Gao Yi is from rural areas in Sichuan province, he has been working in Shenzhen for over 10 years, here he shares his working stories in Shenzhen.
“Du, du, du”… the train sound has brought me back the memory of my first time seeking employment in Shenzhen.
2010 was a very memorable year for me, because of the poverty at home, I traveled to Shenzhen in search of employment at the age of 14. I don’t want to make my families’ life more difficult, so it would be good to go out to seek employment and make money and help out with the families. I have never been on a long train journey before, the only train journey I can recall was traveling from Chengdu to Kunming when I was very young.
I was sitting a seat near the window on the train, when the train nearly came out of Da Liang Shan (大凉山), I suddenly started crying and have memories of my hard working mother and father. I wanted to buy some stuffs to eat on the train, it seemed that the stuff they sell on the train are more expensive than you can purchase in the shops, I have carefully counted the money I have in my pockets, barely enough for the train fares. In order to save money, I ate noodles and biscuits. After a day and a night, I finally arrived in Shenzhen.
The following day I came to one of the electronics factory for an interview, they asked me about my age. I said 14 without hesitation. HR said we can not employ you because you are too young. I was feeling very disappointed about it, and I tried for a few more electronics factory, and got rejected too. I was nearly going to give up, and there was one electronics factory finally accepted me and offered me a job. There are many people working at the factory, the factory floor and it’s cafeteria are quite big, the meals at the cafeteria are very delicious, however, the dormitory’s conditions are quite poor, there are many insects in the room. Managers are very mean and rude, if he is not satisfied with any of the workers, he would shout at them. The working hour is fairly long, but the work load is fairly light, and I got used to long working hours. I remember the wages I got for the first month was around 927 RMB, I gave me parents 500RMB, and used 100RMB to buy two clothes and the rest of the amount for other day to day living expenses.
Even though Shenzhen is a prosperous city, I miss home very much and feel very lonely and abandoned from time to time. Through one year’s of hard work, I was able to give my parents 6000 RMB at the end of the year, I also bought them some clothing and bought myself a nokia cell phone. For those of us that come so far away to look for jobs, we are not afraid of hard working conditions, what we are afraid is not having a job. I just want to earn more money and help my families to have a better life, we need to help each other out, I do believe our society is becoming better and better, but my hometown hasn’t changed that much, the road and the houses are still very poor, and I hope my hometown would improve gradually and more people can stay and work in my hometown.
Edited and translated by Philip Caruso