> Chinese labor law dictates a 40-hour workweek and extra pay for overtime, but many companies circumvent those rules by asking employees to sign contracts that say their jobs require flexible work schedules.
Being able to supersede labor laws by forcing^Wasking employees to sign a contract that nullifies them is suspect at best. I get that office tech workers aren't the factory assembly line workers for which these laws were originally designed but the exclusions need to come from the other direction.
> Huawei Technologies employees work on the last Saturday of each month, and that earns them an extra 12 days by the end of the year that they can take in pay or days off. A year into their jobs, Huawei’s Chinese staff can sign a “dedicated employee agreement,” voluntarily forgoing paid vacation days and overtime.
That quote links to a different article explaining this further:
> A year into their jobs, Chinese staff may sign a “dedicated employee agreement,” voluntarily forgoing paid vacation days and overtime. One Huawei engineer said he signed the agreement four years ago to start receiving shares as part of his compensation. The closely held firm says its shares are owned entirely by its executives and employees.
So the deal is "Work an extra 12 days per year for 12 days of pay/vacation. Then give it up along with all the rest of your vacation days and maybe we'll give you some equity. Also, we can probably claw back the equity. Also, you'll probably never be able to actually cash it out.
Does anyone actually believe this kind of schedule is actually effective?
I don't see how anyone performs well under these circumstances unless they are horribly overqualified for the job. In order for a programmer to be even 60% effective at this kind of schedule, the work has to be essentially trivial. I don't see any debugging happening in this kind of situation.
The only explanation I see is that there is a 'social status' for bosses to have their employees work a lot. Because I do not believe this actually yields decent commercial results for anyone.
This is horrific, inefficient and stupid.
Multiple speculative causes:
- Social pressure. The bosses want to be able to say "look at how hard I can make my workers work", probably without comparing productivity in any way
- Social pressure. People competing with each other for how hard working they are. This seems prevalent in many cultures. "Oh I am so tired / stressed". When you claim those things, you can stop worrying about other issues, like doing good work. I have always noticed that the busier I appear, the less people would hold me to account for problems. Ridiculous.
- A tired / overworked populace doesn't have the energy to get any revolutionary ideas. The status quo is maintained, no matter what the cost. This suits almost nobody, other than a select few. But, we do it to ourselves. Like the herd of bison running from the lion, we do not realise our power and instead accept whatever the oppressors (companies) force on us. So, we made our bed and are lying in it. No point complaining unless we are willing to do something about it. See points 1 and 2, this has never been about productivity.
In the words of Alibaba's Jack Ma:
“ If we go to work at 8am and go home at 5pm, this is not a high tech company and Alibaba will never be successful...If we are a good team and know what we want to do, one of us can defeat ten of them.”
It's even more incredible watching him say it: https://twitter.com/humanismusic/status/963714910269079552
The older I get, the more I find that making the right decisions, even in day-to-day programming, makes your far more efficient and effective than throwing time at a problem.
I had worked as an European engineer in China. I worked European hours and days.
IMHO the secret of success of China, if there is one(China is way poorer than EU or USA), is accepting capitalism after centuries of stagnation with systems that worked very bad for most people(worked for Emperors, communist dictators and people in power thought).
To say that working 996 is the secret to success is just manipulation of the wsj, which does not surprise me coming from this newspaper.
Not accepting patents in practice like US did with England could be the secret of China industry advancing very fast but working too much is not.
Chinese spend a long time in work, they even sleep there but the energy they have most of the time is very low precisely because of that. European system is far superior.
Finally had a manager at my employer (in MO, USA) dumb enough to mandate 48 hrs/week in writing. It’s illegal in the state to expect continual, uncompensated hours > 40. The managers with 2 digit IQs demand it verbally, once with a company wide voicemail.
Welcome to the race to the bottom
I frequently see WSJ articles on the HN front page. Is there a secret for getting past the paywall that I don't know? How are y'all reading these? Or are many HN readers WSJ subscribers?
still better than a postdoc