CHINA

"I don't want my friends to know that I'm fired"

Xiao Peng was laid off in November 2008. He was the primary source of financial support to his parents. He preferred to remain anonymous to avoid being recognised by his close friends. They still don’t know that he lost his job.

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Xiao Peng was laid off in November 2008. He was the primary source of financial support to his parents. He preferred to remain anonymous to avoid being recognised by his close friends, who are unaware of his current situation.

Xiao Peng lost his job five months ago. This young Chinese man, an IT assistant in Beijing, worked with an Indian company of 20 employees.

One day, the company head told us that he would have to fire three people because of the current financial crisis - I was one of them. I was earning about 4,000 yuan (440 euros) per month which was enough to sustain my family.

I live with my parents on the outskirts of Beijing. In the beginning, I didn't tell them that I had lost my job. I didn't want them to worry. One day, my mother found my job termination letter while cleaning my room.

I had to explain everything to them. They were very supportive even though they were scared. I was the main family breadwinner. My mother earns 2000 yuan (200 euros) per month and my father is retired with a very small pension. 

The situation isn't bad in China compared to other countries. If one looks for work, one finds something. In Beijing, work is available, mainly in shops. I would be too ashamed to be a salesman in a shop.

I would never be able to tell my friends that. In fact, I haven't even told them that I'm currently jobless. My two closest friends, who are the same age as me, have set up their own businesses. They earn close to 10,000 yuan (1,100 euros) per month.

So if I compare their career to mine....I rarely see them these days. Whenever they ask me about work, my response is brief and I change the subject.

I would really like to become a web designer. I'm quite good at it but I don't have the required qualifications, which makes it difficult to find work in this field. For the moment, I've some time to spare so I have invested in shares. I make close to 2000 yuan (200 euros) per month but I have to watch the markets closely.

My dream: to earn 8,000 yuan (833 euros) per month and find a girl to marry. I'm 27 years old and without a girlfriend. Young Chinese are often under pressure to get married. In Beijing, the girls are quite demanding. They want a man with money, a good position, a big car and a mansion and I have none of those."