Thursday, 5 January 2017

The Overwork Story

I read through a business piece today....out of the Japanese news.

At some point last month....a 24-year-old gal who worked in a Japanese ad agency....ended up working not only the normal 160 hours of work for her full-time job....but put in an additional 105 hours as well.  It kinda equals out to working a ten-hour shift for Saturday and Sunday as well.

At the conclusion of this entire period, she couldn't take anymore, ended committing suicide.

It happens enough with Japanese workers that they've invented a word for this behavior....Karoshi....or death from overwork.

So far, the only result out of this episode has been the dismissal of the CEO.

My question would have been...what exactly did she do for the 105 hours that made any difference on the balance sheet of work accomplished?  The sad thing is that she might have been standing there and taking orders from incompetent manager...doing mostly busy work, and never achieving anything worth discussing.

In most cultures....people would just walk away or find a new company.  There's a limit to how much a person would do.

If this were a project with huge implications of protection or saving a company....with a 80-hour week to fix some mess, then I might be able to see some wisdom in one quick burst of work.  But in most cases, once you cross the 50 hours a week point.....you aren't doing your best work.  You start to do marginal work.  You make mistakes.  You start to question what you already did.  You do less quality with less results.

Oddly, no one around this Japanese gal noticed the less results or cared to intervene.  You would think that their objectives would be one and the same....yet they weren't.

Maybe there is some lesson learned from this tragic circumstance, but I doubt it.  It's one of those things that shouldn't have occurred in the first place.

What If the Supreme Court Remained at Eight?

There's been a couple of folks suggesting a political fight brewing (NY's Senator Schumer at the lead) who might try to force Trump into a corner over the Supreme Court nomination.

At four and four, what basically happens if it's a permanent device?  If the court can't come to a conclusion on cases, then the previous court verdict is the accepted end to the discussion.  That means whoever loaded that court with left-leaners or right-leaners....got the inside hand.  You can guess where this discussion goes next.....that various sub-courts of the federal level will be stacked up over the next four years with a lot of right-leaners.

If you kept this judgement up, then as each member of the Supreme Court leaves....you just don't replace anyone and eventually you just have two guys standing there.  Of course, this won't happen.

I'm of the mind that it's time to reshuffle the deck and bring the Supreme Court to fifteen members.  Then you throw a deck of cards on the table when cases come up and whichever of the fifteen pulls the higher-noted card....to reach nine members on a case....they get the nod.  It would be luck if you have seven right-leaners on one case, or five-left leaners....enough to settle a case.

Will Trump play along with a weak situation?  No.  My guess is that he will go straight to two or three Democratic Senators and ask what they want....some new state park, massive road spending for their state, etc.  Unlike the Obama administration which never wanted to deal with Republicans....I suspect that Trump will make it a weekly thing....getting people to the table and talking over what they'd like for their state.  That's the way that things ran for decades, and it would be helpful to return to the normal standard of negotiation.