and planning a trip as short-term stress reduction methods.

In the long run, it may be beneficial to actively choose a lower-paying job that provides ample free time and allows you to enjoy life while pursuing your interests through a side business to supplement your income. This path could lead to a more comfortable and liberated professional journey.

Stay tuned for more interesting insights.

How can one discover their true passions and strengths and use them to plan their life? During a procurement negotiation, if you’ve already reached an agreement with Zhang San and suddenly Li Si offers a better price or quality, how can you gracefully decline Zhang San? When organizing a meal with colleagues, and as it’s coming to an end, another colleague unexpectedly brings out two bottles of Maotai liquor they brought themselves, what should you do?

Awakening Era - Li Dazhao:

“We work 8 hours a day because we have no time to think.

We advocate for an 8-hour workday, to smell the flowers, to bask in the sun.

We strive for 8 hours of work, 8 hours of rest, and the remaining 8 hours for ourselves.”

Not entirely so. If the pie is well presented, many young people are still willing to work hard.

Especially those who are immersed in their studies and have a strong specialization.

In highly technical fields, professionals tend to focus solely on their expertise, often lacking social awareness, with no time to pause and little interest in looking up.

However, even in this scenario, the ability of influencers to paint a rosy picture must keep pace with the progress of the times.

To Struggle or to Live a Comfortable Life

Lying flat or striving, the dilemma persists, leaving one exhausted even after striving but still standing.

Why complicate simple matters?

If your expectations of the future, multiplied by the risk factor, exceed your current state, then strive for it.

Otherwise, choose to lie flat.


Is it worth it to work until sudden death? Especially when, even without sudden death, the earnings cannot cover medical expenses.

Ponder on big achievements but cherish your health; forgetting one’s life for minor gains.

This is what we call “struggling.”

People nowadays are more conscious of costs, even if it means having a lower salary for a more comfortable life.


As for how to calculate the risk factor, I don’t know. Most people probably rely on intuition.

This means that the risk factor itself carries the risk of misjudgment.

Many people are torn between wanting to strive but not accepting the risk of failure, and wanting to lie flat but not accepting the risk of misjudgment.

Indecision leads to chaos.

This is the problem for many people (including myself) – oscillating between the envy of those who thrive and the relief of those who avoid risks, wasting their lives in the back-and-forth between fear and frustration.

The Reality of Young People: Striving for Comfort and Diverse Life Paths

Come on, young people, can this statement be supported by research data? What’s the percentage of young people who are willing to have a lower salary for a comfortable life? And what age groups are we talking about? Is it recent graduates aged 22-26 with only a few years of experience, or young professionals aged 27-32 who have some workplace experience? Even those aged 28-35 are still considered young and vibrant in the workforce!

According to a survey conducted by “First Financial Journal” of over 4,000 recent graduates in 2022, approximately 75% of young people are willing to work hard and accept reasonable overtime. In other words, three out of four young people are very willing to work hard and continually improve themselves.

Of course, the employment situation in recent years has not been ideal, especially in the first two quarters of 2023, where one in five young people struggled to find a job. However, this doesn’t mean that young people are not willing to work hard or find high-paying jobs. Instead, it’s likely that there aren’t as many high-paying, high-value, and high-growth jobs available, so they have to temporarily lie low to seek the next opportunity.

After all, how many young people are there who have inherited wealth and don’t have to worry about their livelihoods? The vast majority of young people still need to earn a living and support their families. They are destined to work hard in their lifetimes.

Of course, there is also a segment of young people who see through the reality, believe that no matter how hard they work, they can’t change their fate, and don’t want their lives to be exploited. They seek a simpler and more comfortable life, which is also a trend in the diversification of society.

Some young people, while focusing on their primary jobs, save time and energy to pursue their passions after work, whether it’s a side gig, personal interests, or learning new skills. They don’t want to risk their entire lives on a job that could be downsized at any moment.

The younger generation doesn’t necessarily want to follow a linear life path for their whole lives. They don’t want to conform to the norms and walk the path prescribed by others, as the older generation did. This is the awakening of the younger generation, and it’s perfectly understandable.

Furthermore, life is long, and choosing to lie low and be comfortable now doesn’t mean lying low for a lifetime. One day, responsibilities will be on their shoulders, and the pressures of life will arrive as expected. Everyone will take action because, in the end, it’s responsibility that keeps us grounded.

The Reality of Sacrifices in the Corporate World

Capital is a machine that feeds on human flesh and drinks human blood.

If you want to make money, you have to trade your life for it!

Nine years ago, an internet company tried to recruit me. They offered a good salary and position.

I had dinner with the major shareholder three times. The third time, I chose to meet at 10 o’clock in the evening. The company had over a hundred employees, and the lights were on as they were having a late-night snack.

The young CEO was full of confidence, with a smirk on his face.

We had dinner until 1 AM, and the executives continued to work overtime.

I finally realized:

This kind of money comes at the cost of your life!

I already have a daughter.

I want to live to see my daughter get married and have children. What’s the real meaning of striving in life?

A Porsche? A Rolls-Royce Phantom?

A standalone villa? A luxury residence in West Beijing?

Marrying a beautiful woman, becoming a CEO, or adding salt to my own life? Regardless of what it is,

—life must come first!

Six years later, during a medical check-up, I had my electrocardiogram done three times, and it didn’t look good.

A young doctor told me: “Lie down, relax, lay still for 10 minutes, think of something beautiful, and then we’ll do the test again.” I lay on the bed, looking at the line of young people, full of enthusiasm, waiting for their pre-employment physical examinations. Back when I was in my twenties, I was a workaholic.

I slept at 2 AM every day, and at 7 AM, I would be up and ready for a business trip to Harbin.

I didn’t even visit my wife when she was hospitalized due to illness, and I missed her 9,000 RMB commemorative banquet before our wedding because of a meeting. I had a project in Shandong, and the boss asked me to change the strategy on the spot. I worked for two days and one night without sleep, and my face turned pale.

To make me work hard, my boss claimed everywhere that I was his successor. His successor. Well, it’s true that I was making money back then: after completing a project, the boss gave me a down payment for a car. But I was earning two or three million for each project, and what’s a car worth?

From Nanjing to Beijing, I bought more than I sold. I don’t recommend young people to join mature companies.

Do something on the sidelines.

Endure inefficient meetings.

Flatter unscrupulous leaders.

A colleague of mine has been working overtime for over twenty years.

Three years ago, he got a brain tumor.

He sold his big house, bought a smaller one, cashed out over a million RMB, and had brain surgery at the Temple of Heaven Hospital.

After that, he survived but had a crooked mouth and eye. He returned to his hometown in the south to recover. Is having a crooked mouth and eye the fate of urban professionals in first-tier cities?

The intensity of work for marketing planners is not lower than that for internet professionals.

In 2012, I was in Shanghai.

The boss called me at 2 AM and ordered me to go to the office to work on a project.

In the wee hours of the morning in Shanghai, the taxi driver was an elderly Shanghainese with white hair. He drove while looking at me through the rearview mirror, sighing as he said, “The country owes it to the young people.”

Well, it’s okay.

We owe it to our parents.

We also owe it to our wives, children, first loves, and ourselves.

The lives of young people are a string of apologies.

Your boss doesn’t love you.

If you die, your boss won’t miss you.

He misses his valuation, his revenue, and his mistress.

He won’t miss you.

You are just fallen leaves.

Lu Xun once said, “The joys and sorrows of mankind are not in harmony; the boss only feels that you are noisy.”

Fifteen years ago, a 28-year-old designer died of exhaustion in the office.

He had been working overtime continuously, and his heart gave out. His parents,

Two elderly retired workers with white hair,

Each held a bamboo pole and hung a black banner with bold, powerful characters that read: “Give me back my daughter’s life.” Later, it seemed to be settled privately, with a 300,000 RMB settlement.

You see, with money to offer, this is what they call “good fortune.”

A programmer at Tsinghua, working tirelessly writing code.

Every two days, she finally completed her task on time and went to the bathroom happily. But her heart also gave out.

See, this is also considered “good fortune.”

Then there’s a woman in her forties who came out of one of the big four firms, originally from Hangzhou but still single at the age of 40.

Beautiful and knowledgeable, she earned her EMBA from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and became the Vice President of a technology company in Beijing.

Her heart also gave out.

Having been exploited before,

she still worked until late at night every day in the tech company.

No one forced her to work late at night,

but if she didn’t work late at night, she felt guilty towards her company and her superiors.

She didn’t feel at ease.

The company showed some humanity and organized a memorial service for her.

Beautiful photos were displayed, and the women in her department burst into tears.

They cried for the big sister, for themselves, and for the lives of the workers. At this moment, the one who felt the most pain was the workers.

It was the workers who mourned the loss, not the reapers,

and certainly not the combine harvesters.

The rapid development of the country’s economy

depends on whom?

Is it dependent on real estate developers climbing mountains, chasing girls, and flaunting their feelings?

Is it dependent on internet giants boasting about their “wealth under the sun”?

In this world, there are only two entities:

one is the sickle, and the other is the cabbage.

The sickle says to the cabbage,

“We are in pain, we love you, we miss you deeply.”

What do you think the cabbage thinks? The cabbage would think, “Enough talk, give me money first. I have to pay my mortgage tomorrow.”

You earn in Beijing and spend in Beijing, but you never think about taking anything back home.

But with money, at least you can survive, have the right to mate, complain, eat a full meal, get drunk and curse, and then continue to be harvested. As for having little cabbages? That’s impossible.

The career life of a wage earner is much shorter than you think. For example, graduating from a master’s program at the age of 24. You have to endure for ten years to have a chance to earn a high salary.

What’s a high salary? Earning in one year what you would have earned in the first nine years combined, that’s a high salary.

At this point, you may be content, earning well, having a decent job, and manageable stress. However, after earning for three to five years, at around 35, you get laid off by your boss, and you can never find such a job again…

Don’t laugh, it’s true. Someone asked, “Where do the 35-year-old professionals in the workplace go?” My answer is, first to Starbucks, then to McDonald’s, and finally to a small food stall. In the end, old soldiers don’t die, they’re just busy with Didi and food delivery!

At the end of the month, the HR department processes salaries, and the leaders look at the payroll with furrowed brows: “These people over 35 are expensive, lazy, and cunning. Let’s get rid of them!” So the HR department talks to you, gives you some money, and tells you to leave immediately! It’s a classic case of “the boss tells you to die on Friday, and you’re not around the following Monday.”

The career life that you entered for a high salary is too short. Especially for the common people, those youngsters on Douyin with shining faces, full of enthusiasm, dressed in suits and sitting in a room lit by the library, they will never tell you that what really helps them secure the CEO position is their father, their father-in-law, their wife, or their uncle. They will only wave their fists and tell you to “work hard, strive, and enjoy the 996 blessings!” Of course, most of the big shots rent their offices, and they even pay the rent with credit cards.

Beijing is the backdrop, Shanghai is the business world, the ideal is to leave your hometown, vows are broken, love turns to regret, marriage is remorse, dowry is financial strength, dreams are false, effort is slavery,

struggle is a battle of filth.

You start first grade at the age of six, study hard for 18 years, graduate at 24, earn a high salary at 30, get laid off at 35, deliver food at 36, and drive for Didi at 37. That’s your life. High-salary life expectancy = 5 years?

I have a friend who is a returnee, worked in finance for 15 years, passed the CPA and ACCA exams, and was academically successful. Unfortunately, at the age of 38, he was laid off from his position as the finance director of a group company. While his compensation was high,

he became unemployed two years ago and sat at home for a year. For common people, the money he had earned over the years had all been contributed to the real estate industry. He spent a year sending out resumes, and despite having no issues with his education, qualifications, or character, he couldn’t secure any offers. It was extremely stressful.

Luckily, I recently became a marketing consultant for a startup company and recommended him to become a CFO. Although his salary has dropped significantly, at least he can pay his monthly mortgage. For common people, the money they earn over the years is contributed to the real estate industry. He spent a year sending out resumes, and despite having no issues with his education, qualifications, or character, he couldn’t secure any offers. It was extremely stressful.

Luckily, I recently became a marketing consultant for a startup company and recommended him to become a CFO. Although his salary has dropped significantly, at least he can pay his monthly mortgage.

Never having experienced poverty, why are people over 35 being laid off? The fundamental reason is that there is not enough demand in China for high-end talent, and this is a structural issue.

Yesterday, an economics expert said, " There are only two drivers of the world economy: one is American technology, and the other is China’s market demand."

China cannot absorb so many high-end talents, and the profits of Chinese industries cannot support so many high-end talents.

Just look at the recruitment requirements of companies like Douyin, NIO, and Tencent: over half of the jobs pay less than 30,000 RMB a month. Is that good?

Now, for common people born in the 80s, who doesn’t have a mortgage of one or two thousand RMB? Today’s 30,000 RMB is equivalent to 3,000 RMB from ten years ago.

Most Chinese companies are labor-intensive and cost-sensitive human machines. If you’re over 35, you’re like a three-year-old iPhone with a battery that doesn’t last. You have to be shut down. They won’t keep you.

The slaughter of 35-year-olds, have you ever seen a world 500 company that hasn’t done it?

When I was studying, an old professor motivated us:

  • A bachelor’s degree is just a “rough draft.”
  • A master’s degree is a “half-finished product,”
  • After 5 years of work, you can be considered a “finished product,”
  • After 10 years of work, you can be considered a “masterpiece,”
  • After 20 years of work, you can be considered a “masterpiece.”

Why is it that just when you turn 35 and become a “masterpiece,” you suddenly become “junk”?


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Comfort Zone: The Reality of Accumulated Wealth

In fact, people have a financial cushion.

Over the past forty years of reform and opening up, a significant amount of social wealth has been accumulated. Although there was no deliberate effort to distribute this wealth among the people, the average person has managed to accumulate some savings.

Today’s poverty is very different from the past; at the very least, people no longer worry about basic needs like food and clothing. Most households are even better off than just meeting these basic needs.

When a person moves further away from the edge of life and death, they no longer have the heart for a desperate struggle; they have the right to seek comfort.

Let me share a story to illustrate this point: I am the child of educated youth, and my family had nothing when my mother and I returned to Beijing from Hegang. I attended a technical school, and although I initially worked in a state-owned enterprise, the income was too low, so I resigned after just one year.

I joined a Taiwanese-owned enterprise, where my income increased five or six times. The work was extremely demanding, and when my boss was recruiting, he asked me to recommend some classmates. I described the job to a few technical school classmates, and while their families were of average means, they were Beijingers and had some financial stability. They all declined the job offer, even though it offered three to four times higher wages.

Their reasons for refusal were the same - they didn’t see the need to do such strenuous work and serve others.

Here’s another example: I live in an old, run-down residential area in Beijing that is occupied by many families receiving government assistance. They live in public housing and receive various subsidies, ensuring they don’t have to worry about food, clothing, or shelter. As a result, most of them don’t work. Occasionally, someone might take a job as a supermarket stock clerk or something similar, but they usually quit after a few months. It’s tiring work, and they feel it doesn’t change their circumstances significantly.

Many of these individuals lack education and skills, and even if they worked, it wouldn’t significantly alter their situation. So, they prefer to seek comfort. All they need to do is lower their desires, for example, the family above my apartment eats dumplings and boiled radishes every day.

Do you think low wages mean no overtime? What are you thinking, expecting such a luxury?

Challenges in Young People’s Job Choices

The internet is flooded with topics created solely for the sake of generating traffic. Without proper research and data, it’s unwise to trust labels applied to any group.

For instance, I recently came across a marketing topic on the Soul social platform claiming that young people on average have only two friends and that chatting with AI has become a social trend. Without critical thinking, one could easily fall for such misleading information.

When it comes to young people’s career choices, I base my skepticism on common sense. Young people undoubtedly prefer comfortable lives and would rather not work excessively, but that doesn’t mean they want low wages. In situations where one can’t have both fish and bear’s paw, people make different choices. However, in my personal observation, it seems like more people lean towards higher-paying jobs, and having a low salary doesn’t necessarily prevent exploitation.

My own career dilemma revolves around the extreme polarization of options. The available jobs fall into two categories: either extremely relaxed or extremely demanding, with a lack of middle-ground opportunities.

I sincerely hope for a job that offers both income and intensity at around seventy to eighty percent of the current level, enabling a work-life balance. Such positions are challenging to find and often lack stability.