"What if it turned out that the people who make your iPhone and laptop were having a lot more fun than you," posits The New York Times's Dan Levin, who has discovered that even teenagers who work in boring, 10-hour-a-day factory jobs go out at night. It's not too hard to believe that factory workers have fun sometimes. Of course they do: blue-collar workers went to blue-collar bars. What is hard to believe, however, is that the spartan existence of a Chinese gadget maker—which has driven people to suicide as recently as May of this year—is "more fun" than the relatively well paid white-collar office jobs of most New York Times readers, who also, surprise surprise: go out at night.
Though you're not supposed to think about it on those terms. Rather, this phenomenon of young people doing things to "vent my anger and stress," as one Foxconn worker put it, should make you feel better about where your gadgets come from. Some people jump off buildings driven by the low pay, long hours, and tedious work at a factory that "has all the charm of a penal colony," per Levin. Others, however, dance. Levin has a whole video showing young people in a club with flashing lights and techno music, as a visual testament to all the fun Foxconn workers have.
That, however, should not make anyone envious of their lifestyles. Blue-collar bars traditionally stay open later in some American factory towns because people working the second or third shifts want to grab a drink and let off some steam after the job. Would you trade your 9-to-5 office job for a seat on the assembly line just to not ironically drink PBR at 2 a.m.?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.