If you’re stressed and overworked, call yourself “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng)”

The old expectations of a “9-to-5” work day are often being destroyed in many countries where cost of living and competition are rising rapidly. For office workers, “9-to-6” is more common and for many overachievers, “burning the midnight oil” is a common expectation, working long hours into the night and ordering “外卖 (wàimài) take out” and even dozing off in front of the computer.
The typical office worker in China averages 2,000 – 2,200 working hours a year, which puts the country in the Top 10 for hours worked, often working half or full-days on Saturdays as well! With extra pressure in high school and college in preparation for this working life, many Chinese are feeling overworked. With the growing addiction to work, the Chinese now frequently refer to themselves as “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng),” or as it’s said in English “workaholic.”
Let’s break it down:
工作 (gōngzuò): means work.
狂 (kuáng): means mad, or crazy. It is a very common word in China.
We can add “狂 (kuáng)” after certain words to express a type of person. “购物狂 (gòuwùkuáng)” means “shopaholic” and “自恋狂 (zìliànkuáng)” means “narcissist,” for example.


Tā shì yí gè gōngzuòkuáng.
他  是 一 个    工作狂。
He is a workaholic.

Wǒ bùxiǎng chéngwéi gōngzuòkuáng.
我     不想      成为          工作狂。
I do not want to be a workaholic.

So, how do you know if you are a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic?” Here are some“warning signs” that you are a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic”:
1. 拼命 (pīnmìng): Verb. To do something desperately / To risk one’s life / To exert the utmost strength / With all one’s might. Are you constantly going “above and beyond?” You might be a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic!”
2. 快节奏的生活 (kuài jiézòu de shēnghuó): means “life in the fast lane.” Do you feel you are constantly driving with the “pedal to the metal?” You might be a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic!”
3. 压力大 (yālì dà): It is a high-pressured feeling. Constantly feel like you’re “in the fire?” You might be a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic!”

HSK 3 quiz

1. In Chinese, we always use the word “狂 (kuáng)” to describe a person who is _____.
A. crazy about something
B. satisfied with something
C. confident about something
D. afraid of something
2. Which is not one of the characteristics of a “工作狂 (gōngzuòkuáng) workaholic?”
A. Burning the midnight oil
B. Living a fast-paced life
C. Always company their families or friends
D. Always put the work in the first place

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