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This Is What It's Like To Work In An iPhone Factory

A grad student from NYU went undercover.
PHOTO: istockphoto

As much as we want to believe that brands don’t matter, there’s something to be said about people who get to put certain companies’ names on their CVs. But while NYU grad student Deijan Zeng technically gets to include “Apple” on his resume, his work experience for the company was far from glamorous.

You see, Deijan spent six weeks in a Chinese Apple factory as an undercover employee. He apparently worked on 1,800 iPhones, but not as programmer or graphic designer; he put one screw on 1,800 iPhones. And he worked for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

But how exactly did he get the job?


Deijan told Mashable, “I just [showed] up in front of the factories, and I saw a lot of people already carrying their luggage and waiting in line so I just [stepped] in line and wait. And when it [was] my turn, they [asked] for my IDs, [asked] me to show my hands, and…to recite [the] English alphabet. But that’s basically the interview process, and then I was in.”

According to Deijan, it wasn’t like how factories are portrayed in the media: “It’s not the traditional sweatshop that we would think about. It’s pretty clean, it’s pretty bright, and they have AC and all this stuff.” Still, Deijan mentioned that he worked on a backless chair, which left him in pain. Additionally, he slept in a dorm with seven other people; in total, there were 200 people in one floor and each floor only had one bathroom.

Deijan hopes that his experience forces people to think about where their things (and their privileges) come from: “We have a lot of stereotypes for workers…like they are uneducated—but a lot of them are very interesting people, and a lot of them are very capable people. It’s important to remember that there are people behind [these] products [who] provide good service to us.”

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