Baidu PR head fired for demeaning staff seeking work-life balance, threatening to ruin careers – Firstpost

The former boss of Baidu’s PR declared in another video that weekends were not to be expected for those in the public relations field, and that employees should keep their phones on and remain on call 24/7
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Qu Jing, the former vice president and head of communications at Baidu, one of China’s leading tech giants often likened to Google, has found herself at the centre of a major controversy because of some videos she posted on Douyin, China’s equivalent of TikTok,

In these videos which sparked a major outrage, Qu was seen unabashedly championing toxic work places and toxic office cultures. Here videos where flavoured with an uncharacteristic lack of consideration for employees’ personal lives.

In one particularly contentious clip, Qu berated an employee who hesitated to embark on a 50-day business trip amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, disregarding the individual’s concerns about health risks and family obligations.

“Why should I take my employee’s family into consideration? I’m not her mother-in-law,” Qu retorted, displaying a startling lack of empathy. Her dismissive attitude toward work-life balance extended to her own experiences as a working mother, where she proudly admitted to neglecting significant family milestones, such as her son’s birthday, in the pursuit of her career aspirations.

Further exacerbating the public outcry, Qu declared in another video that weekends were not to be expected for those in the public relations field and that employees should keep their phones on and remain on call 24/7.

She even issued threats of retaliation against those who dared to voice grievances, warning that they would find themselves unemployable in the industry.

Qu’s remarks drew widespread criticism, especially from young professionals already grappling with the pervasive “996 work culture” in China’s tech sector — a term coined by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, which refers to the expectation of working from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM, six days a week. Ma, was in support of such a culture and had said people were blessed to have the opportunity to work this hard.

Social media platforms were flooded with criticisms of Qu’s insensitivity and lack of professionalism, with many expressing disbelief that such attitudes persisted at the highest levels of corporate leadership.

In the wake of the public backlash, Qu issued an apology, conceding that her videos did not align with Baidu’s values and expressing regret for any misunderstanding they may have caused.

However, the damage was irreversible, and reports soon emerged that she was let go from the company.

The fallout from Qu’s scandal reignited long-standing conversations about work-life balance and the toll of relentless corporate expectations on employees’ mental and physical well-being. As companies across China grapple with these issues, Qu’s downfall serves as a stark reminder of the importance of fostering a healthy and supportive workplace culture that prioritizes the needs and welfare of its employees.

Originally Appeared Here

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer