There is a young woman in her early 20s in my office who sits at her desk all day and is on 开心网 (kaixin wang), or the Chinese equivalent of Facebook, chatting with friends online and occasionally picking up the phone for a lively gabfest.
She buys things on Taobao (淘宝), the Chinese version of eBay that are delivered to her in the office, and is constantly checking her makeup or her hair.
Xiao Zhao doesn't do much work everyday; and the work she does do is less than acceptable. I ask her to clarify or to explain what she wrote, but she either repeats what she has already written or gives half-hearted answers that hardly help resolve the situation.
This is ironic considering for the written exam as part of the job application, she apparently aced it.
At our company, local employees' salaries are determined partially by work performance and are given salaries of different amounts ranked A, B and C. Xiao Zhao regularly gets rated C, the lowest wage, but she doesn't seem to care, not showing any ambition or hard work ethic in a bid to improve her standing.
She is happy to continue doing basically nothing, get paid for it and if she wishes, can eat a practically inedible dinner at the company's expense too.
Meanwhile she is sharing an apartment with another colleague, who cannot stand Xiao Zhao's lack of respect for cleanliness. This coworker complained that Xiao Zhao had no concept of cooperation which was strange, as during college, everyone had to live in dormitories and that meant six to eight people in a room.
And now with only three more months to the end of the lease, Xiao Zhao suddenly announced she wants to move out of the apartment the two are sharing so that she can live with a boyfriend who she only recently started seeing. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Sadly she is probably the majority of young people today, the post-80s generation, the only child in the family who has been coddled, as even not very wealthy families manage to spoil their kid.
These young people mostly go through life with no specific long-term goals in mind, except perhaps to get married and have an apartment paid for by their parents.
This aimlessness will not bode well for China's future. If a large percentage of the next generation are not self-motivated or interested in their work, this could lead to a massive drop in productivity, thus affecting China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
In the west, young people are encouraged by their parents and peers to get summer jobs to earn spending money or to save for university. They quickly learn that earning money is not easy, and of course getting a post-secondary degree is vital to getting a decent job.
This financial lesson is non-existent in China, where many children are used to parents handing out money -- and it seems more so when the parents are divorced. Also many parents from lower income levels are pleased that their child quits school and works to help pay for the family's expenses. It's strange considering the stereotype is that Chinese put a strong emphasis on education.
But the education should not only be in the classroom, but also in life survival skills. That way people China will have fewer people like Xiao Zhao and move the country further on the path towards a developed nation.