The Ugly Truth About Working Overtime

I was watching a Netflix documentary called “Happy”. This documentary discussed about what it means to be happy (of course) and how people around the world find happiness. Through all the ways people find happiness in various countries, there was also unhappiness to be found. The country that was considered the most unhappy is Japan. The unhappiness in Japan is a result of something called Karoshi and the work force is fiercely suffering from it. So what’s Karoshi you might ask? Put simply, Karoshi means working yourself to death. It’s actually an epidemic that shockingly many suffer from.  It’s hard to image the extreme stress and ridiculous amounts of overtime that could cause something like this to happen.

It seems as though there is no work life balance there. People suddenly die from overworking. Many of people dying from this each year. It’s the norm in Japan to be “on the grind” and working 12 hour plus days. The deaths are caused from fatal heart attacks, strokes, or suicide. They overwork out of fear of getting a bad work evaluation.

Working overtime has significant negative impacts on the family too. Men, especially, who work overtime tend to think about their family less and may take on less of a role within the family.

It’s easy to look at Japan and think that they have it bad. But it’s a reflection of us here in the North America too. We have adopted the same working culture, where being on the grind, working consistently late hours to keep up with demands, and decideding to “sleep when we’re dead” seems to be praised looked up to and admired for being a hard, committed, and motivated worker.  If only we had the same commitment and determination for our health and wellbeing our society would be a different place.

So what does that mean for us? Why is this important? Of course you don’t want kill yourself from overworking but it’s important to be aware of when we are pushing our bodies and our brains beyond it limits and not giving our physical selves the rest that is required so we can perform our best on our jobs. We treat our jobs and positions better than we treat our bodies. If something happens to you, you can easily be replaced at your job. If you want to be the go getter, the person that needs to get everything done on your job, don’t push yourself till burn out. Working in that state is ineffective, unproductive and it’s difficult to put your best foot forward when all your body and brain want to do is shut down.

In order to contribute your best give yourself some well needed R&R so you recuperate, de-stress and unwind for work life. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for the sake of your job/career. Do you really want to lose your life for the sake of your job? Do you really want to work yourself to death? Sounds bizarre but it can really happen and it’s happening in today’s world. So think about how you can make changes to chaotic work schedule or person schedule so you can fit in time to have a little R&R.

P.S.  Any questions you have about finding balance, I’ll be answering them honestly in upcoming posts.  Comment below with your questions.

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