December 2022
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TD Magazine

Lying Flat

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Before workers in the US started quiet quitting—that is, doing the bare minimum—young people in China started lying flat. That movement, also known as tang ping, is to reject societal pressures to overwork and came as a response to relentlessly working for little reward, the BBC reports. The BBC also notes that many young Chinese workers feel the pressure to work harder to outdo their peers, so they have decided to no longer do that.

Like for many US employees, the pandemic made young people in China re-evaluate their priorities. According to the Chinese government, the country's workforce is on track to drop by 35 million in the next four years, which puts pressure on the younger generation to work longer hours. Is it worth it to risk burnout without a healthy work-life balance?


Fortune reports that a 2016 social media post about lying flat went viral and garnered thousands of responses about lying flat or quitting jobs altogether. According to Fortune, 19 percent of youths were unemployed in July. That's not only the highest rate ever in China but also double the rate three years ago. Lying flat could ultimately affect China's growth, but it seems like a risk young Chinese workers are willing to take.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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