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

Thanks to your speedy and generous response, particularly today to the Sarah Henry challenge, we’ve met our first four targets: funding for essential IT support and improvements; travel and site coverage expenses for meetups and conferences; and bonuses to site writers like Lambert, Jerri-Lynn Scofield, and Outis, support for the comments section, and expanding our reach. And we just passed our original target of contributors 1100 contributor for this fundraiser (we’re now at 1121), 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 sixth 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 45 to 50. That translates into an extra hour to two of work every day. 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, has also shown showing stress-related overwork symptoms.

And sick days? Fuggedaboudit. Even when she had a bad cornea scratch and then edema in her cornea which made it hard to read. Yves was fortunate that Lambert and Jerri-Lynn were able to run in on an emergency basis at the worst times, but Yves still had to find a way to do a lot of the work even though her vision wasn’t up to par during the recovery period.

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. We are already $8450 towards meeting this target.

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 $8450 towards that goal. Thanks SO much for your generous support!

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6 comments

  1. paul

    Think about taking the weekends off.
    I reckon the readership would be just as happy.
    I get tired just trying to read half the stuff.

    Reply
    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      I dont ever get tired of reading links and water cooler with their abundance of knowledge and even wisdom. I feel like a Mentat if you know what i mean. Processing all that information, smoking some weed, possibly ordering Chinese, and getting lil epiphanies left and right. For those non hardcore readers, you just dont understand how fucking awesome Yves is for being such a dedicated laborer, because if she didnt publish, then where else am i going to get my fix???

      F the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Salon, Daily Kos, Balloon Juice, Drudge Report, et al

      This site IS radical. All Worker News All the Time.

      Theres no FOLLOW THE MONEY obfuscation.

      Even when deployed outside Herat, Afghanistan, I read Naked Capitalism every day.

      The. Best. News. In. The. World.

      One day, after the Revolution, we will build a YUUUUUGE public fountain with Yves et al immortalized in marble. The REAL DEAL Watchpeople!

      Reply
  2. steelhead

    It is so unfortunate that in 2018 that there are not mandatory paid holidays and 4 weeks of paid vacation for everyone. As a refugee from the 80’s, I had paid 5 weeks of vacation plus all holidays including Good Friday as a management corporate employee. After the Carter/Reagan/Clinton etc. era, there were reductions in everything. I believe that in the next ten years the present entire social/economic system will collaspe and the .000001% of the economic elete will be celebrating.

    Reply
  3. Democrita

    I was letting myself off the hook because I gave over the summer, but I can (and will) send another check. This headline made me laugh–it’s a while since I heard karoshi and am definitely in favor of preventing it!

    Every morning I read the links on my commute, then switch to the prior day’s water cooler just before we enter the tunnel to read the comments. I’m always half a day behind.

    Love the antidotes and plantidotes.
    Love the comments and commentariat.
    Love the deep original watchdog work and the wide-ranging aggregation.

    Feeling grateful to NC today. Rock on.

    Reply

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