There was an article floating around the internet this week. It discussed 31-year-old women in Japan that died from what they called “karoshi”. The word translated to something like death from overwork or more likely “work stress”. It is amazing that the Japanese cultural actually has a word for this phenomenon.
This young lady died of congestive heart failure at the ripe old age of 31. Clearly, I am not a doctor, but working some 159 hours of overtime in a month cannot be good for you. This equates to working around 12 hours a day every day of the month. Who knows how long her commute was or what other life obligations she had.
One of the worst things about work-related stress is it never ends. We live in a world today where you connected 24/7. I personally when seven years before I actually turned off my work cell phone on a family vacation. The stress creeps into your everyday life and hangs around even when you are “suppose” to be relaxing.
The Atlantic wrote a great article on work-related stress back in 2015. They site a working paper from Harvard and Stanford Business school that looked at job stress. Instead of me summarizing the article you can read it here. Ultimately the study estimated the work-related stress caused hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health. They estimated that this led to around 120,000 premature deaths annually.
Maybe this young lady already had a heart condition, but working such extensive hours cannot remotely be good for anyone. Ultimately she continued to work those hours because of the cultural influence that said it was her duty. I feel very sorry for this young lady and her family. It was a simple waste and something that could be avoided.
Work is an important part of everyone’s life for a lot of reasons. Work gives you a strong feeling of contributing to the community and is well known to promote self-esteem. Yet work is only part of our life and not your sole purpose for living. I guess the reason I feel like I am racing too early retirement is the desire to shake this constant stress.
As a side note, after I read this article I decided to go see my doctor. It had been a while.
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