[ 2007-05-15 09:19 ]
Working 10 or more hours a day, almost no
days off, no regular meals and lack of sleep - that's the life for 70 percent of
the white-collar workers in four of China's big cities, Beijing, Shanghai,
Shenzhen and Guangzhou, according to a survey by Beijing Normal University.
These white-collar workers, usually with university degrees, good jobs and
salaries, are quite used to overtime work and a new word was coined for them -
"over-worked models" (Guo Laomo).
"Increasing pressure from their work in competitive fields is the reason for
the emergence of 'over-worked models'," said Xu Yan, a psychology professor from
Beijing Normal University, who led the survey.
The professor said she tried to do research on job burnout three years ago,
but she couldn't find enough examples. "During the past three years, 'over
worked models' sprang up, especially in big cities," she said.
Asked why they have to work extra hours, the white-collar workers gave three
1. Voluntary overtime work. The companies have no compulsory working hours
but the staff impose these long hours on themselves to get more pay and a quick
2. Compulsory overtime. The staff have too much work to do within
a limited time, so they stay late into the night in order to finish
3. If others do, I will too. Some staff stay late just because
others do. They want their bosses to see they are hard-working.
"The only way to get the boss' attention to you is to work overtime,
otherwise you will have no chance to be promoted," said Zhao Jing, an assistant
manager of an advertising agency in Beijing.
Ju Ning, a career counselor explained those voluntary "over-worked models"
set their vocational aims too high at an early stage instead of achieving their
goals step by step.
"Some people are over-energetic during their early years at work but they
will gradually run out of energy as time passes. But they mistakenly think they
are still not hard-working enough because they don't get the reward they think
they deserve. As a result, they drive themselves into more intensive work," Ju
The career advisor suggested white-collared workers should
make objective analyses of the reasons why they can't achieve their goals.
"Merely attributing the failure to lack of intensive work is not advisable,"