Jimma is a female manager in charge of marketing. Although she leaves the office at 5 pm every day, she cannot enjoy the leisure time after 5 pm. On the way home by car, she had to use her mobile phone to call back one by one; after returning home to finish her meal, when the child was doing her homework, she had to check the mail and return many calls. Similarly, the husband who works in the investment bank is sitting at the computer at home and has to work for several hours before going to bed.
This is the opening chapter of Gil Fraser’s “Suffocating Office, Americans Forced to Work”, which was quoted by Japanese author Takaji Moroka in “The Age of Overwork”. Of course, if you replace Jimma with the Chinese name, readers will not be unfamiliar with this scene.
The Japanese version of “Overworked Times” was published in 2005 and has been reprinted 12 times so far. The Chinese version was first published in January 2019. Author Morioka Koji died of a heart attack in August 2018. In July, he had just finished writing a preface to the Chinese version of the book.
Kanji University economist Takaji Morika is the president of the Japan Overwork Association and a famous scholar who promoted the establishment of laws related to overwork in Japan. He himself died from overwork-he gave a professor to the Capital University of Economics and Trade The emails of Yang Heqing, chairman of the Moderate Labor Research Association, were basically sent at two or three in the middle of the night, and he was still working during the day.
”Why do people who have studied overwork die from overwork? Why do so many people overwork? Why don’t they consider the consequences of overwork? This is also the problem we are exploring.” Yang Heqing said that China’s overwork problem It is already quite serious, and even in some industries, overwork is frequent.
When “Overworked Times” was published in Japan, the younger generation began to use the term “black-hearted enterprise” to refer to their “companies that did not want to work.” Many “black-hearted companies” require employees to work overtime day and night, but overtime pay is either pitifully small or not at all. At the same time, “overwork suicide” caused by long hours of work and work pressure has also become a frequent problem for the younger generation in Japan. Takahashi Jasmine, a 24-year-old new employee who graduated from the University of Tokyo, joined Dentsu, a large advertising company, for only 8 months, making it easy to commit suicide by overwork in December 2015. It was confirmed that Takahashi worked overtime for 105 hours within a month before the symptoms appeared.
Worldwide, Japan is also the country with the most prominent long-term labor problems. According to the survey, compared with men in the UK and the United States, regular Japanese male employees work about 10 hours more per week (more than 500 hours per year), and men in Belgium and France each work about 12 more hours per year (per year More than 600 hours).
The online version of Oxford English Dictionary added more than 10,000 new words in 2002, one of which is “karoshi” (overwork death) from Japanese. It can be seen that overwork death has become a typical symbol of the Japanese lifestyle; or from another perspective, the phenomenon of overwork death is not unique to Japan, but spread to the whole world. In China, it is no exception.
Yang Heqing introduced that overwork can be divided into mild, moderate, and severe. “In some occupations and industries, there are more serious overwork, such as doctors, police, university teachers, media practitioners, and entertainers. , IT R & D personnel, corporate executives, etc. “. The overwork death reported by the media is an extreme state of overwork. Cases in recent years have shown that the youngest is 23 years old, and the older ones are only more than 60 years old.
There are several surveys: In August 2012, Xiaokang magazine and the Tsinghua University Media Survey Laboratory conducted a nationwide survey of the “China Leisure Xiaokang Index”. The results showed that 69.4% of the respondents The problem of overtime work of different degrees. Yang Heqing’s research team surveyed the staff of government agencies, scientific research institutes, hospitals, media, enterprises and other units in 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2015. All the results showed that the weekly work exceeded More than 30% of people work 50 hours, and even nearly 10% work more than 60 hours a week.
”There is no medical and legal judgment standard for overwork death in our country, but objectively there is overwork death. Serious overwork may lead to overwork death, including overwork suicide.” Yang Heqing said, “And From an economic point of view, excessive labor will also have consequences such as shrinking consumption effects due to health damage and declining returns to human capital. ”
Yang Heqing said:” China has always been concerned about how to develop, and the focus on overwork is only recent. 10 years, the current legal level is almost blank. “According to the current” Labor Law “, only cases of death due to sudden illness at work, emergency death within 48 hours of work, are considered as work-related injuries, and this One regulation obviously cannot adapt to the current social needs.
There are two main categories of overworked people: one is active overwork and the other is passive overwork. Blue-collar workers on the assembly line belong to passive overwork; and on white-collar workers, there are passives-caused by environmental pressure and required by the boss, but a considerable number of people are actively overworked-in order to gain more room for development.
In the practice of Li Songwei, a doctor of clinical psychology at Peking University, the most common cause is not the injury caused by the work itself, but the pressure that comes with the work. One person once told Li Songwei that he was particularly stressed when he got off work every night because when he walked through other people’s desks and saw that his colleagues were working overtime, he was embarrassed to leave first. Therefore, his goal is to become a leader, have an independent office, and can decide on how many hours to leave.
Later, he succeeded in becoming a leader, but found that being a leader was more tiring. It is indeed possible to get off work at a normal time-he set this time at 8:30 in the evening. “But when I walked out of the office and saw my subordinates sitting in front of the computer, I walked in front of them and felt that I was not a good leader.” He said. So, he silently went out to smoke a cigarette and went back to the office to continue working overtime … This is like a cycle. You want to end your work, but find that other people are still working, you will think, am I having a problem? Am I wrong? In this way, everyone requires themselves to work overtime under an invisible pressure.
Morioka Takaji pointed out that there are four reasons for the emergence of overwork: Global capitalism has made international competition more fierce; the development of information capitalism has made communication methods such as mobile phones and networks popular, and it has also blurred private time and working time. Boundary; the wasteful lifestyle for consumption has become a popular phenomenon, so that people have to extend their working hours and increase labor intensity in order to obtain higher income to meet their own psychology; free occupation brings employment forms The diversification of the economy also objectively leads to income polarization.
From the perspective of a psychological counselor, Li Songwei does not consider the causes of the age of overwork, but only considers individual solutions. He said: “Come and consult me. Obviously I can’t tell him this matter mainly depends on whether your boss has found a conscience, or whether there are relevant laws in our country. I can only tell him what you can do-a very small The suggestion is, refuse. ”
However, many people said, “I want to refuse too, but you have to tell my mother-in-law that she said I must have a car and a room to marry my daughter.” So, talking about “rejection”, we will definitely Facing a question at another level: Am I a qualified social person? Can I live decently in mainstream society? Can I pay for the life I want?
So, how to reconcile with self? Morioka Takaji ’s sentence in The Age of Overwork may be a good answer: “Sacrifice the time spent on education, entertainment, sports, and social activities, and reduce the time spent on eating, sleeping, and living family life-with this way to work or to let others work this way, is the greatest sin. “