A few weeks ago, labor officials in Japan found Toyota responsible for an employee suicide that had taken place in October 2017. Investigations uncovered that said employee had suffered from adjustment disorder, apparently induced by his constant exposure to verbal abuse and power-tripping on the part of his immediate supervisor. Even filing a lengthy leave didn’t help matters, and only led to the poor soul taking his own life in his living quarters.
Unfortunately, cases of workplace harassment like this are not uncommon in Japan. It even has a name: pawahara, or power harassment. And it’s not just Toyota’s workers that are suffering from this. The Land of the Rising Sun’s corporate culture of working long hours and the employees’ willingness to obey their superiors have made pawahara the norm.
Now, it would be unfair to say that power harassment only goes as far as the territorial confines of Japan. Other forms of it definitely exist in business organizations around the world—including (and especially) the Philippines. You might even be a victim (or perpetrator) yourself. In fact, you might have just come from a toxic meeting full of hurtful words from your boss as you read this article, your will to finish your job significantly diminished.
Of course, you won’t stop working. You can’t. You have a family to feed and support, or you’re still paying off your brand-new (and financed) vehicle. But you don’t have to remain in an environment filled with depression and misery. You always have a choice. In this day and age when society is becoming more and more aware of mental health issues, you should start looking out for yourself, too.
Learn to unplug. Put that smartphone down during family gatherings. Don’t respond to work-related messages on the beach. Every e-mail or SMS notification from your office just adds to stress. Quality time matters. Make every holiday count. You’d be amazed at how much control you have over your life by simply refusing to reply to your boss on a weekend.
Learn to unplug. Put that smartphone down during family gatherings. Don’t respond to work-related messages on the beach
Take time to work out and meditate. Your mind, body and soul need to be refreshed—watching Netflix not included. Physical exercise pumps endorphins through your body, which help treat anxiety. Instead of resorting to alcohol, try meditation. A five-minute deep-breathing session is a far healthier way of reducing stress than a pint of beer.
Your life and your well-being aren’t worth the long hours at the office and the expletives hurled at you by your manager. As much as you love (and depend on) the company you work for, you are ultimately just a paid pawn on the organizational chart—ready to be fired at a moment’s notice. Just like a hardworking turbodiesel engine needs a break for maintenance, you also need time for rest and relaxation. Never take that for granted.