Thursday, March 26, 2009

Work life balance - Is it possible?

Many of my corporate friends are bemoaning the fact that their overtime is now unpaid or "volunteer" in Japanese companies. By volunteer I mean they can stay if they want but if they leave it doesn't look good.

When I came to Japan 10 years ago people were working crazy hours. Generally from about 9 to 9 or longer. One man I know commuted from Yokohama to Utsunomiya 2 hours each way every day. The other alternative being to live in a separate house in Utsunomiya during the week only seeing his family on the weekends.

The extra income that overtime generated really helped fuel the economy but people really had no life. I wonder with all the free time entering people's lives if we will see some niche market opening. I've seen a lot of adult classes springing up perhaps to improve employ ability in this economy.

Here is a fantastically funny and relate-able audio file from the BBC

It's About Time - Comedian and writer Dave Cohen seeks help from experts in trying to achieve a 'work-life balance'. He hardly sees his family - during any 'downtime' he is actually looking for more work. Years of freelancing and the current economic climate make it hard to say no to any offer.

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