The coronavirus outbreak has caused tremendous economic damage globally. Businesses have shut down, never again to re-open, forcing many ordinary people into desperate situations. Some have had to ditch their careers and look for work in sectors which are seeing increased demand during the pandemic.
Deng Mingkai, 21, was a hairdresser for four years. He was supposed to return to work on February 1, after the Chinese New Year holiday. But after COVID-19 hit the country, all he got was a notice of work suspension.
Unsure if he'd ever return to the barbershop, he decided he couldn't sit around waiting and wondering. Hearing about the extra demand for delivery services, he decided to give it a go.
He said those first few days of being a deliveryman were very stressful, as he met many new challenges, such as meeting tight delivery deadlines, and dealing with a lot of outdoors.
"On a rainy day, my clothes and pants were all wet. The entire street was empty except me and a car. I messaged our chief in the rain. Before I said anything, he asked first – you want to quit? Actually, I was about to. But I wanted to prove myself," said Deng. After finishing that order, he delivered another seven orders for the rest of the day.
When he was a hairdresser, Deng wore a suit and tie everyday, and stayed close to the fashion scene. He admitted that he used to spend money lavishly. But since that he can earn only half of the previous job for the first month, he was forced to change his lifestyle. He now eats his meals at a restaurant where extra rice are free. And dinner is always after nine, after he finishes all the peak-time orders.
Deng told CGTN he was recently informed that the barbershop has re-opened. But he decided to stay in the delivery services for a while and to see where his new job can take him. He still keeps all the hairdressing apps in his phone. He said it's a reminder of his skills. But he's also enjoying his new job despite the difficulties. He said he feels like he's contributing more in his new role.