Most jobs suck. This is a scientific fact. And most people who have jobs that suck need an afterwork release that keeps them sane, and the shittier and more boring the job, the more outrageous and weird the release. So what if your job making expensive playthings for Western adults is among the most boring yet dangerous jobs in the world? You spend your after work hours in what sounds like a living nightmare of a different sort. You know, to take the edge off.
Today, the New York Times explores the ways factory workers in China are escaping the drudgery and monotony of tech factory jobs that sound like they'd drive a person insane within a week. We're talking unending hours, cramped conditions, and something called "silent mode," where workers aren't allowed to discuss anything not directly related to their work while at work. Makers of iCrap are also often required to wear matching uniforms and live in a dorm with 8 other workers and a shower that doubles as a toilet. It's no wonder Chinese factories have seen an uptick in suicides.
So in response, Chinese companies are graciously allowing their workers to have something called "leisure time" where — GET THIS — workers don't work. They're allowed do things like attend pilates classes (which they have to pay for), wander around street fairs and play carnival games for cheap prizes, and sometimes take a day — or even two!— off!
Some workers are choosing to use their time off to do normal unwinding type activities, like playing video games or calling loved ones. But others are frequenting night clubs that make the clubs I frequented during my stupider years — hives of bad decisions patrolled by aspirant date rapists and scantily clad waitresses paying their way through DeVry by distributing unnaturally colored beverages served out of test tubes — sound like the goddamn Royal Ascot meeting. Here's one such club, captured in one of the greatest lede paragraphs in the history of journalists hat tipping Saturday Night Live,
The hottest nightclub in this factory town is a neon-encrusted dive down the road from the industrial park where iPhones are made 24 hours a day. Tucked behind an open construction site, “Through the Summer,” as the nightspot is known, had it all on a recent Saturday night — plastic whistles, fruit plates, a toddler with a mohawk, counterfeit light sabers and a bawdy comedian who imbibed beer through his nose.
Paging Bill Hader. Actually, not paging. Texting, using a smartphone made in a Chinese horror den.
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