1. Let’s start with a short story
It goes like this: there is this girl, whom I would consider a very good friend. She quit her job a while ago and took a few months off.
“Why quit such a good job?” a friend asked her at the beginning of her hiatus. Her income and benefits being considered quite decent by Beijing’s standards, the girl answered simply: “Just want to have a good rest. I have been working too hard.”
Most of her friends were sympathetic because they know that there is always more work so looking after yourself should be the priority. Others, on the other hand, urged the girl to find another job quickly, and their reason was equally simple: “How do you expect to handle the pressure of living in this ‘imperial capital’ of a city by sitting on your butt!”
Smiling, she continued with her break.
She recently came out of her hiatus and took a new job, for which most of her friends sent their congratulations. But, like before, some friends, shortly into the conversation, asked her bluntly: “How much do you make?”
She gave them the figure, which wasn’t low, but was met with a cold comment: “How come it’s so little?”
The girl fell silent.
2. My thoughts
Have you ever had a similar experience?
The story above reminds me of these words: many only care about how high you fly, but not how hard you do it.
Of course, I do not deny that among those who ask about your income are people who truly care for you, but I believe many will be opposed to the unsubtle greeting of “Hi, how much do you make?” without any forewarning, or so much as a concern for whether you have settled into your work or whether you are happy or under any pressure.
I have always rejected such “straightforward” greetings. I still do.
My reason is simple:
I rejected it when I wasn’t making much, because my income was really low, and at that point it was a matter of face.
I still rejected it when I earned a decent living, for by then I had been in a different mind set where I thought there was no end to money-making, and therefore what really mattered were such things as health, love, family, and friends.
But I will not reject genuine hellos.
That’s it. That’s all I have to say.