Firm responds to woman’s job-quitting video with parody vids


TAIPEI — A Taiwan digital news animation company has released a parody film in response to a viral YouTube video that showed one of its employees quitting because of what she called poor working conditions.

The video by the employee Marina Shifrin, titled “An Interpretive Dance For My Boss Set To Kanye West’s Gone,” drew over 230,000 hits in less than 24 hours after being uploaded.

In the video, she is seen dancing to the song in an empty office, while subtitles explain that it is 4 a.m. and she is at work.

In the company’s 94-second parody, titled “An Interpretive Dance From Next Media Animation Set To Kanye West’s Gone,” Shifrin’s colleagues and supervisors are seen dancing in the office while the subtitles read, “We’re in the middle of an 8-hour shift and we’re STILL at work.”

“We eat our lunches at our desks because there aren’t restaurants around,” it says. “But hey since we have a rooftop pool and sauna we’ll call it even.”

The film ends with a subtitle that reads, “We want to wish Marina well and let everyone know. we are HIRING.”

Shifrin’s video, which sent the message “I am quitting,” went viral across the world after it was uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 30, attracting 7.7 million hits as of Wednesday.

“For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job. And my boss only cares about quantity and how many views each video gets,” Shifrin says in the video’s subtitles.

In a more serious response published on Gawker, a New York-based web blog that posted Shifrin’s video, her boss rejected the implication that the company is a sweatshop.

“We have 600 employees and I have not one outstanding case in labor tribunal. That is no small feat in Taiwan,” said Mark Simon, who hired Shifrin.

Simon said Marina made US$42,000 per year, working a 40-hour week, 5 days a week. He said he was not trying to “slam” her, but wanted to help some other managers in their early 30s, understand why the young woman they hung out with had just “cashiered” them.

“I don’t think she meant for it to be seen as so harsh, but we are getting some nasty attacks on our managers, who she says she respects,” Simon told Gawker.

Recent surveys in Taiwan have found that the working environment in the country is deteriorating. According to one poll, over 50 percent of office employees work more than 10 hours a day, many ostensibly “of their own accord,” for fear of being fired by unscrupulous bosses.

Other surveys show that 93.7 percent of office workers want a second job because they do not earn enough.