Hooray! Met Our Fourth Goal, On to Our Fifth: Karōshi Prevention

This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1080 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page, which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we’re doing this fundraiser and what we’ve accomplished in the last year.

Thanks to your speedy and generous responses, we’ve met our first four targets: funding for more site improvements in the user experience and in our defense; travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; and bonuses to site writers like Lambert, Jerri-Lynn Scofield, and Outis, and funding to support the comments section. And since we have almost hit our original goal of 1100 contributors for this fundraiser, we’re raising the donor target to 1250.

We are grateful to have gotten not only some big contributions but also a large number of smaller donations. Those are often particularly meaningful, since those donors often tell us they are on limited budgets but want to do what they can to support this community. Please give now at our Tip Jar if you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, by check, credit or debit card, or PayPal.

And remember, if you aren’t in a position to chip in financially, you can help by sharing what you’ve learned here with the people you know.

We are on our way to meeting our fourth target, support for extra manpower so we can keep the make our 365 day a year, just about 24/7 coverage more sustainable. If Yves the publisher and Yves the employee were two different people, Yves the employee would have gone on strike a long time ago.

You may have heard of karōshi, a Japanese word that translates roughly into “death by overwork”. The Guardian reported on this phenomenon last week:

Japan has again been forced to confront its work culture after labour inspectors ruled that the death of a 31-year-old journalist at the country’s public broadcaster, NHK, had been caused by overwork.

Miwa Sado, who worked at the broadcaster’s headquarters in Tokyo, logged 159 hours of overtime and took only two days off in the month leading up to her death from heart failure in July 2013….

Sado’s death is expected to increase pressure on Japanese authorities to address the large number of deaths attributed to the punishingly long hours expected of many employees.

We don’t want to get you overly worried, but Yves can’t remember the last day she had off. The last social outing she had was over the July 4 weekend….in 2016. She was able to go to Maine for a week this year and eat lobsters (she actually prefers the dry scallops) and see the beautiful scenery, but she was helping to mind her feisty 89 year old mother and still managing her torrential flow of daily e-mails. So this was a break but still short of real downtime.

Even though your generous support of the site have allowed her to have a day off from posting every week, plus another half day every other week, and shift more of daily Links duty to Lambert, this hasn’t translated into more personal time for Yves. Even on her days off from posting, Yves is catching up on site admin, catching up on e-mails, sometimes catching up on research, and often vetting story ideas or articles pitched to her.

One of the reasons that the site consumes more writing/production time than in the past is that we’ve kept improving our output and expanding our beats. Our Links section used to be 25-30 links. It is now almost never fewer than 45 and typically 50 to 60. Similarly, in the runup to the crisis, when anyone who knew about finance was a one-eyed man in the land of the blind, many of our posts had only a few hundred words of commentary on an extract or extracts from news articles. Now, a significant portion of what Naked Capitalism does is quick turn-around political economy analysis of a very high caliber. We often produce think tank level work but with the aim of stripping away obfuscation and holding people accountable. That means more writer time on average per post.

Put it another way: a typical working year for a full time person is assumed to be 225-250 work days. That is still very stingy by world standards, since 250 days amounts to every weekend off plus two weeks of vacation, with no allowance for national holidays. Even with the very helpful support you’ve provided in the past to help make the site less dependent on Yves alone, Yves has been working at a burnout-inducing level for far too many years.

And it’s not just Yves. Outis, who is much younger and came on board this year to help with comments, is also showing stress-related overwork symptoms.

And sick days? Fuggedaboudit. Even when she got food poisoning last year, with having the good fortune of getting emergency help from Lambert, Yves still had to find a way to do a half day of work so as not to fall short on the site’s normal posting schedule.

We joke that we run the site with 1.6 people, which is a less pointed way of flagging that we provide a remarkable level of output and the consistency of coverage with very thin resources. The amount we are seeking for this target, $21,000, is the same meager level for weekend, holiday, and “shit happens” support that we asked for last year. We hope you’ll recognize how essential this is and donate generously to keep Yves in fighting fettle and have other talented writers like Lambert and Jerri-Lynn Scofield contribute more regularly.

There are multiple ways to give. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. There you can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post dated checks, if you want to spread out payments) in the name of Aurora Advisors Incorporated to

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
903 Park Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10075

Please also send an e-mail to yves@nakedcapitalism.com with the headline “Check is in the mail” (and just the $ en route in the message) so we can count your contribution in the total number of donations.

Our sick days, weekend and vacation coverage target is $21,000, and we are already over $940 towards that goal. Thanks SO much for your generous support!

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  1. Clive

    And lest anyone think running a blog is easy, try doing it.

    As a comparison, a charity which I’m trustee of produces a paper newsletter (we get continually advised by the people whom the charity serves that a newsletter, on paper, with carefully curated high-quality relevant content is far more valued than rapid-fire emails or social media, even if they are more frequent — which goes to show that the Naked Capitalism philosophy of thought-provoking long-form content is what is valuable nowadays when there’s so much dross or bought opinions in circulation) once a quarter or so. It takes the editorial team of four or five people that long to publish what usually ends up being half a dozen or so printed pages.

    So this three-monthly output for four or five people equates to a couple of days of Naked Capitalism material.

    And I take between four and six hours to produce an article to Naked Capitalism standards. Yves often needs to review and make editorial changes or spot where sections need re-work. It is virtually impossible to be sufficiently self-critical to evaluate your own writing. So even guest writers present a demand on editorial time and mental bandwidth.

    Yet readers get almost invariably one original post a day as a minimum, usually two (or even three if it is a fast news day). So Yves’s work rate is about three or four times mine. And I am pretty quick. And you get a vetted guest post or cross posting. Oh, and the daily Links. And the weekday Water Cooler.

    Keeping this show on the road is little short of a monumental effort. I’d have quit this lark years ago, if it had been me, for something less taxing and tiring. Like crocodile wrestling.

    Thanks… I was going to put in an annoying smiley emoticon then, but stopped short; would it be too crass to put in the dollar sign instead? Yes, it probably would. So instead I’ll finish by asking you all to do please chip in a few bucks and help in the war on burnout!

  2. Zzzz Andrew

    In! late as usual, but in. Yves et al., please take this as a material expression of heartfelt wishes for your health and happiness. Shutting down comments for a week or two a year so that you can get some vacation is an excellent idea, too. Many thanks!

  3. Herky

    I would add that shutting down comments for a couple weeks would allow many avid (addicted?) readers to spend more time with THEIR families, too! :)

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We are planning two weeks of regular comments holidays a year. We might add a third. I really missed the comments BUT it did free me up to do other reading and get a bit of a mental health break.

Comments are closed.