In the civil service examination circle, candidates are eventually admitted as "going ashore". In June of this year, 100 people signed up to participate in a public examination training course in Jinan, with the goal of being admitted to Shandong Province as civil servants. According to the usual admission ratio, only two or three of them will eventually "go ashore".
According to statistics, in 2020, Shandong Province recruited 7,360 people, and the final number of people who passed the examination was about 410,000. The average competition ratio was about 56:1.
The classroom for the training class is a conference room in a hotel in Zhangqiu, Jinan. There are no windows here, and the time is almost evenly divided into 6 blocks from 9 am to 9 pm, each of which contains a 90-minute course. This is the first 30-day training course organized by Chalk Education in Shandong after the epidemic, including board and lodging.
The value of scores in selection is not absolute. The number of recruits for civil servants is limited, and the test conditions vary from place to place. Some people "go ashore" after 120 points in the test, and some people still fail the exam after 180 points. No one can be 100% confident that he will pass the exam.
When asked "Why do you want to take a civil service exam?", most people in the training class answered: "My parents want me to take the exam."
The hopes carried by this classroom far exceed 100. The civil service examination is a family affair. There are many parents who accompany the examination outside the examination room of every public examination. Some of them will return home to worship their ancestors and pray for God and Buddha for their children.
At the end of the training, there were only a dozen days before the written test of Shandong Province on July 19. Before "going ashore", they have to go through a final dive. Coffee, pills, and snacks were placed on the classroom table. Someone wrote "Golden List Title" on a used coffee stirrer and put it in a paper cup-that was their "underwater oxygen".
At the hottest time of the year, the air conditioners in the classrooms were always broken. Every few days someone stood on the desk and repaired the central air conditioner on the ceiling. The hotel owner is shrewd and unwilling to spend money on a new air conditioner, saying that there are too many people and it is useless to change it.
Sitting in the back row of the classroom, Wang Chen spread his legs and kept shaking the fan. On the front of the fan are the heads of Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and the back is the heads of the top ten marshals. A few days ago, he deliberately picked this fan at the canteen downstairs.
Only after 11 o'clock in the evening, there are fewer people, the house slowly cools down. For this exam, Wang Chen took a long vacation with the unit, and wanted to "strive for breath." He is 29 years old and his hometown is in a prefecture-level city in Shandong. He has been working within the system for 7 years. For some reason, he is the last employee in the current institution. If he does not take the civil service examination, he will lose his promotion space.
After graduating from university, Wang Chen wanted to be a lawyer, but his parents disagreed. In their perception, "only civil servants and teachers are serious jobs." Most students in the class have similar experiences. Some people say that parents will not let themselves find other jobs, because "you will regret it if you find it." Others say that parents let themselves go back to their hometown so that they can take care of each other. For those children who have gone abroad, parents feel that "it is just like losing."
When the classmates sign up, one of the most sought-after positions is the prison guard, because they can shift work, take three and two off, and have many holidays. Due to the epidemic, more and more people desire "stability". Some of the class graduated and couldn't find a job, some were fired, and some of the company they were working in suddenly closed down. There are countless reasons for civil service examinations. Some people want to "serve the people", while others think that this is just a job that can bring a stable income and livelihood.
The students range in age from their early 20s to their 30s, but they are all "children" in the eyes of their parents. "Filial piety is the first thing." Wang Chen said slowly. He is an obedient child. Even his marriage was hurriedly completed under the expectations and urging of the parents of the two families.
On the wall of his parents' home, there is a calligraphy and painting that says "home". Some classmates hung family portraits at homes, and some posted "Hundred Filial Pieties". Seven years ago, Wang Chen walked out of the career preparation exam site and compared his parents who were waiting outside. He thinks that was the happiest moment of his parents' life, "They may be thinking that the son of more than 20 years has not been raised for nothing."
In the hotel room where the training course is located, there are many unfinished dreams hidden. Some have yoga mats next to their beds, some have cameras on the table, and some have guitars in the corners. But in the eyes of parents, yoga instructors, video bloggers or singers are not as decent and stable as being a civil servant.
Shandong branch is the local branch with the largest scale of chalk education, and it is also the first stop for chalk education to expand off-line this year. At the Beijing headquarters of Chalk Education, CEO Zhang Xiaolong chose Jinan for his first business trip since the epidemic on the advice of several executives. He once spoke in the Analects of Confucius in a public class, saying that Confucius was "a training class for civil servants."
Some insiders said that many public examination training institutions started in Shandong, and some sales calls were made directly to candidates’ parents, and TV commercials tended to be broadcast on local TV stations because many of the audiences of these TV stations are parents of candidates. .
Some fresh graduates are embarrassed to go home after graduation. Some training institutions have opened training courses for six months or even one year. The conditions are simple and the fees are cheap, so that students have a place to study. More importantly, let them have a place to eat and sleep without going home to face pressure from their parents.
Wang Chen wants to grow up quickly. He was taken by his parents to participate in the wine bureau since he was a child. Each seat has its own status and function: the person who is facing the door is the host, the core person at the wine table. When he was a child, Wang Chen usually sat in an unimportant position, and was often arranged for pouring water and toasting. At that moment, he thought to himself, when he could sit in the seat of the master and lead a wine game, he would grow up.
In order to let his parents stop worrying about, this time Wang Chen "has tried his best to pass the exam." After class ends at 9 o'clock every night, he likes to go to the roadside to drink and eat barbecue to relieve stress. After a few months, the shirts of the past were almost out of buttons. After eating supper, he will return to the classroom and continue to study until after midnight.
Figure | Training class. Photo by Shao Zhen
Yu Zhihui's seat is in front of Wang Chen. She has just graduated from a second school in Shandong this year and has experienced failures in the postgraduate entrance examination and the national civil service examination. She regards this Shandong civil service provincial examination as one of her few job opportunities.
She borrowed money from her family to apply for this training class. Her parents disagree with her going to work in other places: "A girl, what do you do for running so far." She was told from a young age that civil servants or teachers are "the most suitable job for girls", with stable income, respected, and most importantly, Have time to take care of the family.
Yu Zhihui knew early on that girls are different. The mother was tested as a girl when she was pregnant. Grandparents didn't believe it. They sighed until she was born. When eating, adults ask children to eat more, and someone will tell her not to eat too much, because "girls don't look good when they are fat."
Yu Zhihui's round face, glasses, and short hair that reaches his chin were cut just before attending the training class. She felt the cut was ugly, and she cried secretly in the bed several times. The ex-boyfriend often said that she was "short and fat". He showed Yu Zhihui's picture to his mother, and the evaluation was "dark skin and small eyes". Once she was secretly photographed on a train, and the photo was sent to the "real secret photograph group" by the other party. She was very scared. The ex-boyfriend found out, and said, "There are still people like you taking photos." When she was in elementary school, the teacher asked her to answer questions. She unconsciously wrapped her hands around her hair. The teacher said to the class, "Look at her, it's so pretty."
After the breakup, Yu Zhihui’s ex-boyfriend soon had a new girlfriend, his colleague in the hospital, taller and thinner than her. Yu Zhihui decided to lose weight. She started running every night, measuring her waist and legs before going to bed. She felt that the breakup was her fault because she was not good-looking enough and she didn't have a decent job.
Makeup will make Yu Zhihui feel more confident. High school classmates signed up for the public examination training class with her and lived in a room. The two girls will put on their makeup before class, exchange newly bought lipsticks, and share which brand of eye shadow is cheap and easy to use. They complained that the distance between the desks was too small, they had to step over the chairs to sit down, and they could not wear nice short skirts. My classmate wants to be a beauty blogger, and I have accumulated 80 lipsticks at home, but my parents disagree and feel "unstable".
At home, the kitchen is the mother's territory. She asked Yu Zhihui to learn how to cook and clean up the room, saying that girls must know how to do this, otherwise they would be "killed by the mother-in-law" after getting married. My father almost didn't care about housework, and the female elders beside him said, "What can he do as a man?" My mother would pinch my father to make a meal after get off work, although my father would take a shower and play with his cell phone when he came back. When he was sitting at the table, the meal was already cold. Yu Zhihui feels that this does not respect his mother's labor. Sometimes she quarreled with her father, and her mother said that she "was in college for nothing, so talk to your dad like this". She turned around and quarreled with her mother, saying that her father did not help the family with work, and that it was the mother's "deserved".
Yu Zhihui’s mother could not afford to go to school when she was young, and she went to work in a clothing factory early. The mother's brother went to college and became a doctor. When she was in her 40s, her mother gave birth to another boy, and finally made up for her regrets and helped the family complete the family succession. The younger brother is 5 years old this year, and everyone in the family feels that Yu Zhihui should find a job close to home so that he can take care of his younger brother.
"Girls don't take work too importantly. You still have to marry a good family. Don't be too hard." Mother said as she kneaded the minced meat into meatballs and put them in the pot one by one.
The younger brother said that he wanted to be a cook in the future because he "want to help mother". The mother listened and slapped her son a few times. "How hard a chef is to cook for others. You have to be an official in the future and let others cook for you, do you know?" She hugged her son and said.
For insurance, Yu Zhihui signed up for a total of 3 exams, all of them within the system. She felt that all the past was pushing herself in the same direction. When preparing for an exam, she would pull the rubber band on her wrist and get a red mark on her forearm.
There are two students in the class who have applied for the same position, but only one person is recruited. The one with the lower grades will suddenly cry when doing the questions. The classroom is on the 3rd floor. There is a small door leading to the outdoor stairs next to it. It was originally sealed for safety. After the class started, the seal was quickly torn off by the students who wanted to breathe. They leaned on the stair railing in twos and threes, with cigarette butts on the ground.
This may be the last time Yu Zhihui signed up for the public exam training class. The tuition fee of nearly 7,000 yuan is not a small amount for her. Since childhood, the first thing her father did when she came home from get off work was to remind her to turn off the lights when she was not used. She would buy snacks for her ex-boyfriend, but she was reluctant to buy it for herself. Sometimes she was so angry that she would kick her legs on the bed because she missed the discounted price of a few packs of melon seeds. In high school, she saved 10,000 yuan, and when her parents took it away, she told her that they didn't ask her for rent when she was in her mother's stomach. Once, the aunt told her to "live", meaning to be frugal. Suddenly she felt wronged and said loudly: "How do you know that I'm not good enough!"
Wang Chen told the female classmates around him that if they were admitted, they would "find a better match" and "will be torn apart as if they were robbed." His wife also works within the system and is in a higher rank than him. When he first got married, he worked in the county and his wife was in the city. His father-in-law felt that he was not as good as his daughter. Later he tried hard to get back to the city. This time, he thought that if he was admitted to a civil servant, his father-in-law and his mother-in-law would have to take a high look at him.
Wang Chen's roommate in the training class always calls him "leader" because they work in the same place, the roommate is in the county, and Wang Chen is in the city. During the interview, the roommate kept refusing to say that he did not want to steal the limelight from the “leadership”.
In his hometown, Wang Chen's work and life are concentrated around the newly built municipal government building. This is the area with the best urban environment, and the overall layout is reminiscent of the Forbidden City. The hillside behind the building is a new base. In the local area, good Feng Shui must have a "backing". Every working day morning, Wang Chen carried a briefcase, stepped onto the 17 steps, and entered the building that looked like "yellow" from the front-because when the building was built, the city leader was named Huang. According to public information, the leader surnamed Huang was investigated for corruption and bribery in 2011 and was removed from his post.
Wang Chen knows what a job within the system can bring to him in the environment of his hometown. Both of his parents were admitted from the countryside to the city, and worked in the system in the 1980s and 1990s. The family house was changed from one-story house to unit dormitory, and then to a commercial house of more than 100 square meters. The furniture is carved from mahogany, and there is a closed fish tank more than one meter long in the living room.
Throughout Wang Chen's childhood, in order to study in the city, his parents' brothers and sisters would live in his house one after another and squeeze into a bed with him. He knew from a very young age that his parents were the ones who contributed the most to the whole family and the highest status. He felt that in a family, whoever pays more should be listened to, "This is a natural thing."
Wang Chen's child is two years old this year. His parents had already helped him buy a house in his hometown, right next to the community where he lived. He and his wife are busy at work and don't have time to cook, so they take their children to their parents' house every day. In the local area, Wang Chen is a typical example of a successful career and a happy family. He is a son, husband, and father who cannot be faulted by outsiders.
He felt that "every decision needs to sacrifice a lot of other things." Some of the college classmates became lawyers. Wang Chen was envious. He felt that the other party was always improving himself, and he only gained weight. Writing materials in the office every day makes him feel bored, "Those words come and go."
In the public examination interview training class, Wang Chen learned a lot of "rules": During the interview, you should sit on the front third of the chair with your hands flat. You can’t dye your hair, get tattoos, or wear accessories. It’s best not to talk about your experience abroad. It cannot be said that humans cannot control artificial intelligence and cannot have “incorrect values”. Can't laugh. The interview is the last hurdle of the civil service examination.
The night before a career preparation exam, Yu Zhizhi suddenly decided not to go. She felt that she could not pass the exam and did not want to take the job. She told her parents about the decision and was beaten by her mother a few times. But she "just didn't want to go."
She didn't know what she wanted to do. When applying for the college entrance examination, her parents reported all her volunteers as education or teacher training, but she was eventually transferred to the network and new media major. She feels that she has hardly learned anything during the four years of university life and it is difficult to have alternative employment opportunities. After graduation, in addition to working within the system, many students in the class went to work as content reviewers for Internet companies.
Almost all the friends around have entered the system to work. Sometimes when guests come to Wisdom’s house, the adults sit together and educate her, as if this is a race, and she is the last one to cross the finish line. The friend who was admitted was also anxious for her and asked her out specially to "wake her up". Aunt wanted to introduce her to the people around her who were preparing for the exam to exchange experiences. She hid in the toilet until her aunt left. Once, Yu Zhihui and her father were having a meal at aunt's house, and she irritably said to her aunt, "You want to take the exam by yourself". The father was so angry that he didn't finish the meal, so he took her home.
The adults thought she was "disobedient". Father sometimes smoked on the wicker chair in the yard, and Yu Zhihui watched TV on the sofa in the living room. The two often sat back to back behind a wall and did not speak. Yu Zhihui hates her father smoking at home, but every time she says it, the response she gets is "how can I talk to an adult like this". She didn't understand: "Is there nothing wrong with adults?"
His mother hoped that Yu Zhihui would dress "like a girl" and let her wear a skirt that exceeded the knee, a tighter top and high heels. I also need to learn to sing and dance. If the unit has the opportunity to show off their talents, the leaders will also need it. But she prefers to wear a wide T-shirt and wide-leg pants. Sometimes when she finishes putting on her makeup and going out, her father will say to her mother, "You see she behaves like a ghost." She secretly transforms it while her father is not at home.
My mother only went to elementary school, and she read books about dream interpretation and fortune-telling the most. There is a small house dedicated to the worship of "all gods". Yu Zhihui laughed at his mother's "feudal superstition".
But Yu Zhihui "begs God when he is afraid of things." She would never cut her nails before going out, nor did she wash her hair the night before the exam because she heard that she "washed out knowledge." Grandma told her that she had a nightmare and she wanted to speak to the Western Wall. The Western Wall at home heard her many nightmares.
My father thought the price of beans and meat was expensive. She said, "Is it interesting for a big man to care about these?" She didn't like her mother using her slippers and towels when helping her brother in the bath. But she will tell her family seriously that all the family property will be left to her younger brother. Anyway, if she gets married, she is "a member of another family."
Zhang Xiaolong once said that due to the low admission rate of public examinations, most of the students who signed up were actually unable to pass the examination. He did not want to be admitted to the civil service as the only goal of the course. He feels that the most important thing students learn in training is not skills, but knowledge and study habits. In recent years, he has opened various types of online public courses, lectures on philosophy, Analects, and current affairs. He always said in class that growth is more important than success.
"The system is like a besieged city." Some students in the class said. The desks on both sides of the classroom are directly against the wall, and the student numbers are pasted on the walls. The aisle in the middle of each row of desks can only accommodate one person.
The teachers in the training class have seen many students who have not “goed ashore” after taking the public examination for many years. They feel that civil servants may not be suitable for everyone. If they are not admitted, they can try to find other jobs. A teacher who taught an interview was originally a civil servant, but he "didn't like a fixed life" and wanted to buy a house on his own. The income level within the system could not meet his needs, so he resigned.
Yu Zhihui doesn't think he has other choices. After giving up the exam, she woke up every morning without knowing what to do, so she could only play with her mobile phone until her mother went home to cook. She felt depressed to stay at home, and she didn't know where to go. "Don't dare to take that step." Yu Zhizhi wore his pajamas and collapsed on the sofa. "At least it's good to have a place to live at home and someone cooks."
于志辉认为他别无选择。放弃考试后，她每天早晨醒来却不知道该怎么办，因此只能在妈妈回家做饭之前用手机玩。她感到沮丧，无法待在家里，而且她不知道该去哪里。 “不敢走那一步。”于志志穿着睡衣，倒在沙发上。 “至少有一个可以在家居住并且有人做饭的地方是件好事。”
Yu Zhihui's father, Yu Feng, likes to smoke next to the fish tank in the yard, watching the fish jump around, and can smoke a pack a day. He is an accountant at a local private ore factory, "just keep a running account for the boss, and he can read it clearly." He can get 4,000 yuan a month. This is almost all the source of income for the whole family. His last job was a warehouse clerk in a glass bottle factory. After several months of work, he left without receiving a salary. "It's hard to find a job at this age." Yu Feng flicked the soot on the ground, and his son's toys were scattered beside him.
He learned to smoke at the age of 15. He had just graduated from junior high school that year and entered a state-owned auto parts factory. When entering the factory for exams, most of them are the children of old employees in the factory. Some people can't answer the questions, so they smoke everyone in the exam room, and the examiner does not care. At that time, "everyone loves to go to the enterprise and become a worker." Some state-owned enterprises also have special faucets that will flow out soda at a fixed time every day.
Yu Feng thought the days after that would be as sweet as soda. At the beginning, he worked as a forger in the factory, and only his eyes and teeth were white. The eldest sister was distressed, so she helped him find a relationship and transferred to the quality inspection department. It wasn't until 2001 that Yu Feng's monthly income was over 1,000 when he started to run sales.
Not long after the marriage, the garment factory where the wife worked went bankrupt, and the wife did not even receive the severance pay. Later, she could only help in some private garment factories, paying by piece, earning thirty or forty yuan a day. For many years, the wife who worked in the garment factory did not wear new clothes. She took home the defective products from the factory and put them on the children. Sometimes children want to eat watermelon or durian, and Yu Feng is reluctant to buy it. In the playground, he would tell his son, "Don't play with things that spend money." In the past few years, he would buy lottery tickets every week, always wanting to "the big one", but the reality is that the winnings never exceed 50 yuan. In 2008, Yu Feng and his wife moved from the village to their current house. They bought the house for 197,000 yuan, and 120,000 yuan was borrowed.
Several lights in the house are bare bulbs, the sink is a concrete barrier, the tiles on the bathroom wall are only attached to the top of the head, the ceiling above the toilet is exposed with steel bars, and the kitchen seasonings are stacked on the ground under the stove-here Home, practicality comes first. The ubiquitous "Fu" is one of the few decorations.
A small bungalow in the yard was built by Yu Feng for his brother. The elder brother was born with cerebral palsy, can't walk, can't take a bath by himself, and listens to the radio in a small room all day. Yu Feng's mother and elder brother lived with his family until the birth of his son, and the family could not take care of them. The eldest sister took them over. Yu Feng always felt that his eldest sister and brother-in-law were his benefactors. He never dared to refute their words, "even if it is wrong."
When Yu Zhihui contradicted his aunt, he was particularly angry. "She didn't want to think, without her aunt, how could our family survive." Yu Feng said. Yu Feng doesn't like talking to his daughter. In Yu Feng's memory, his father didn't talk to himself much.
He has calculated it, a family of four needs about 80,000 yuan a year, and the current income is far from enough. In the past few years, the state-owned enterprise where Yu Feng works has been restructured, and its employees have dropped from more than 600 to more than 100. After the restructuring, he never left any personal belongings on his desk for a long time, "there is no psychological sense of belonging." On the wall of the living room, there are several animal prints for my son to read, and the full name of the factory is printed on the tape. This is almost all proof that he has worked for 30 years. Later, the company closed down due to poor management.
Sometimes Yu Summit thought, waiting for a few years to retire and go to Xinjiang and Tibet, but he knew in his heart that "strength is not allowed." "People don't live for themselves, you can't do whatever you want." He smiled, "Let us little people, just think about it."
Yu Feng did not want to let Yu Zhihui go his own way. He hopes that his daughter will find a stable job, so that he and his wife will not face the risk of unemployment at any time. Yu Feng's eldest sister felt that he was ashamed to say these things in front of reporters and scolded him. Yu Feng didn't pay attention. Yu Zhizhi, who had been sitting silently, ran into the room suddenly and cried.
On August 29, 2020, all civil servant examinations in Shandong Province ended, and Wang Chen took the first place in his post. In the future, his monthly salary will increase by 1,700 yuan and will be transferred to a more ideal department.
According to his plan, when he has accumulated enough experience and resources in the system, he will switch to a lawyer, open his own law firm, and live in a larger city.
He has no other requirements for his children, the only one is that he cannot accept the child DINK. He didn't want to be alone in his old age.
Yu Zhihui failed the written test. After the public examination, she often dreamed that she was answering questions. There were so many questions, she couldn't finish writing, and finally woke up in panic.
Later, the aunt helped her find a job as a substitute in elementary school, teaching first-grade Chinese for more than 2,000 yuan a month. If you want to become a full member, you still need to pass an exam. That elementary school was Yu Zhihui's alma mater, and she became colleagues with the female teacher who once said she was "smelly beautiful".
She always felt that she was "not worthy of being a teacher." Like the training class, the elementary school students in the class use a long table for two, and the big blue letters on the wall read "Be an excellent baby". She is not sure how "excellent" she can make these children so that she can have enough courage to choose freedom when facing the future and bear the costs that come with it.
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