Thursday, August 27

Not much DIY in China

Nobody in any office under the age of 25 has ever had a job before the job they’ve got now. Chances are, Chinese people under 35 have only ever worked in one industry in one city since college. They have never had part time or after school jobs or had to put themselves through college. They never rebuilt their first car (or any car) when they were 15. The can’t change a tire, the oil, wiper blades or a taillight. At home, they don’t know how to change the lights, build Ikea-type furniture or wire a stereo/TV or fix anything when it breaks. Why?

The One Child Policy and Low Cost Labor.

First, if you have one child and 4-6 adults in every house, the kid isn’t going to do anything but go to school, eat, play and complain. School is more important than anything else because he (usually a he) has a lot of people to take care of and school is the ticket for all 7 people to retire happily.

Second, it only costs 10RMB to have someone from the apartment management office come up and fix anything/everything for them. So why do anything yourself? (For a $1.25 I don’t do anything here either.)

Third, there is face in NOT doing manual labor type jobs and paying other people to do it for you.

Finally, because there is so much cheap labor everyone is incredibly specialized (limited) in their variety of job skills. Basically, everyone does their own (one) job very very well but no one has a clue about anyone else’s job here because they’ve never had another job and chances are their parents were farmers (meaning they didn’t learn business from their parents/environment growing up).

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