996 Mode, Modern Slavery or a Passport to Success
When a Hangzhou high-tech company, “You Zan,” legalized a work schedule as 996, it really threw a bomb to the public and made “996” the buzz word of the year. It seems that Chinese start-ups and programmers have taken this grueling working schedule for granted, but people from all industries are in support of improvements of the working conditions of those IT employees. For me, I tend to regard it as a modern slavery system rather than a passport to success, and the supporting evidences are as follows:
First of all, the 996 mode in such kinds of companies is a strict system that is over-exploiting their employees and impairing their health. Although IT tycoons including Jack Ma and Richard Liu publicly supported this 996 schedule and related their success to the overtime system, I still feel pitiful for all programmers in those companies.
In fact, the tendency of excessive overtime will expand to more start-up and high-tech companies unless the policy-makers are willing to change it. Jack Ma, the role model of nearly all Chinese teenagers, surprised people with his idea that “996” was “a huge blessing” for young recruiters in Alibaba. Instead, I would rather define such working state in Alibaba as modern slavery.
People who work for more than 55 hours a week face an increased risk of stroke and heart disease compared to those working for the standard hours of 35 to 40 hours a week, according to a study based on data of more than 600,000 individuals, published in the medical journal The Lancet. Even more pathetically, leaders like Jack Ma and Richard Liu reached an agreement that such working schedule should be justified in the whole industry without any financial compensation.
Secondly, the measuring standard of personal success, for those tech-giants, is not about how much money they earn but about how good they feel in the working process.
It was reported that those employees looking for work-life balance were tagged as “losers” or “slackers” in these giant companies and would be more likely to lose their opportunities for promotion in the near future. Definitely, I shall pay respect to tough leaders like Jack Ma and Richard Liu, and of course, their philosophies about hard working make sense on their way to success. However, even for them, they have no right to “rob” their employees of their legalized family and fun time, not to mention the time without any payment. Sometimes programmers joked about their working schedule and would internalize the stereotype that they enjoyed their well-paid jobs and casual working environment. However, the truth is that they face overtime and fierce competition, experience conflicts with family, and bear potential health burdens.
Lastly, to achieve a balance between work and life, to live a meaningful life and stay fit is the ultimate goal for us ordinary people. In fact, when employees work from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week, they could hardly strike a balance between life and job. Therefore, voice of those employees with a 996 schedule should be heard and must be heard, by the public, their co-workers, and many more. Only in this way can such working schedule be rectified. If it still needs time to change, those employees might seriously consider making choices between work and their family life. In any country, at any time, in any industry, work-life balance is a fairly justifiable request for employees .
Therefore, it is natural to draw a conclusion that this 996 mode is unreasonable. A 996 working mode, to be frank, will be my last choice. I am a girl growing up in a family full of love, and I value my family, care for all my relatives and enjoy its warmth and harmony. If I am needed in my company, I, of course, will be glad to offer my devotion. However, a schedule with long overtime will become a heavy burden, not only to me, but to many other young people. There is only one Jack Ma and one Alibaba, but we can also see numerous flourishing companies with proper managing systems. And I can understand that saying no to this 996 schedule is much more difficult if you are, or perceive yourself to be, low down in the hierarchy of your company. Nevertheless, it’s important to be honest and to look after your health. Offload, be with your family, and learn to say “no” to modern slavery.
“Follow the 996 schedule, and you will end up in ICU,” the slogan of a project “996.ICU” on github, a well-known code sharing website, touched my soul deeply. Sometimes people tend to ignore the real value of a meaningful life while treasure money most and regard it as their only goal in their life. However , the real wealth is health. We only live once in the world. To live a meaningful life, we should pursue beyond wealth. The poorest person is the man who has nothing except money. Realizing this, I think we should learn to say no to such modern slavery practice.