Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Spring Festival was the most important traditional holiday. Since it was the best time for family gatherings, everyone went back home to see their families. Dai Li also went back home without hesitation.
Last Spring Festival, Li was on duty in the Sport University, and had also helped Feifei Yu lose weight. He had not had the chance to go back home. This year he returned home to see his family and friends.
It was hard to get a train ticket before the Spring Festival. Luckily, as an eastern port city, Qingcheng was always the starting station. Li easily got his ticket back to Yuzhou City.
Li’s parents were ordinary workers with average salaries, and were quite satisfied with Li’s current job. Even though Li had little chance of becoming rich, being a coach for the Provincial Sport Team was a formal job. They didn’t need to worry about Li’s future anymore.
For parents,the only hope was that their children could live a healthy and happy life.
Li’s entire family was sitting around the table enjoying dinner.
"Try this chicken stew! Your father bought this big rooster early this morning just for you! It was cooked for three hours, must taste good!"
"Have some mutton. We bought it when it was fresh!"
Li’s mom was busy picking food out for her son. She put almost everything edible into Li’s bowl. Li’s father asked Li about his job, and told him to work hard. Later Li’s parents began to talk to Li about finding a girlfriend, and even began to count how much of a down payment the family should pay to buy a house in Qingcheng City.
Li could do nothing but sit in silence and smile. Qingcheng was a well-developed city among second tier cities, where the average housing rate was over 25,000 yuan per square meter. The down payment for an apartment in Qingcheng was good enough for them to buy a nice house in Yuzhou City. The family could never afford such a large amount of money.
Wishing others a happy new year was a custom. Li’s relatives and friends all heard that Li had gotten a good job in the capital city. They were curious, and asked Li for more details.
Li showed off his group photos with Feifei Yu and Feixiang Lin to them. For people who lived in fourth tier cities like Yuzhou, Feixiang Lin and Feifei Yu were superstars far away from their lives. In those relatives’ eyes, if Li was able to take group pictures with those celebrities, he definitely had a great job.
After the Spring Festival, Li had a gathering with his schoolmates. Because everyone was newly graduated and had their first job, they didn’t bother asking about them. Most of the time they just talked about the old days. But after several years, when they lived in different ways, the gathering may not be as happy and pure as what they were having right then.
Li was enjoying the Spring Holiday at home while coach Guangyi Ma, the vice coach of the weightlifting team, knocked on Director Liu’s front door. Director Liu was the director of personnel section of the Provincial Sport Department. Coach Ma came to visit Director Liu with two bottles of Maotai liquor and two cartons of Zhonghua cigarettes.
"Ma, we have been friends for years, you don’t need to bring gifts," Director Liu saidas he prepared tea for Ma.
"It’s Spring Festival, how can I visit you without new year’s presents?" Coach Ma received the tea cup with both of his hands, then began chatting with Director Liu.
After a long time, when coach Ma felt it was the right time to bring up his request, he asked, "Director Liu, do you have any idea about when you will submit our team’s new year recruitment plan to Preserve Hall?"
The Preserve Hall was the Hanbei Human Resources and Social Security Hall, for provincial governmental institutions like the Provincial Sport Department. If they wanted to recruit formal workers, they had to submit plans with detailed information, including department, position, how many new workers they wanted, etc. As for special recruitment, they also needed Preserve Hall’s final permission.
Director Liu gave a thoughtful glance to coach Ma. He knew Ma had come with some purpose or request since Ma had visited him during the new year holiday with big gifts. Director Liu smiled. "According to past schedules, we submit plans at the end of February. But you know, usually only half of the total amount of workers can be approved. Do you have any plans?"
"Haha, it is nothing big," smiled coach Ma. "My nephew, who was an athlete, retired last year, but he is still looking for a job. I was wondering whether there would be any chance for him to apply for a coaching position for our sports team. That is why I’m here, looking for more information about this year’s recruitment plan, to see what positions want new coaches. I can tell my nephew to prepare for the recruitment test."
"Well we do need new coaches, but we haven’t decided how many we actually need." Director Liu had a sip of tea, then continued, "Coach is a special recruitment, so we employ coaches separately. Especially for special coaches, since they have to train specific programs, they have to be admitted by chief coaches of the training teams first. What was you nephew’s major?"
"He was a weightlifter," said Ma. "He once trained with our provincial team, but didn’t have an outstanding performance, so he returned to the city team."
The city weightlifting team mainly trained teenagers, and the athletes were quite young. The team’s main job was to offer high-flyers to the provincial team. For those ordinary athletes without any special talents or skills, they usually retired early.
It was a common phenomenon that the higher rank the athletes, the more competitive. There could only be one person who reached the top successfully. If an athlete didn’t have any particular talent, it would be better for him to retire early and find another way out. Thinking about this, Director Liu asked, "Is your nephew young?"
"He will be 26 after the new year," said coach Ma.
"A weightlifter. Then your weightlifting team would be the best place for him!" Suddenly Director Liu seemed to recall something important. He said with helplessness, "Sorry Ma, but I may not be able to help you. Your team has recruited a new coach already. Li something. The general director signed the approval himself. That means this year, or the next three years, you won’t have any opportunity to employ someone else."
Coach Ma sighed. He knew that Director Liu was telling the truth. Li had taken his nephew’s place. Ma then said in a euphemistic way, "That’s why I’m here. I’m asking if you have any ideas that can help me."
Director Liu lowered his head, brainstorming. After a while, a good idea came to him.
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