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Finally, the words I’ve been waiting my whole, slothful life to hear: Working too much could kill you. A Japanese labor bureau has officially ruled that one of Toyota’s top car engineers died from overwork; he logged over 80 hours of overtime per month while working nights, weekends, and holidays to bring a hybrid version of the Toyota Camry to market.
Technically, the 45-year-old man collapsed and died from heart failure, but ruling the cause of death as overwork enables his widow and family to receive benefits from insurance. The man, who so far has remained anonymous at the request of the family, was due to travel to the United States the day after his death to promote the car.
Workplace exhaustion and death isn’t a new thing in Japan, of course; the Japanese even have a word for when your job puts you in your grave — karoshi. Their health ministry has recognized this and tried to crack down on it since 1987.
Now, working traditions in the States aren’t the same, but I personally don’t think we should take any chances. Just to be safe, it’s probably best to move to a 10-hour work week and extend lunch breaks to three hours. Better add on another three months of vacation, too. All meetings will be conducted on bikes or on hikes, and camping counts as a teleconferencing.
Are you listening, employers of America? Hello?
— Ted Alvarez
Labor bureau: Japanese man, 45, died of overwork (AP)