Video triggers debate about overwork in China


A video featuring three young female professionals working overtime until 3 a.m. has recently triggered a debate on the Chinese social media about work stress and overwork.

The video was first posted on WeChat on May 29.

Some netizens said the story resonated with them and their decision to attach more importance to work than to personal life in the hope that hard work would eventually pay off.

"I shed tears after watching the video. Working alone in Beijing, I seldom have time to have a good rest or start a romantic relationship due to my heavy work," Wechat user @Zhuofu said.

But a user also criticized the women in the video for giving precedent to work over personal life.

"Does being a workaholic mean being distant to your loved ones?" the netizen asked.

Others labeled the video's script as over-sensationalized, arguing that it sought to rationalize the culture of workaholism in China.

"Being a workaholic is just inevitable in big cities. No matter which field, working overtime is a common practice," Weibo user @Zuoyihuisatuodeziji commented.

"There's nothing to complain about if you've decided to work hard in exchange for a better life," user @Zhuiliu said.

On average, statistics show that people in China work significantly more hours than in the Europe countries and even Japan.

According to research conducted by Beijing Normal University, Chinese people work for average of 2,000 – 2,200 hours per year, which is much higher than the US (1,790 hours per year), the Netherlands (1,419 hours per year), Germany (1,371 hours per year), and Japan (1,719 hours per year).

Some psychologists have offered suggestions to get relief from the anxiety of work stress.

"Success doesn't come overnight, so I suggest young people should pay more attention to the process rather than the result," said Professor Huang Yafu from Guizhou Normal University. "At present, it seems that most of them focus on the current hardships and ignore the value of experiences."

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