I recently came across an article in the New York Times written by Makiko Inoue and Megan Specia. It was about a young journalist in Japan named Miwa Sado. Ms. Sado often worked until midnight every night and rarely took off time on the weekends. As a result, she had earned approximately 159 hours of over time. Unfortunately at the tender age of 31, only a month later she died of congestive heart failure. This was a case of “Karoshi” a term they use in Japan that means “death from overworked”.
LISTEN to me! No job is worth your LIFE. If you are able to earn 159 hours of overtime in one month, you are working entirely too much. Most employers (not all) do not care about your overall health. They only care about what you can do for them. I repeat do not let your job kill you, it is not worth your life.
Lord forbid you were to die from “Karoshi” but if you do, your company will probably do these 4 things:
- Send your family a sympathy card
- Provide a bouquet of flowers
- Shed some crocodile tears resulting in sniffles and a snotty nose
- You will be replaced by Monday Morning
In America, if you are a full-time employee you should earn at least 2 weeks of vacation time. (I personally think we should have an entire month off, considering we work the entire year but I digress) Some companies offer the opportunity to earn additional overtime or allow you to purchase vacation time. Although the article above mentioned Japan, statistics show that Americans don’t use there allotted time. I hear people proudly proclaim, “I have 100 hours of sick and vacation time”. People do not be proud of this. Reclaim your time and start using what is rightfully yours.
Well, how do I reclaim my time? Glad you asked
1. Put in a request form for vacation ASAP before your co-workers. Don’t allow your job to deny your request because they are short staffed. I don’t want you to get fired but tell them,”sounds like a personal problem”.
2. Use time wisely. Plan a trip around the holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labor Day, 4th of July etc. Now don’t get me wrong I love hanging out with my family but I also like a long vacation. If I had to choose between going to Bali or Aunt Susie for Thanksgiving? SSSHHH don’t tell my family but the traveler in me will be on a flight to Bali. The good thing about missing a holiday you won’t have to pretend like Aunt Betty’s new recipe for potato salad or answer the dreaded question about why you’re still not married at 30.
3. Plan a trip to your favorite destination. Choose a stay-cation, domestic or international destination. Have fun like Stella and get your groove back, take BAE along for the ride, or roll Solo. Have you always wanted to go to Dubai to see Mosques or go to Los Angles to see Hollywood walk of fame? Do it. I don’t care where you go as long as you are not at your place of employment.
4. While on vacation don’t you dare do anything work-related, (that includes checking your emails or answering work cell phone) Forward inbox messages to Auto Reply. Auto Reply Message: My Name is Tiffany and I will be unable to answer any questions because guess what “I’m reclaiming my time”. Please see my supervisor at your earliest convenience.
5. On vacation be adventurous. Try something you have never done before. Check off something on your bucket list. My bucket list includes parasailing and shark diving. What does your include??
6. Come back to work relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. Your Co-workers will come to cubicle to tell you something about you looks different. Tell them, “you can look like me if you reclaim your time”. Trust me after the vacation you and your supervisor will be much happy with your new stress-free attitude.
How do you plan to reclaim your time??