In China, there has been uproar over a 40-year-old woman’s choice to leave her career and work as her parents’ “full-time daughter” instead.
Nianan, 40, left her position at a news agency last year after 15 years of employment. She was continuously under a lot of stress because she had to be available almost constantly. Fortunately, her parents had a better job offer for her if she would simply leave the job that was so terrible.“Why don’t you just quit your job? We’ll take care of you financially,” the woman’s parents said, promising to pay her 4,000 yuan ($570) per month if she just came and lived with them. That meant no more housing costs, and saving massively on food and various household items, as the parents would take care of such expenses. So Nianan quit her job and became a ‘full-time daughter’.
Nianan says her job is “filled with love” after working for her parents’ company for a year. She spends her days going grocery shopping with her parents, cooking dinner with them every night, driving them around when necessary, and even has time to dance with them for an hour each day.
Nianan says that she is also responsible for managing the electronics around the house, and for planning one or two family trips every month. As blissful as this routine may seem, the 40-year-old woman says that she still sometimes feels “the desire to make more money”. Luckily, her parents have nothing against that, if it’s what she wants.
“If you find a more suitable job, you can go for it,” Nianan’s parents told her. “If you don’t want to work, just stay at home and spend time with us.”
Nianan told the South China Morning Post that her monthly salary is paid out of her parents’ monthly pension of around 100,000 yuan ($15,000).
This unusual arrangement sparked a heated online debate in China this week, with some people criticizing the 40-year-old woman for living off of her parents, and others claiming that it was solely their business as a family.
“Clearly, it is simply relying on one’s parents, known as ken lao in Chinese, which translates into ‘eat the old’, yet they insist on labeling it as being a ‘full-time daughter’,” one person commented.
“If both the parents and their children are genuinely happy, why not embrace it? In the future, the young labor force will hold a higher value. If some people consider it ken lao, or relying on parents, then why not exchange children to take care of the elderly in each others’ families?” someone else asked.
The “laying down” youth movement, in which young people simply cease working completely in order to enjoy a simpler, more relaxed existence, is a result of China’s infamous “996” culture, which involves working from 9am to 9pm six days a week. This culture has been blamed for many cases of burnout, severe depression, and worse.