'Scrub the loo': Media specialist in China forced to clean toilet on first day of new job

Sunday, Nov 06, 2022

A woman in China who quit her job as a new media specialist after being forced to clean the bathroom on her first day has become an internet sensation on mainland social media after sharing her experience.

The woman, surnamed Chen, from Shenzhen, was shocked by what she described as a toxic working culture at her former employer where she worked for two days. On her first day, she was ordered to clean the bathroom with her colleagues for a week, Bailu Video reported.

Chen joined the company in October as part of a new media operation. As a new hire Chen said she wanted to get started as soon as possible in her new role.

However, she was shocked when a company vice-president and other colleagues told her team to clean the bathroom for the next week. Despite being confused and reluctant to do so, Chen followed the order.

“I didn’t know why they did that as it was beyond my scope of duties, so the next day I resigned,” Chen said.

Chen hoped her resignation would end the unfair practices at her former employer, however, she was verbally abused by human resources staff when she asked for her salary.

A screenshot Chen included in an online video about her former workplace showed the HR staffer making personal attacks.

“You were so spoiled and precious, how could you work?” The HR staffer wrote.

Chen asked in reply: “Did my contract stipulate that cleaning was a part of my job?

The HR person retorted: “Except cleaning the bathroom, you really didn’t create any value.”

Chen added: “I curated a story for the company’s social media account and cleaned the bathroom, right?

The HR staffer claimed that the published story was not up to the company’s standards.

The public backlash against the company online was swift after Chen’s story circulated widely.

One commenter wrote: “Excessive demands! I think the company’s purpose was to test the awareness of servility in its employees.”

Another wrote: “My colleagues and I must take turns cleaning the public area in the office, and I thought it was normal. Now I realise that it is wrong.”

Chinese company employees often find themselves being given ridiculous and unreasonable tasks. In April this year, a company in Wuhan, central China, forced its employees to send screenshots of their phone battery status before finishing work for the day.

In 2019, an e-commerce giant asked its staff to provide the company with their social networks, such as information about their family, friends and even classmates.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.