Young Employees in China are selling their Bosses online

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In China, a fascinating trend has emerged among young people who are seeking to “wash off the work smell” by “selling” their jobs, bosses, or colleagues on second-hand e-commerce platforms. This unique practice is seen as a way to alleviate work stress and metaphorically cleanse themselves of the mental and physical exhaustion associated with their jobs.

On Xianyu, Alibaba’s second-hand e-commerce platform, individuals have creatively listed their jobs and colleagues for sale. These listings include “annoying jobs,” “terrible bosses,” and “hated colleagues,” with prices ranging from as low as 2 yuan (30 US cents) to as high as 80,000 yuan (US$11,000). It’s important to note that these listings are not intended to result in actual transactions. Instead, they serve as an outlet for individuals to vent their emotions and relieve stress.

For example, one seller from central China offered her job for 8,000 yuan (US$1,100), highlighting her aversion to early mornings. Another seller from Beijing listed a sarcastic colleague for 3,999 yuan (US$550), providing tips on how to handle this particular individual and avoid becoming the office scapegoat. Additionally, a disgruntled employee listed his “terrible boss” for 500 yuan, citing personality clashes and the toll it has taken on his mental health. In another instance, a project document due that night was listed for 10 yuan (US$1.4).

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Although these listings may initially seem concerning, it’s important to understand that they are meant to be humorous and cathartic rather than actual transactions. Sellers typically cancel or refuse any attempted purchases. In fact, Xianyu has issued a statement reminding users that selling people without their consent is illegal, as it constitutes an invasion of privacy. The unauthorized release of personal information can result in fines or detention for up to ten days in China.

This trend reflects a larger movement among young people in mainland China who are rejecting the intense work culture and striving for a healthier work-life balance. By engaging in creative outlets like “selling” their jobs or colleagues, they find a release from the stress associated with their work.

Online reactions to this trend have been mixed. Some individuals find it amusing and a clever way to relieve stress, while others express concerns about potential privacy violations. Overall, this trend showcases the innovative ways in which young people are navigating and challenging the traditional work culture to prioritize their physical and mental well-being.

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