Work 996, and Rest at ICU
Recently, some Chinese technology companies have aroused public concern for the "996 work schedule" they advocate. The "996 work schedule", as the name suggests, refers to working overtime from 9 am to 9 pm every day, 6 days a week, only taking one hour off for lunch and dinner. As soon as this system was put forward, it caused a great uproar in the society. The supporters and opponents held different opinions and argued endlessly. Some netizens even ridiculed it as "work 996, and rest at ICU".
Many people, including myself, are confused: does a company really need to implement the "996 work schedule"? I do have some thoughts to share about this new work style of the 21st century. In general, I don't think it is necessary to carry out such a cruel 996 working schedule. First, it's not legal. It is only a tool used by enterprises to improve performance and increase revenue. Article 36 of the labor law of the People's Republic of China clearly stipulates that "the state shall implement a working hour system in which the working hours of laborers shall not exceed 8 hours per day and 44 hours per week on average." This is the "standard working hours". Yet the 996 work week has seen companies go far beyond the hours stipulated by Labor law. How can illegal practices be promoted in society? Second, isn't it more important to focus on employees' physical and mental health than to simply pursue corporate efficiency? When "work 996, and rest at ICU" becomes common, then how to protect the rights of laborers? Some employees even revealed the 896 or 796 work schedule. Employees are not machines, and machines still need raw materials to operate, let alone people with limited energy? Working ten hours a day, six days a week, an employee is likely to get injured at work or fall ill. In addition, the 996 work schedule seriously damaged the family harmony or emotional life of employees. When a man set off to work in the early morning, his family is not up yet; when he finally returns home at night, his family has already fallen asleep. A man who does not spend quality time with his family can scarcely savor the happiness of the family. Under the 996 work schedule, people are undoubtedly living in the dark.
However, as we all know, the IT industry is getting increasingly competitive and challenging, following rapid developments of the Internet in recent years. In view of the stresses and pains IT elites suffer under the "996 work schedule", I would like to offer several suggestions to them. First of all, since the competition is fierce, you must improve your work efficiency and redouble your efforts if you want to gain a foothold in the IT industry. Moreover, since you can't escape the nightmare of 996 work schedule, you have to learn to accept it. Also you have to learn to relieve the pressure and protect my physical and mental health under the high-intensity work. Of course, if you really cannot afford it, it is also a wise choice to transfer to a less stressful job. Finally, learn to balance work and family. Work demands your full attention, while family needs your company more. No promotion or salary increase can equal the deep affection between family members.
If one day I were to choose whether or not to work for a company which follows a 996 work schedule, I think my answer would be no. I always believe that hard work is necessary and hard work is worth advocating. But isn't it a morbid struggle when the 996 work week impairs our health, makes us feel less connected to our families, and keeps young people from pursuing their own happiness? Advocating hard work does not mean implementing the 996 work schedule. Good health is the greatest wealth of a man. If you work hard just for promotion and salary increase, it will eventually harm your health and family relations. We all know the principle of “no pains, no gains”, but it is not necessarily a good thing to work too hard. In any case, we should not harm our health. So, even if I did my best in the end and failed to achieve the success I wanted, I would not be so upset, at least I still have a healthy body. Everything in the world has its own laws, so it is unreasonable to persistently push employees to their limits.
Years later, the 996 work schedule may either prevail or perish, but at least now it is not feasible. It is ruinous to the physical and mental health of IT professionals. I sincerely hope that the majority of companies can find a comprehensive strategy that takes into account both the efficiency of the company and the physical and mental health of employees.