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

If you’ve been paying attention to our fundraiser headings, you’ll see our fourth goal, that of bonuses for Lambert and Jerri-Lynn and other honoraria, went up just a few hours ago, already close to being met, thanks to your great responses today to the Double Your Donation challenge and our other appeals.

And you just met that target! We’ve never met a goal past the beginning rush of the fundraiser so quickly!

And we are also just shy of our original donor target of 1100 donors, which we are increasing to 1350.

This year, we’ve had quite a few new donors, and I can tell from the time when they come in, that they are from overseas. Some gifts are modest, but those are often particularly meaningful, since those donors often tell us they are on tight 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 if you are well off, please give generous to help bolster the donations from people who gave despite having modest means.

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:

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 truly 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 (and even better, the dry scallops) and see the beautiful scenery, but she was still keeping an eye on the site and managing her torrential flow of daily e-mails. So this was a badly-needed break but still short of real downtime.

Even though your generous support of the site have allowed her to have a day and a half off from posting every 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 and sometimes moer. 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.

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. 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 sick days? Fuggedaboudit. When Yves had a scratched cornea when on the West Coast (necessitating ER visits in LA and then in San Francisco), this site kept going without a hitch due to Lambert and Jerri-Lynn swinging into action. It was very gratifying for them to pick up the schedule without missing a beat…..but they deserved to and had to be paid for the extra work, which is why we need to come to you to provide funding for breaks and emergencies.

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
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213

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 $2070 towards that goal. Thanks SO much for your generous support!

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9 comments

  1. john bougearel

    Shit Yves

    Been worried about your burnout almost since the day you started this blog. Makes me wonder. I wonder if those in your community/network worried about your burnout before NC, or if this is more common with your community after NC? My guess is not much to the former, much more so with the latter.

    Reply
  2. Tom

    Why not schedule NC vacations? We will be fine if y’all take a break, maybe some of us will benefit too.

    Everyone needs time off work. Take it!

    Reply
    1. charles 2

      I totally agree.
      Just go European here. I would further suggest that after all these years, NC has a back catalog of high quality in-depth posts that are still relevant today. A re-run for four weeks in the summer would keep the ad revenue flowing and be useful for
      new followers (or not so new followers who actually took some holidays reading the news and missed some posts…) who didn’t read them.

      Commenters should be encouraged to take holidays too by disabling comments during that period.

      Reply
      1. Appleseed

        As a small business owner for more than 3 decades I can confidently assert from my experience that loyal customers will accommodate the owners’ vacation schedule. On the other hand, if owners opt to not take a break, that encourages customer expectation of 24/7/365 availability. I’m new to NC and have quickly grasped that your customers are loyal, dependable, and supportive of your work. Why not poll them on what an acceptable summer, holiday, winter, weekend schedule would look like?

        Reply
  3. JTMcPhee

    On priorities: I would have put “Preventing Death By Overwork” at the top of the fundraising list. Thanks for all you do, deepest thanks. Another contribution on the way.

    I note that “Off Guardian” has been under DDoS attack recently. Here’s hoping your platform is fitted out to deal with such things. It’s important to the sanity of some of us to have this cyber place to look to, for evidence of intelligent life on earth.

    Reply
  4. ewmayer

    I’d like to note that Paypal donors can avoid the usual 3-4% tip-jar fee by instead logging in to their Paypal account and using the “send money to friends & family” feature to Yves at her e-mail address. On $25000 of Paypal donations, if every donor used that fee-free option (as I did) it would mean $1000 more net to NC. I maintain a distributed-computing freeware program and have a similar Paypal tip-jar widget for that, but that is accompanied by text alerting prospective donors to the aforementioned no-fee option.

    “We joke that we run the site with 1.6 people” — Perhaps a fundraiser side-goal could be to raise that to the golden mean, (1+sqrt(5))/2 = 1.618… . :)

    Reply
  5. J O'Toole

    I agree with Tom….you folks need to take scheduled breaks…we’ll survive as long as we know you’re coming back!

    Reply
  6. Pavel

    I am on Day 840* of my Duolingo Japanese language course “streak” so nice to learn a new Japanese word, albeit a rather grim one. (Duolingo is highly recommended for aspiring language learners, by the way.)

    I am not a Paypal fan, to say the least, so shall send my donation by snail mail. I am slowly trying to de-digitise my life somewhat, and there is a pleasure in actually sending things by post I find.

    Thanks to Yves and the team for this great, unique resource and community.
    どもうありがとうございむす!

    Reply

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