Ever heard of 996? Well, it’s a ruthless work schedule that many tech companies in China utilise – 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week.
Developers are fed up and as a result, it has spawned a colossal movement which is growing among software developers across China and the rest of the world. This comes after a user called “996icu” posted a copy of China’s labour laws on Github and named two e-commerce companies that practice the 996-work schedule.
Tech firms in China usually expect their employees to work long hours to prove their devotion to the cause. However, some young Chinese developers are realising that they need to fight for a healthier work-life balance for the sake of their own well-being.
Although developers in China have been questioning the moralities of 996 through regular discussion for some time now, a certain developer called 996icu posted a repo towards the end of March 2019 complaining that working 996 every week could result in people ending up in the “intensive care unit”.
As if a chord hadn’t already been struck in that statement, the user ended off by saying that “developers’ lives matter”, a reference to the activist movement Black Lives Matter and it has since exploded!
For real – It’s gone completely viral across the world
Enter our domain extension, .icu. This particular user started a webpage prior to this called “996.icu”, utilising our domain extension in an inspiring and incredibly smart way. After posting the statement on Github, where do you think traffic was then directed? The repo now has over 238k stars on Github and over 20.5k shares across social media.
It’s as if our domain extension was made specifically for the movement given the play on letters. It’s serendipitous, to say the least, because of what the movement and our domain extension symbolises.
.icu is a domain extension that represents those wanting to do something worthwhile and meaningful in this world and that’s exactly what 996icu has done.
“Serving a company that encourages the 996-work schedule usually means work for at least 60 hours a week,” wrote 996icu on Github and on their separate 996.icu website that was registered on the 18th of March 2019.
“According to the Labour Law, employees who follow the 996-work schedule deserve to be paid 2.275 times of their base salary. Unfortunately, people who work under 996 rarely get paid that much.”
Now, recent studies by AB are showing that “burnout” is the primary cause of 8 per cent of the 101 start-up failures it analysed in China.
On WeChat, China’s dominant social media platform, a developer by the name of Li posted on “Moments” (like “Stories” on Instagram), “Life or money, it’s a question. But you can’t get both at the same time.”
The movement has now been featured on sites such as:
These are just four of the many websites that have covered the “Developers’ Lives Matter” Movement. After the campaign went viral, many people have become extremely vocal about the 996 system which isn’t common in a place that typically suppresses independent thinking.
As a result, Github blocked the campaign.
In response to this though, 30 Microsoft colleagues have written an open letter to their advisors calling for the block to be lifted.
“We have to come together across national boundaries to ensure just working conditions for everyone around the globe,” states the letter.
As of late, Microsoft and Google have experienced mutiny from their American and UK workers with employees even quitting when they haven’t had their way.
This could prove to be detrimental because the campaign is gaining huge momentum which means Microsoft will have to choose between its Chinese operation and its “home employees”. Can you imagine what would happen then?
This is all because one user, 996icu had had enough and decided to call out this archaic, borderline abusive work culture.
We’re super proud that our domain extension is serving such a meaningful purpose and we fully support the “Developers’ Lives Matter” movement.