Tag Archives: karoshi

The Nebulous, Grey Areas of Life

The amount of time we spend working in this country is one of my least favorite things about America.  Every time I see an article like the one I stumbled upon on Yahoo! called “Americans working more, playing less” I get all tight in my stomach.  Then I remember how I don’t have to wear business suits, cardigan sets, or heels to work and I feel a little better.  And it’s not that I’m lazy or don’t enjoy the satisfaction that comes from clocking out after a productive shift, it’s just that I don’t like being miserable.    

It’s tragic, really.  This poll, conducted by Harris Interactive, called up just over 1,000 adults.  So Americans spend a median 46 hours working, studying, or housekeeping per week, 16 hours playing, and “the missing three hours were spent in a ‘nebulous, grey area’ which Americans considered neither working nor playing.”  Nebulous, grey area, eh?  Just what would go under that category?  Doctor’s appointments?  Sex?  I don’t know.

These workaholic American values need to change.  I mean, in Japan, there’s a word for death resulting from overworking: karoshi.  See the Wikipedia entry here.

When I lived by the Financial District and would frequent the same bars as Wall Street guys one of my favorite things to do was ask them if they were happy.  General consensus: a resounding, “No.  Not at all.  But after a couple years of doing this banker thing I’ll have made enough money to be able to do what I really want.” 

Good luck with that.