A row between workers of two schools of thought has broken out at Microsoft’s China offices. Two work cultures have collided between longtime employees of the American software giant’s Suzhou branch, who value a healthy work-life balance, and new employees who are accused of encouraging a “toxic” culture of overtime.
The altercation was first made public when someone shared a screen shot of a conversation in an internal Microsoft group chat on Chinese social media. In the screenshot, one employee calls out others who were apparently found to be working outside of regular hours as part of a “random inspection”. “Please immediately stop your behavior as hardworking bitches,” the self-appointed inspector commented.
The older employees see a work-life balance as an integral part of the American software giant’s culture and brand, while the newer engineerings see the 996 lifestyle — whereby employees work from 9am to 9pm, six days a week — as essential to success and part of their identity as tech workers, reports SupChina.
An anonymous person who claims to be familiar with the matter later provided some context to the screenshot, writing on social media that the “inspection” was part of an unofficial project created by Microsoft’s longtime engineers. According to this person, Microsoft had recently hired engineers from Chinese tech firms such as Alibaba and Huawei, companies renowned for pressuring employees to work way beyond their contracted hours. Old guard Microsoft employees had therefore started patrolling the company's internal systems to see who was still active in the evening. Those found to be engaging in unapproved overtime were branded as having “failed” the inspection.
“Microsoft recently hired a group of hardworking bitches who previously worked for Chinese companies,” the anonymous poster wrote. “There’s a competition among them to embrace extreme workaholism, which is characterized by staying up late for work and talking to one another in group chats in the middle of the night. They are sick.” The poster added that the new hires had broken Microsoft’s rules and “built a toxic atmosphere”.
The actions of the established Microsoft employees received much support online, with many netizens saying they wished for similar inspections to weed out workaholics at their companies. Employees in China can only work eight hours a day or 44 hours a week by law, but many, especially those working in tech, put in multiple hours of (usually unpaid) overtime a week. This is partly in a bid to prove their worth, partly due to pressures from bosses and other colleagues, and partly in the hope of securing a big bonus at Chinese New Year.
Such practices, which have been rife in China for years, have unsurprisingly been endorsed by the country’s top tech moguls. For example, last year Alibaba founder Jack Ma said his employees should consider the 996 culture “a huge blessing”. There has been somewhat of a backlash against aggressive overtime in recent years, however. In 2019, Chinese programmers launched a movement on GitHub to name and shame tech companies with toxic work cultures.
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Keywords: Microsoft China row
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So just do a good 40 hours without your phone at work and no surfing on the internet. Most of the long hours are actually unproductive, smoke breaks, checking email, etc. Just deduct the phone time and surfing time from the total and pay them the difference and then see who the workaholic really is in the office.
Aug 08, 2020 07:31 Report Abuse