Essay: Should students go to factories for winter and summer vacation jobs during their student days?

The reason for writing this essay was that one afternoon, while chatting in a group, I saw a friend share a picture like this:

image The lengthy text gradually reminded me of a period of time I experienced six years ago when I was working in a factory. P.S. By the way, how time flies! It's already six years ago in 2018!

In the summer of 2018, after graduating from high school, I was deeply influenced by inspirational literature and felt that since I had become an adult, I should try to earn money on my own. So, three days after the end of the college entrance examination, with the help of my homeroom teacher's connections, I was introduced to a former student who worked in a human resources intermediary service. Let's call him Xiaohei for now. After a brief communication, I confirmed that the destination of this job was Hangzhou, and I also brought along my best friend, who is nicknamed "God in the Human World". And so, one day later, with Xiaohei's company, God and I boarded a bus to Hangzhou.

Because it has been a long time, I have forgotten many details of when I first arrived in Hangzhou. I won't go into detail about the experiences of not being able to find a factory job due to the intermediary's negligence. The following paragraphs will focus on the most important 20 days that followed.

Yes, I only worked in Hangzhou for 20 days in 2018.

Zhejiang Hongyan Plastic Manufacturing Co., Ltd.

This was my first close contact with the manufacturing industry. Before this, I had never had any understanding of factories. Even though six years have passed, as I write this reflection, it seems that my surroundings are still filled with the deafening roar of huge machines and the unique smell of hot plastic products. The expressionless assembly line workers quickly open the isolation windows and manually remove the plastic products that have been stamped by the machine. The next time they perform the same action is only five seconds later. As the intermediary said, the work is very easy and doesn't require much thinking. Indeed, on the first day after I finished my shift, my right hand would unconsciously reach out to open a window, while my left hand would have the impulse to grab something. I shook my head and rested with a tired body.

Oh, I forgot to mention the accommodation. We were assigned to a small unfinished dormitory building inside the factory. Inside the room, there were only three bunk beds, no air conditioning, no fans, and it faced the wind, making it extremely stuffy and hot. Due to poor ventilation, the sweat produced couldn't even evaporate and would stick to the skin. The roommate in the dormitory was doing heavy physical work, and every night, he would play beautiful Chopin music with his nose and throat.

The working hours in the factory were from 7 am to 7 pm. Each team would rotate between day and night shifts every week, which meant working from 7 pm to 7 am. We had one day off every Sunday, working six days and resting one day. On the first day of working the night shift, I was very excited because it meant it would be cooler and I wouldn't have to go back to the stuffy dormitory to sleep. However, one week is not enough time to adjust the biological clock properly. After 3 am on the second day, accompanied by the monotonous roar of the machines and repetitive actions, my brain started to lose the ability to think. The resistance to opening my eyelids became stronger with each blink. Yes, I was getting sleepy.

Getting sleepy is fatal.#

Because each assembly line worker has a large mold stamping machine next to them. After closing the isolation window, the machine injects the already melted plastic particles into the mold through a pipeline. Then, with hydraulic impact, the mold opens and the worker opens the isolation window, manually removing the molded plastic product. If there is any delay in the action or forgetting to remove the finished product, the liquid plastic will continue to be injected, and closing the isolation window will cause the machine to continue stamping, resulting in deformed products and machine malfunctions. The team leader would check the interval between each stamping on the machine backstage. If the interval is significantly longer, it would be considered as not working seriously, and the punishment would be deducted points or wages. If all the points are deducted, being fired is not far away.

Coincidentally, because I was new to the assembly line, combined with the short interval between day and night shifts and the disruption of my biological clock, as well as the harsh working and living conditions, God and I were much less efficient than the other workers. In the following days, God's daily output was always unqualified, while I barely met the quota. As a result, the team leader found the personnel department and requested to dismiss us. At this point, I was already very open-minded because a few days ago, I saw the salary slip sent to us by the intermediary. They promised a hourly wage of 42 yuan, but after working a full 12 hours each day, it turned out to be only a little over 80 yuan per day. After working for 20 days, I received my second hard-earned money in my life, which was more than 1,400 yuan (the specific details were around 2,000 yuan, deducted for medical examination fees and travel expenses). Moreover, the company paid the salary to the intermediary, who then transferred it to us via WeChat.

On the night when I saw the salary slip sent by the intermediary, God and I smiled at each other.

After going through twists and turns and returning home, I breathed a sigh of relief. In the remaining days before the start of university, my mom and I often went back to the countryside in the late afternoon to play with a few pieces of land, enjoying the flowers, plants, and streams. In the absence of the pressure of the college entrance examination, such days were truly happy.

Returning to the picture shared by a friend at the beginning of this essay, do we really pursue pleasure as it mentioned? Don't we have any ambition? As someone who has been working for two years after graduation, when I read about the hardships of parents in this passage, I couldn't help but smile. Isn't this a kind of moral blackmail after changing the concept? Throughout my university years, I have seen numerous part-time job groups during summer and winter vacations, where similar stories of students running away and intermediaries giving impassioned speeches about making money, parents, and the future are played out almost every year. Earning money is indeed not easy, and parents' hard work is undeniable, but isn't the deception during job introductions by unscrupulous intermediaries and the lack of transparency in salary distribution also treating a group of students who already have the concept of economic independence as lambs to be slaughtered? When your lambs no longer willingly offer themselves to the table, you talk about ideals, filial piety, and criticize their inability to endure hardship. I can call this behavior that of a qualified capitalist.

After experiencing so many things, I increasingly agree with a saying:

"Do what you should do at the right time."#

The primary task of students is to study. Here, studying is a broad concept that can include knowledge from books as well as knowledge in hobbies and interests. I don't want many students to waste their precious exploration time on so-called self-reliance and the idea of earning and spending money on their own, which is imposed on them by society or others.

The summer and winter vacations of middle and high school and college should be spent on developing interests, hobbies, and values, rather than working in unscrupulous factories for a few months to earn tuition and living expenses. It may make your parents, family, relatives, and friends think that you are mature, but in a person's life, there is truly only this period of time that is free and beautiful, where you can do whatever you like without any worries, even if it's just basking in the sun in the yard.

-----------Extra----------- Interestingly, after 4 years, I set foot on the land of Hangzhou again and became a standard office worker 🐶 What a coincidence!!!

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