Abstract Background Studies on the health impacts of being locked in a job are primarily conducted in Western countries, with the theory based on the value of individualism. But the socially-oriented concerns should be considered in workers’ locked-in status in Chinese society. So the current study aims at evaluating socially-oriented concerns on workers’ locked-in status in Taiwan. Methods Anonymous surveys were conducted with 1102 workers at high-tech companies in Taiwan from October 2015 to January 2016 to assess their “face” needs-- a sociological concept linked to the dignity, prestige, and reputation that a person has in terms of their social relationships, locked-in status of the job, and burnout. In addition to being separated into three groups by lock-in score, participants were categorized by the conflict of preference of the job between themselves and their family. Chi-square, ANOVA, Pearson correlation, and regression tests were conducted. Results Among the 1102 participants, 18% had jobs that they did not prefer but their family preferred. Participants with higher face needs and higher locked-in status had a significantly higher risk of developing personal and work-related burnout. However, the analysis using “locked-in job conflict of preference between themselves and their family” showed a more coherent result. Participants with a job which “self does not prefer but family do” had twice the risk of having personal and work-related burnout (OR = 2.03 and 2.34, respectively). Participants with a job which neither themselves nor their family prefer had four times the risk of having personal and work-related burnout (OR = 4.10 and 4.17, respectively). Conclusions The current study suggests an importance in considering a socially-oriented job preference in locked-in status evaluations within the Chinese culture. Workers’ whose locked-in status preference conflicted with their family’s preference showed a significantly negative impact on their health.