Smarter work­ing means there is never a time to switch off

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - AN ON­LINE AR­TI­CLE

ti­tled “Here in Bei­jing 20 mil­lion peo­ple are pre­tend­ing to live a life” went vi­ral over the week­end, largely thanks to its main ar­gu­ment that most Bei­jing res­i­dents are so busy at work that they do not have the lux­ury of a life out­side work. Ifeng.com com­mented on Mon­day:

The lives the post de­picts are hardly new to ur­ban res­i­dents and do not mean Bei­jing’s 20 mil­lion res­i­dents are liv­ing only to work. They are, in fact, try­ing to live a life that has never been lived be­fore. Tra­di­tion­ally there was al­ways a dis­tinc­tion be­tween work­ing and not work­ing. But the cost of liv­ing is high in me­trop­o­lises such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai and peo­ple are work­ing more to pay for their lifestyles.

They have to work ex­tra hours to pay the loans for the houses they have bought, they also have to send their chil­dren to training classes at the week­end so that their kids may not fall be­hind their peers. Some may have to spare some of their leisure hours for main­tain­ing the nec­es­sary so­cial con­nec­tions.

As a re­sult, it is only nat­u­ral that some res­i­dents in th­ese me­trop­o­lises tend to dis­cuss work dur­ing so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties. They should not be blamed for talk­ing about work dur­ing a dinner with friends, be­cause it is sim­ply not pos­si­ble to dis­con­nect from work in to­day’s dig­i­tal age.

The loss of liv­ing space and the lack of time for staying with loved ones is hap­pen­ing and will con­tinue. But one is never truly alone when one can chat with friends via in­stant mes­sag­ing apps such as WeChat. This does not strip peo­ple of time in which to live; it in­stead serves as a new way of liv­ing, one that breaks the old bound­aries sep­a­rat­ing life and work.

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