Nov 12 · Last update 23 days ago.

The Great Resignation & the lying flat movement: what is the significance?

Tang ping or “flying flat” is a social movement in China whereby young adults are rejecting the intense work culture of the “996” jobs that are the norm in China (9am-9pm 6 days a week), to instead live a minimalist lifestyle, minimizing desires and ambitions to meet only their immediate needs. The movement seems to have been started by Luo Huazhong whose story of quitting a factory job in Sichuan to return to his home town and “lie flat” gained a lot of traction on social media, with the catchphrase “a chive lying flat cannot be reaped”. Lying flat is often described as a form of protest or resistance movement against the Chinese Communist Party’s rule; however we have also seen a strikingly similar occurrence in the United States and to some extent in Europe. The US is seeing an ongoing trend of employees quitting work throughout 2021 in response to the global pandemic, massive levels of growing inequality, and a rising cost of living, which has been dubbed the Great Resignation. Is it all a coincidence? Are these trends linked or just similar outcomes from a prolonged period of unprecedented stress? What is the significance of the Great Resignation and tang ping?
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Not connected and nothing new

"Lying flat" is nothing new, there have always been similar social protest or sometime even religious or philosophical movements in history, especially in China where lifestyles based on rejecting ambition in China's growing capitalist markets have spread for years, this is just its latest iteration. Similar trends can be noted in America's generation X with "slackers" that rejected hard work, or in Japan with the recent similar trend of "herbivore men" who express little interest in getting married or relationships, these trends remain a minority however, no matter how much people write about them. What is actually going on in the States is more of a great reshuffle than a great resignation though, and it is unsurprising as in a prolonged global pandemic fatigue is pushing more and more people in this direction especially if we look at the industries involved, hospital care, food services and hospitality. However surveys have shown that a minority resigned without other work lined up [2], and according to LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky “this reshuffle of talent will most likely play out for another year or two, I believe it will ultimately settle back down" [1].

businessinsider.com/jobs-great-resignation-reshuffle-gen-z-millennials-quitting-switching-careers-2021-10?op=1 [1] time.com/6107587/linkedin-ceo-ryan-rolansky-interview qz.com/2019322/why-lying-flat-a-niche-chinese-millennial-meme-alarms-beijing [2] prnewswire.com/news-releases/majority-of-job-changers-in-the-great-resignation-were-burned-out-wanted-to-be-valued-and-cared-for-301387771.html

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