I just a learned a new word today- karoshi. It is a Japanese term means “death from overwork”. From the article “Job for Life” in The Economist, there are an increasing number of lawsuits of karoshi filed to the government. In Japan, “If a death is judged karoshi, surviving family members may receive compensation of around $20,000 a year from the government and sometimes up to $1m from the company in damages.”

According to the article, 1 in 3 men works over 60 hours a week and receive no overtime paid.

Official figures say that the Japanese work about 1,780 hours a year, slightly
less than Americans (1,800 hours a year), though more than Germans (1,440). But
the statistics are misleading because they do not count “free overtime”. Other
tallies show that one in three men aged 30 to 40 works over 60 hours a week.
Half say they get no overtime. Factory workers arrive early and stay late,
without pay. Training at weekends may be uncompensated.

This reminds me of a conversation with a friend earlier. We were talking about career, jobs and work-life balance, etc.

Me: Since we are crunching numbers and working on Excel every day, we might as well crunch numbers and work on Excel for bigger bucks! We should try investment banking! Last time I heard, you work in the investment banking field for a few years and then you are all set. Look at the bonus people get!

My friend: True, but who knows if you are still alive after working so many hours in those few years. I don’t think a typical mortality table for healthy white collar employees will apply to you anymore.

(Isn’t it cool that we can apply what we learned in actuarial science in our daily conversation?)

Speaking of work-life balance, it’s Tango night tonight! Ho Ho Ho!


Ray said...

Interesting how the phonetics is so similar to the Chinese equivalent 過勞死 (guò láo sǐ). I wonder if the Japanese use the same characters for karoshi?

I would say dancing tango in the evening is much much more valuable than the pay you get for overtime!

Y said...

I think it's the same characters as in Chinese, according to Wikipedia.

Tango on Friday evenings is fun. I'm loving it! :)

Christen said...

hey you
you never called me back the other night!

as for Karoshi-we actually learned about that in multicultural understanding class with the Japanese PR prof. crazy.

Whatever happened at the gift exchange???