“打” means “to hit,” “工” is short for “工作,” which means “a job,” and “人” means “a person.” Originally used as a verb in spoken language in Hong Kong, “打工” means “to get employed for a paid job.” In the 1980s, the term became popular in Guangdong and other South China provinces with the arrival of factories opened by Hong Kong bosses, with its meaning delicately changed to “being hired for a temporary labor job that doesn’t require much skill and doesn’t pay well either.” Derivatives like “打工仔” (dǎgōngzǎi, factory boy) and “打工妹” (dǎgōngmèi, factory girl) came into being. An interesting term is “打工皇帝” (dǎgōng huángdì, literally: working emperor), which is used to describe professional managers who are hired by the board to act as CEOs and other top corporate officials, and earn millions in salaries each year. The popular new term “打工人” is neutral and simply means “employee.”
Zuìjìn nǐ de gǔpiào zěnmeyàng？
How are your stocks doing lately?
Diē le bùshǎo。
The prices nosedived quite a bit.
Zhī yǒu yīzhǒng tóuzī shì zhǐzhuàn bùpéi de，nà jiùshì dǎgōng。 Nǔlì ba，dǎgōngrén！
The only “investment” that guarantees profits and not loss is getting employed. Work hard, man!