Thursday, January 05, 2020

Notes from the Press

Here is some more interesting press coverage relevant to Slow Leadership:

The Los Angeles Times has an article on Seattle-based Take Back Your Time, an education and public policy nonprofit organization that aims to "challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and our relationships, our communities and our environment."

John de Graaf, President of Take Back Your Time, is quoted as saying that society prides itself on massive productivity and a luxurious standard of living without realizing it has made a devil's bargain:
"If you want to judge standard of living on who has the most toys or stuff, then we win. But if you look at health, mental illness, strength of families, divorce, general equality or levels of education, we aren't No. 1. We pay a huge price for the phenomenal amount of overwork we do."
TMCnet reports a study from Tokyo that claims most bosses at offices failed to notice any trouble with their staff before those staff killed themselves due to overwork or stress. The study was based on 37 cases of overwork and stress-related suicides over a two-year period from April 2002. The Pioneer Press in Minnesota, however, reports younger Japanese people are "slacking off" from the ferocious work ethic of earlier generations. The Japanese government has labeled these people NEETs, or "not in education, employment or training" — a term first used in the U.K. in the late 1990s. Japan uses the term specifically for young people who have given up looking for a job and often get financial support from their parents. They aren't considered unemployed since they aren't actively looking for a job. It seems Japanese lawmakers view such people as a threat to future prosperity, which says something about popular views of what constitutes a sound society.

Even the cows are blamed for people's hectic lives. In Great Britain, Farmer's Weekly ran an article called: "Long dairy hours hit quality of life." It suggests British dairy farmers risk destroying their quality of life for little return by striving too hard for increased output. (Where have I heard that same idea before?) The results of a survey showed three-quarters of the farmers questioned would be happy to work a 50 to 60-hour week, but up to 85% worked 70-80 hours. "The industry is perpetuating a long-hours culture," the researchers said.

Join the club. It seems you can't escape the modern mania for working dawn to dusk even on a pleasant walk in the green pastures of England.

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