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    Logout Log: The Insider Tracking Resignations in China’s Big Tech

    Wang Jian catalogs social media posts of individuals who quit their tech jobs to escape the corporate grind. Over the last month, his blog has surged in popularity among those disillusioned by high-pressure careers.

    What if you quit your tech job tomorrow — or, worse yet, got fired? For months, such questions plagued 32-year-old Wang Jian, a tech worker at a top Chinese tech firm, where relentless pressure often leaves him anxious and overwhelmed.

    His online search led him to resignation bloggers — a community of ex-tech employees who had quit their corporate roles, offering a window into life after the grind and inspiring others to reconsider their paths.

    But merely reading scattered posts wasn’t enough. Determined to understand the phenomenon deeper, Wang began systematically cataloging these exit stories. And on May 30, launched a new blog detailing his plan to track 100 tech employees who’d quit.

    Overnight, the post drew 80,000 views and earned Wang 1,000 new followers on the lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu. Encouraged by this response, he diligently updated his observations daily, detailing each blogger’s age, post count, reasons for leaving their company, career goals, account positions, and his own reflections. His posts often include a link to the blogger’s page, and if a blogger contacts him to remove any personal information, he promptly hides their details.

    Over the past month, he has gained an additional 8,000 followers.

    “You may not be able to provide specific answers, but you need to help people in their search for answers,” Wang tells Sixth tone, referring to the popular anthropologist Xiang Biao, whose analysis of workplace trends like involution have earned him a cult following among white-collar Chinese. “My blog seems to achieve this effect.”

    In recent months, an increasing number of tech employees who have resigned and shared experiences and details of their lives after the corporate world has surged on Chinese social media. On Xiaohongshu, views of the topic “I have resigned” soared from 250 million to 380 million since January, while the number of related posts jumped from about 35,000 to 56,000.

    Mentions of terms like “company” and “dachang,” shorthand for major internet companies, are frequent in these posts. Domestic media reports indicate that names of renowned firms such as ByteDance, Alibaba, and Tencent also appear repeatedly.

    Amid frequent reorganizations and downsizing in big tech companies, burnout and anxiety run high. Posts about quitting resonate deeply, with bloggers from top firms drawing in more viewers curious about life after tech.

    Breaking free

    On Chinese social media, bloggers begin most resignation posts with a dramatic announcement such as, “I quit the dachang in my 30s to reset my life,” accompanied by a photo of their work ID on their desk. Such posts often can garner millions of views and thousands of likes.

    The announcement is just the beginning. Bloggers then go on to share their past struggles at work, offer interview tips, document the start of a new career, and recount their adventures exploring the world in a bid to keep the audience engaged and coming back for more.

    On his blog, Wang selects and organizes such posts from over 20 resignation bloggers. “Many are from ByteDance, and nearly half were impacted by restructuring,” he tells Sixth Tone, adding that he personally follows more than 700 bloggers who have quit big tech. They range from probationary employees in their 20s to senior employees in their 30s with children, and from those with only 200 followers to those with 35,000.

    His daily updates feature bloggers with unique backgrounds, such as graduates from elite universities, frequent job hoppers among tech giants, and new-generation factory owners. The paths they choose for their futures vary widely, including pursuing further studies, traveling the world, and becoming musicians.

    His most liked post documented a 26-year-old former ByteDance employee who has 28,000 followers. She left because she “couldn’t stand the meaningless rat race and thousands-of-words daily reports,” summarizes Wang.

    She also offered sincere advice to young Chinese, encouraging them to choose jobs aligned with their strengths and experiences, instead of hastily opting for large companies.

    After reviewing all her 260 posts since 2021, Wang detailed her internship and work experiences, as well as her account management roles. He also recommended three early internship-seeking posts to university students.

    “I suddenly feel that the significance of (Wang’s) account is not just to analyze resignations from an operational perspective, but to record it for ordinary people trying to live a hard life,” reads one comment.

    Balancing his own job at a major internet company, Wang can only update his content after work. Every night, he spends two to four hours selecting suitable bloggers from thousands of accounts and documenting his observations.

    “Sometimes, around 2 or 3 a.m., I’m so sleepy that my phone falls to the ground. But I think, no, there are thousands of people waiting and watching,” he says.

    According to Wang, he ensures that “fake bloggers,” who post advertisements or cover a wide variety of topics like news, sports, and medicine, are filtered out. Those with too few posts or those who only share trivial content are eliminated too.

    His standard for choosing bloggers to observe is that their content must offer something valuable, whether emotionally or practically. “For example, a blogger who travels everywhere can provide two types of value: emotionally, they make us happy as we explore the world with them, and practically, they share travel tips we might use in the future,” he explains.

    He believes that his followers particularly favor work experiences shared by senior employees who have jumped ship and young workers who reject long-standing practices such as overwork, flattery, and blind competition.

    Working at these tech giants presents a paradox, according to Wang. Quoting a line on marriage from Qian Zhongshu’s iconic novel “Fortress Besieged,” he says, “People outside strive to get in, while those inside are eager to get out.”

    A 2024 report from the recruitment platform Zhilian Zhaopin revealed that 26% of graduating job seekers hope to work in tech or internet companies, up from 25% the previous year, ranking first among all sectors.

    “Many people admire such jobs before they enter, looking forward to learning a lot and working in a flat management system where everyone calls each other ‘classmates,’” he says, referring to a specific corporate culture practice in Alibaba. “But once inside, they might find that it’s not the case. Instead of gaining knowledge, they become just a cog in the machine, a beast of burden.”

    In the tech industry himself Wang also worries about his future after seeing some of his colleagues quit. Having been with the company for three years, he is certain that he won’t stay there forever. “No one can predict the future. The business could be progressing today, and then tomorrow they might tell everyone that we’re unable to continue,” he rues, declining to name his company, citing privacy concerns.

    He believes his observations not only help him, but also those tech employees who may wonder what their futures might look like after quitting. “Everyone might face a career bottleneck or lose their job. This can cause a kind of anxiety. I hope to see how others handle it and whether it can alleviate this anxiety.”

    Despite his sudden popularity, luck isn’t always on Wang’s side. For instance, some of his posts received only a handful of likes, while others were blocked by the platform for no apparent reason.

    He tells Sixth Tone that so far, he hasn’t managed to make money from the account and has no plans to cash in on it. None of his posts have tags, which if applied might have brought him more exposure. “Drawing traffic is not my main purpose,” he says.

    “The only thing I worry about is whether my content can provide value to my viewers. I don’t worry about popularity. If the observations are not helpful to me or to others, I will stop.”

    Editor: Apurva.

    (Header image: VCG)