The Cantonese are fond of emphasizing adverbs and adjectives with the word ‘die’ – ‘hungry till you die’, ‘gruesome till you die’, even ‘happy till you die’.


In Japan, they quite literally work till they die.  Overworking is believed to be second leading cause of death after cancer.


Participation after office hours is a given.  Employees are expected to stay voluntarily even if only to mingle for rapport building.


The spotlight is now on carmaker Toyota. 


It’s response to pressure to make employees’ lives more bearable is to ‘more fully compensate workers for such meetings’ – referring to QC meetings that are held after office hours in which workers contribute ideas – up from the current cap at two hours a month.


But Toyota is missing the point.  When it should be addressing the much needed change in work culture, it is bribing its workers into silence instead: “Keep quiet.  Didn’t we pay you for it?”

Compensation with money does not ease work stress.  If anything, it makes workers feel indebted to put in more.




One response to “karoshi

  1. Pingback: karoshi | Politics in America

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