Monday, December 21, 2015

Let us never translate Karoshi to another language

Karoshi can literally be translated into "Death from overwork". It is a Japanese term and unfortunately something that is commonplace to the point that they coined a term for the phenomenon.

Although I have heard of it happening, I learned of the term from watching the movie Happy. In the film, a woman speaks of how her husband worked nonstop, struggled to have some time with his family and that one day at his factory, there was a situation he needed to report. As he spoke to his supervisor, he collapsed on the spot and his heart stopped beating before they reached the hospital.

Working to the point of exhaustion is something that is uncomfortably common. Work-life balance is a topic that has gained much attention during the last several years and it's for one reason... there is an abundant lack of work life balance.

Some companies are very humane and watch out for their employees but that's not the case always. A lot of places expect the work to get done no matter what it takes and no matter what needs to get sacrificed. In other cases, the balance is thrown out the window because the person doesn't know how to disengage from work and push themselves to the point of exhaustion... or beyond it.

And it's not just one industry, it's something that is happening in way too many places across all departments. To boot, it's not like there's a sense of accomplishment at this and quite often the opposite holds true. People are frustrated and feelings of guilt also invade the scenario because people feel as if they're letting their life slip away. They're distant from their families, their friends barely recognize them and the only compensation is monetary.

The lesson is easy to state: money isn't everything. Professional success isn't everything either. In addition, evidence suggests that acquiring both of those isn't the path to happiness. Data shows that money will make you happy to a certain point and any salary above an X or Y amount is just a means to get more stuff and not more quality from life.

Plenty of people work past the limit of what is healthy... I've been that person on many an occasion too. Fueling these actions are pride, ambition, and worry in different expressions. Maybe some other emotions also have a say into insisting that this is a good option. But it isn't, and deep down and not even that deep down, we know this rings true. That's because success doesn't need a savings account for one simple reason: when it comes to time, the more we spend doing what we love and with whom we love, the richer we become. And that is a definition of success I think most of us can feel more comfortable with.

Peace, love, and maki rolls.

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