There might be nothing more enjoyable than throwing yourself into work if it is something you love. Long hours? They pass in a blink of an eye. Heavy workload? You get used to it.
Yet, this is a luxury that millions of Japanese employees don’t enjoy. Their excruciatingly long hours is merely part of the stringent working culture that demands quantity over quality. In fact, working shorter hours may also risk inviting criticism for appearing to leave more committed colleagues in the lurch, according to an interview with Erika Sekiguchi, a 36-year-old trading company employee.
In this less-than-three-minute video , the British Youtuber Stu gave us a glimpse into how his life was like working in a financial services company in Tokyo during the busy season (January – March).
And to be honest, he didn’t really do much beyond eating, sleeping and working. Clocking 78 hours of work a week, Stu worked 13 hours a day on average.
This is way beyond what we would consider normal – even though Stu himself did say that he was comfortable with this lifestyle in another video.
“When I accepted this job offer, I knew perfectly well that there was this busy season.” He shrugged.
However, he also mentioned how there are people in Tokyo who have to do this all year round to support their families. Working long hours, taking few holidays and doing severely underpaid overtime work has become the norm in Japan; and even the government has declared that 20% of its workers are now at risk of karoshi, or death from overwork in 2016.
Fortunately, things are slowly, but surely changing. Yuriko Koike, the new governor of Tokyo has issued orders for employees to leave work at 8 PM and is setting up overtime prevention teams to enforce these orders. Hopefully, we will see a fairer, healthier and more efficient working environment in Japan in the future.
Work to live, don’t live to work.
|||^||The Guardian: Clocking off: Japan calls time on long-hours work culture|
|||^||The Guardian: Japan: one fifth of employees at risk of death from overwork|