Today, I came across a very sad and disturbing news. A young woman of 24 years old took her life due to work related stress. Some may think it is silly or out of this world to lose your life to something tangible like your job but I think it is one of the saddest things  to happen to anyone, to any parent. But it is very real and not restricted to just Japan. This is not the first time I came across such news as well.

Whether it is the pressure of the job, the management or even the culture (sometimes it’s the combo of all three), it is not worth to commit suicide. Words and advice are easy when it comes out of the mouth of those uninvolved but to those immersed in the depressing situation, it is an endless dark tunnel with no guiding light.

We can all do our part by reporting abuse, bully and harassment at work. Many go unnoticed or brushed off. Abuse at work is no less than domestic abuse. It is just not as widely advertised as another form of abuse, and it doesn’t mean it is not happening. You might not be aware, bullies and abuse might even carrying on under your nose at where you work right now.

Too many a times, I have seen colleagues or friends brushed off a slight remark or shrugged off a rude comment. Don’t. In the professional world, we all need to be respected as we are paid employees, and not slaves or servants. Heck, even slaves and servants deserve basic human respect too! 

If you feel uncomfortable, say so. If you don’t think it is within your job scope, highlight it. If you feel cornered, go to your boss or the HR. If it gets too much, leave. Again, it is easy for me to open my mouth to ask someone to leave their jobs. Ultimately, if it boils down to their livelihood or their lives, the choice is crystal clear.

Please do read the news report and share your thoughts with us below.

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32 replies on “Death by Overwork

  1. What a great and important article- I hear stories of so many who are dealing with imperious bullies at work, and your article is great! -I usually end up telling them that they need to advocate for themselves, even if it means taking a risk of losing their jobs. Some would think that this would scare them, but I’ve seen desperate employees feel empowered to face their problems and make change in their jobs for the better. I love your advice, “” In the professional world, we all need to be respected as we are paid employees, and not slaves or servants. Heck, even slaves and servants deserve basic human respect too! “” Interestingly, some of the greatest stories I’ve heard of ‘bullying’ managers or bosses have ended up being stories of managers or bosses who’ve felt threatened by the employee’s business success or popularity. Here the employee thought they were worthless, and it was in fact the opposite, someone felt threatened by someone else’s success. Sometimes the BEST thing you should do is just LEAVE an abusive relationship- if facing it head-on hasn’t worked.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It is a fact.
    In Japan, there is “a trend” to force long working hours.
    The company does not improve it.
    It is bullying forcing unpaid overtime.
    It is Japanese very bad custom.

    Goverment prohibits it, but “the constitution” of the company does not change.
    If somebody of the employee appeal, pressure is applied, and driven into resignation.
    The social pressure in Japan is horrible.
    This is a problem very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this out. I have heard of the terrible social pressure in Japan and it is unimaginable to anyone who is not living in Japan. Really not worth to lose your life and your happiness over a job.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. People who commit suicide do not see leaving the job as a solution. It is a much deeper mental issue, sadly misunderstood by those of us who would not think of doing such a thing. I went through this a few years ago when someone committed suicide and I went to counseling in order to understand it. Apparently, the person plans the suicide long before committing the act. If this is a serious issue in this culture then it’s really up to the families and friends of these individuals to look for the signs. These people may not actively seek help. Going to HR may not help either if this is accepted in this culture. Also, people close to this situation will need to be very vigilant because when one person commits suicide, it gives others around them who may be contemplating it permission. A very sad cycle indeed.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your experience. It just sadden me that there ae only so much we can do and most of the time, our hands are tied. We need to create more awareness and take those errant bosses and bullies to task.

      Like

  4. Very good article and very true. I just think that suicidal thoughts are also related to mental issues and goes way beyond work or else quiting the job would be easy for them. HR is here in a difficult position between the employee who complains (when he has the courage) and the management who denies and puts pressure…. very delicate situation.

    Like

  5. I was bullied at my last job-I tried to have HR step in, and even asked for a transfer onto another team, but they refused. The girl doing the bullying was half my age and went unchecked. In fact, she had harassed others and even gotten into fights. Management just let her do it. I ended up quitting because the stress just wasn’t worth it.

    So even if it is reported, remember, HR is not there for you, they are there for the company. No job is worth your sanity, or your life. Thank you for writing this post.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It must have been so hard on you! To endure all these bullshit and yet not have your bosses or the HR doing their job by protecting you. Ridiculous, goodness me!

      Like

  6. It is easy to tell people to quit when you don’t have to figure out how to stay alive in a bad economy. The first thing bullies do is attack the reputation of the targeted employee with gossip. By the time the targeted employee realizes that there is an issue, leaving is infeasible.
    Reporting potential suicide to Human Resources (HR) may be dangerous. They will most likely fire the struggling employee under “prevention of violence in the work place”. HR is there to protect those who have enough power to bully with impunity. IF HR were effective at managing bullying, there would be no bullying to report.

    Sometimes the best thing to do is to listen and not repeat what you hear. When people can safely vent, they are much more likely to figure out a solution on their own.

    Liked by 1 person

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