Dentsu CEO Resignation: Why Is No One Talking About Workplace Burnout?

One of the world’s largest advertising firms, Dentsu has been in the news for the wrong reasons. An employee of the company, only 24 years of age, jumped to her death from the company dormitory owing to grueling long hours on the job and workplace harassment. Being overburdened with work and clocking nearly 105 hours of overtime in a month, she suffered from severe mental fatigue and committed suicide.


Killing Ourselves To Live

“As per government reports, work-related stress claims at least 2,000 lives each year in Japan alone”

Japan as a society tends to revere a workaholic lifestyle. In fact, death linked to exhaustion is so widespread in the country that they have a special term for it, “karoshi”. As per government reports, 2000 people a year commit suicide over work-related stress. In India too, there has been a sharp spike in workplace stress and fatigue, with a significant rise in the number of people seeking psychiatric help owing to long hours and tough conditions on the job.

Psychologically termed as burnout, it is a state of complete physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Left unchecked, it can wreck serious havoc on your health, happiness, relationships and work performance. However, this is not something that happens overnight. With its insidious nature, it creeps in over time, a fact that also makes those warning signs harder to recognize until it’s too late.

Dentsu Taking Note Of The Problem

“Workers at Dentsu have now been barred from working after 10 pm or logging in more than 45 hours of overtime in a month, a figure previously set at 70!”

Dentsu Inc. has woken up to the growing by problem by taking a serious initiative to tackle this issue. In a bold and strongly empathic move, the president and CEO of the company, Tadashi Ishii took full responsibility of the sorrowful incident and announced his resignation. After almost six years at the helm, he decided to step down in January to express his heartfelt apology and regret. Workers at Dentsu have now been barred from working after 10 pm or logging in more than 45 hours of overtime in a month, a figure previously set at 70! They are now being encouraged to take at least five days off every 6 months.

Recognizing The Warning Signs Of Burnout

“You should be on the lookout for symptoms like chronic fatigue, insomnia, impaired concentration, increased aggression, heart palpitations, & headaches, among others”

Some warning signs you should be on a lookout for are chronic fatigue, insomnia, impaired concentration, increased aggressiveness, weakened immunity and physical symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, fainting and/or headaches. These are usually accompanied with lack of productivity, poor job performance, loss of enjoyment, a sense of isolation and pessimism. In the throes of full-fledged burnout, it becomes nearly impossible to function effectively, with depression and anxiety taking over your life.

Unfortunately in our fast-paced times today, we romanticize over exhaustion and wear workaholism as a badge of honor. People who put in extra hours of work and run on fumes are seen as admirable. This incident however, comes as a wake-up call to realize that self-care and a healthy work-life balance are the things we should be aspiring for. Too many people burn out before they have a chance to truly shine, and it’s high time we make a change so that such incidents are never reported again.

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