Sunday, 29 April 2007

Is it worth it?

Unless you’re a certain pastor, you must be feeling the Sunday evening depression (a.k.a. pre-Monday blues) or… you’re already into your Monday blues, depending on when you’re reading this. Well, you shouldn’t be… remind yourself that you won't be working this coming Tuesday and Wednesday and… you should be have some element of Friday bliss.

But! Yeah, there’s always a but… some of you may have to work. You will probably have your usual it’s-my-peak-period or I-have-some-urgent-work reason. Or maybe, you really have something to do, you genuinely need to finish some stuff that if you don’t, your ass is on the line.

Well, whatever your reason may be, I think you should read this piece of news which was sent to me by my friend last Friday. Oh… being a responsible blogger, I google-d her name and actually found that she is all over the news and is also mentioned in some Romanian blogs. Have a read…

Romanian media debates death of E&Y "exhausted" young manager

Romanian media on Thursday debates the death of Raluca Stroescu, a young manager for Ernst&Young (“EY”) Romania, whose passing was blamed by a newspaper earlier this week on exhaustion at work. Raluca was buried at a cemetery in Ploiesti, north of Bucharest in the presence of the family and hundreds of young people yesterday.

Experts could not provide clear information on the causes of her death on Tuesday and Wednesday and that the necessary data will be available within weeks, but told reporters that she might have died of heart failure.

The Evenimentul Zilei <http://www.evz.ro/> newspaper on Wednesday reported that the background cause of the death was physical exhaustion as she was working too much for a salary of a couple of thousand euro, which is a very good salary in Romania.

Gardianul <http://www.gardianul.ro/> on Thursday quotes Raluca's former colleagues who say that prior to her death she "was looking like a ghost. She was in a hurry. She had to put up a report". According to the newspaper, "Raluca had worked so hard to become somebody until she collapsed. Still, who is to blame?

"Is it worth dying for a salary of 2,000 euro?", Evenimentul Zilei <http://www.evz.ro/> wonders in its edition today. The newspaper reports that Raluca's death has sparked a huge public response about the conditions of work Romanian employees have to cope with and whether is it a good thing to abandon personal life for the sake of money and career.

The issue of career opportunities and what one can do to seize them is very hot in Romania where economy has been booming for years and salaries are still low compared to other countries, prompting major companies abroad to relocate businesses here.

Gandul <http://www.gandul.info/> quotes a doctor who examined the woman's body, according to whom Raluca was underfed as she weighed less than 40 kilos. "She was not eating or she couldn't assimilate food" the doctor said, while others said she also had problem s with her heart and hormones.

Raluca, 31, had been working for EY Romania for two years and a half. She previously worked for Vodafone. E&Y's only manager that could be contacted by Cotidianul <http://www.cotidianul.ro/> yesterday refused to comment the tragedy.

I found this blog and seems like the blogger knows her in person. The blogger has this to say…

“She (the deceased) was a loner, who buried herself in her work, a workaholic if you will. She was ambitious, but ambition is not a sin. She had wishes, which naturally followed from her ambition. She may have had heartaches, quickly smothered, buried beneath files, forgotten in front of the computer or left wandering on the side of the roads she travelled. And in search of what? The desired high social status with everything it entails? A certain happiness? Whatever she was looking for, she paid the price and was way overcharged.”


Have you been working so hard till you feel like you’re a loner? Do you find yourself buried beneath work? Are you searching for high social status with everything it entails?

Yes, I know, success has its sacrifice. But do you know what are you sacrificing? In trying to increase your bank account, did you also increase your cholesterol and blood pressure? Ask yourself… is it worth it?

57 comments:

angel said...

Of course not :)

Cheers to only 3 working days this week!

kat said...

Really? There was a similar case of someone in Singapore who purportedly died from overworking as well...http://anythingbeautiful.blogspot.com/2007/04/pinkmayflower.html

Beginning to sound like an urban legend...

Err.. my work got no high social status and cannot increase my bank account, but I still work 24/7 and it is worth it!! :D

J.T. said...

When I was a "slave" in KL, I used to overwork myself. I brought back work (home in Klang) - used my computer at home till 1:00am to finish up.
My mother saw this going on for a few weeks and asked me why was I killing myself over work. She noticed I looked exhausted and was losing weight rapidly. I woke up at 5:30am to catch the train at 6:20am. Worked all day then catch 6:40pm train. Reached home 7:40pm. No quality of life. Maybe I guilted myself into it because the boss was very generous. 5 months' bonus, two trips a year - one local, one overseas.
I realised it was not worth it after I fell ill. Work exhaustion. The boss in Singapore (ang moh) heard about it and said that I am not supposed to bring home work. Then asked me who in the KL office was pressuring me to work like a machine. He cleared it out in the next office meeting. :)
I don't know how some people do it, especially those who are in office until late at night. I take my hat off to them.
Sorry to take up so much of your space.

Big Rice said...

i used to work for a company till i lost my voice. the mgr still din't want me to mc. she never said it. but she was hinting that it'd be best if i didn't. it was then that i realize that if i lost my voice for good, the company isn't gonna thank me or compensate me. small matter, you may think, but i am in customer service & sales. i lose my voice, i lose big time.

to me, not worth it.

yes, i just read about the singaporean case & it does sound uncannily alike.

but on a humourous note, i wonder if pastors experience monday blues? haha..

jaezrel said...

i can imagine myself dead the same way she is....muahahahhaha

and it's a dread'fool' monday....why tomorrow and not today.....zewt why.........

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

oh well..thats part of life..to make a decision..whether u wan a life..or u rather wan money..sommore choosing the money path doesnt mean u will hav money..so how come people dont realise that point?? how many more EY managers have to die to prove this point?? sigh sigh..

Huei said...

i'm not a workaholic!!!

*proud*

can't stand having to work! >.<

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

Geez... my husband works for EY shanghai and he is a workaholic! BTW, where is the news in English?

aSstHa said...

(_ _ )"

will dat b my fate one day.. omg... i'm one of those "few" ppl who'll b working on tues AND wed... yeah bucket loads of reports to hand in by 3rd so there's no way i can finish dem by today... but i don wanna die from work exhaustion.... @_@

don get me wrong i DO have a life outside of work but.. i stretch myself out so thinly that ALL my weekends for May is already booked (fitting in frens, family, mini hols w the colleagus) but i still suffer from burnout bcos for me, i jz need some time alone to read, knit, workout, animax (i've not seen it for donkey weeks), CSI (already missed 2 weeks in a row) and most importantly sleep... but i can't sleep the whole day.. cos i'd feel i've wasted my entire weekend doing nothing so in the end i jz end up setting appointments and burning myself out (happens all the time) and finally end up comatosed for 2 days straight... so it's a vicious cycle

mayb i shud change profession???
*jz a tot... pls don fire me*

>_<

LC_Teh said...

One Japanese word: Karoshi.

freethinker said...

What can I say: I blog while working.. HAHAH

Cirnelle said...

Ditto.

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

Monday! Ohhhh Monday! I hate Monday.But to fill my stomach I have to work monday or not!I work for $$$$ & not work for the sake of working. Have a nice holiday.

zewt said...

angel - today is my only working day for this week heh heh

kat - shit! is it true? i shall read about it tonight... really turning into an urband legend. i wonder when will such thing happen in malaysia. by the way... sounds like you're a housewife la...

J.T. - sounds like some really saddistic firm you were working on. curious... what were you chasing exactly? promotions and higher increment? Or the 5 months bonus really got you going huh?

I have friends who work non-stop and yeah, it's crazy. strange enough, they always complain, but they will still work... i guess they are just plain... stupid (if i may say it). oh... dont worry, you can take up as much space as you want.

big rice - oh yeah... that sounds so familiar. u know there is a chinese saying which goes "tuck dan sei, em tuck han peng"... which means one is free enough to die but not free enough to fall sick... often relates to the level of busy-ness. i guess your boss would rather have you dead rather than you taking MC. i shall ask the pastor about it hehe...

jaezrel - you're not even close to dying la!

zewt said...

constant craver joe - the thing is... ppl are made to believe that if you dont work... you dont have a life. all goes down to what is life... what is success... ppl may not be dying physically... but a lot of things are put to death when one burried oneself beneath work.

huei - me too!!! sigh... what to do... life sucks.

asStHa - changing profession may be a good idea. but in malaysia... it also means the heartless new employers will squeeze you dry if you change profession. well... sleeping over the 2 days of weekends sounds good to me... at least you had some rest, which is always beneficial. oh... good luck tomorrow and on wednesday! hehe...

LC_Teh - hi there... what does that mean?

freethinker / cirnelle - dont worry... i wont tell anyone...

hor ny ang moh - and i am sure you will need money for stuff other than filling your stomach...

jaezrel said...

zewt when you suddenly realize jaezrel is no longer flooding in with comments on your entries or replying emails....then u will know if i share the same fate with the 'deceased' raluca.....

sobs*

Dienasty said...

This is a good piece, as usual, Zewt.

I'm not working yet, but it seems to me that much of life is spent trying to balance out all the various facets and whatnot.

That would definitely be a challenge.

SuLee said...

Ernst&Young,, isnt that an accountant firm? geeeez no job in the world is worth this, like u said zewt u work for living but after work thats when the living begin, and is sooo true!!

i think everybody should take it easy, esp accountants coz i know how stressful it could be during that time of the year. my cousin used to be with kpmp - and few months after he stuck with that company ( after years of school to grant her license) she quited and became a wedding planner.

there are few accountants i know personally had quited and do something else. issit really that bad? sounds like u have quite a few years experience in this field already

anyway, u should take it easy too buddy

TTL! said...

earn so much also not enough for "yee yok fai" (medical fees) hahaha.

u know whats the best cure to monday blues? skip the damned class . or work for workers

TTL! said...

sorry for the double comment.
now that youve made a post on someone who has died working, i should post about the dude who died gaming too haha

J.T. said...

Zewt, I really did not know what I was chasing. I was almost at the position I set my goals on 5 years earlier. Maybe it was the incentive that the kind boss gave us. The ironic part is that the 'ang moh' boss was nice. He warned me not to overwork myself. It was the "local self-appointed" overseers that "preferred if I could deliver things they needed a.s.a.p." They say never mind, don't rush but by 5:00pm, they say "Jacqui, is it possible to have it by mid day tomorrow?" Cilaka!
I became "Jacq of All Trades" in the office. Yah, even placing that stupid 5-gallon bottle over the dispenser. All pretend cannot see water almost to the end. Then when I want to make my drink, my job lah. I guess they thought I was the strongest woman there (for most of my years there, it was an all-women team. Spells bitchy, doesn't it??? hehehe)

conan_cat said...

oh my... now that's one really, really sad case of a workaholic. i guess there are many people out there who work that much until they forget who and what they are, and frankly speaking, it's not worth it. another person at the other corner of the world is working 9-4 and gets more pay than you because of their workers' rights (think new zealand).

just do what you can, what you should, and thats it. :)

and i think pastors will only experience sunday blues lor... lol

kyh said...

seriously, it's not worth it. u gotta know how to balance between work and play. in the midst of pursuing luxury and riches, plenty of rest and leisure are important too. Just like having too much yang chi in you is not good too. You gotta have some yin chi to balance the yang forces.

zewt said...

purple mushroom - opppss... ter-miss yours... your husband in EY shanghai? what's his name? hehe... I have some friends in EY shanghai too...

jaezrel - means now you have share the same fate yet la. dont think you will die so easily la... haha!

Dienasty - trust me, it's not easy. when you're not in it, it's easy to tell yourself to be careful. once you're in it... sometimes, things are really out of your control.

SuLee - yeah... it is! yeah, we accountants are such a sad bunch of people... sigh. wahhh... your accountant friends are quite brave eh? they actually quit and do something else? takes a lot of courage. yeah, i am in this industry for quite some time already, which is why i know all the shit we have to go through.

TTL - hahahaha... got ppl die from gaming or not? i would really love to know.

J.T. - yeah, i think it's an asian curse. asians will always look up to ppl with blonde hair and we suck up to them. that is something i truly dont understand... we try to impress them so much till we lose respect for ourselves... till we fail to see our own self worth. quite stupid if you ask me... and no disrespect to you :) .... all-women team.... spells bitchy indeed....

conan_cat - oh yeah, which is why i say... labours here in malaysia are really slaves while those in developed countries are really... well... properly treated. i wonder when we will ever reach that stage. i think pastors enjoy their work quite a bit... so... no sunday blues. but i will ask... haha.

kyh - easier said than done. when you're in it... it's quite tough to control oneself..

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

Zewt: Who are your friends? Tonnes of Malaysians in EY shanghai. We also have tonnes of friends in KPMG shanghai. Both me and my hubby are ex-KPMG KL.

Maxforce said...

I used to have a boss who kept saying that working hard doesnt kill.
With this article now, heh heh... I am armed and dangerous :P
Thanks bro!

TTL! said...

got.. there was a korean who died gaming in a cc for 24 hours straight playing starcraft. serious shit

zorro said...

Back in 80s where I worked, we already emailed HQ (12hours difference) and on days I stayed back to get a quick reply at 8pm. I noticed that some of my guys were still around. I asked why they were still in the office...sheepish reply like catching up with work. I did not buy that. I just told them to just f o and get back to wife and kids. I later found out that some wanted to look good....stick around so boss thinks they are working hard. I dont buy this shit. If you cannot finish your work (except for some stupid dateline the a client calls for)it means you have not managed your time well. Work smart preferable to work hard. Sometimes, after the tea-break I just tell my guys to pack up and go home. Some hesitated. I packed up and headed for the car-park. They followed. I asked why they hesitated? What would the MD do? That was my problem, I told them. I always had my associates (I never called them my subordinates)giving me their qualified best. I literally chase people home unless they can give me a valid reason. How can your associates give you their best tomorrow if they are stressed with work and family. Enough of sermonising, but I enjoyed mentoring, coaching, leading and managing.

J.T. said...

Zewt, that is the curse of the Asian mentality. Although I did maybe do a little extra to impress, I was not really doing it outwardly and shamelessly like the "overseers". He had already told me that we all work as a team and all he asks is 8 hours of our time. Fair enough. When I said transportation cost was going up (KTM lah), he added travelling allowance. It was the locals who wanted to impress the boss and then pressure me to perform. sigh... No more. My wise mum reminded me that I am not getting paid overtime to bring back work. And after that short burn-out I suffered, I stopped over-producing.:)

mob1900 said...

You're invited to Mee Rebus lunch at ss14, mosque,PJ, underneath a tree. contact me at MSN: mob1900@yahoo.com

Rocky and gang will be there. cya

Jazzi said...

I think the worst possible subject taught is 'how to manage money'.

We are taught that we need a good education, to get a proper job. And we need a proper job to pay bills.

I think that is the greatest fallacy of all time. Even though I am stuck in this fallacy myself T_T.

Try reading a few popular 'business start-me-up' books, or books on how to be a leader. You will quickly realize that we have got it all wrong.

=).

Jazzi said...

Oops, didn't get my point across the last post...

What i meant to say, was that we don't need to work our heads off to pay bills or become rich.

=)

mar said...

EY?
Died over overexhaustion?
After 2+ years?

Man...I just started in this field last month...do I have only that long to live?

Yikes!
(I'm not in Big4 lah but in that line too...)

Voidberg said...

A small clarification: I didn't know the girl personally and the text was from a romanian news agency, Mediafax. So please correct your post as I'm not the author of the quoted text.

This is not the first case for E&Y here in Romania. Last year, an account manager died in a car crash because she fell asleep at the wheel. She had just left a client and was going to another one.

mar said...

Freaky man...
Neways,zewt,I just linked this post to MY latest post...and there's my previous post that I'm waiting to know your opinion on...=)

mob1900 said...

Yo dude, send me an email at mob1900@yahoo.com so i could send you Rocky's number or my number.

mistipurple said...

i think some people no work also can die wan lah. ever read about retirees who suddenly nothing to do? buay tahan die of 'no-direction' in life and no sense of worth.
i think it all depends on the person. competitive person no work feel very aimless.
then, company owners 'die die' must work because so many things to worry about. if stop, whole company collapse. this is normal of start-up enterprises.
so, all in all, must know oneself. if feel tensed and stressed, then better not work so hard. if no work become stressed, then work lah. but moderation is always good. must eat must sleep. (reminding myself) lol.

Seok Thong said...

Of course it doesn't worth it!

In this slavery world now,no matter how hard we work, those bosses or whoever will not appreciate at all (at least in my last company).

But i have a friend too that is working like crazy. It's like busier than the PM..Hehe!

SuLee said...

yea they couldnt take it mentally and no OT somemore, might as well invest ur time and energy in something else, well plus from rich family also lah them.

Bengbeng said...

funny u shud comment on my site when i was just thinking abt u :)

Happy Wesak Day. If u r not celebrating have a restful day.

Kenny Mah said...

Wah, you are also working overtime with your posts lah... I go away for the weekend and suddenly melambak. How to catch up, me? ;)

But I think I have the same thing lah, only mine is 50% work, 50% social life... I can't remember the last time I was alone for more than an hour or two. But not complaining though. If I drop dead from having too much Life, well, that'll look good on my gravestone. I want to make the most of my life while I still have a chance lah...

zewt said...

purple mushroom - i know a person in indirect taxes in shanghai. william is his name. oh... so you're from KPMG... so the cartoon i posted up there applies to you eh? hehe....

maxforce - on the contrary.... allow me to say... working doesnt kill... but we kill ourselves with work... how about that?

TTL - starcraft! that's my fav game!! shit!!! aiyah.. dun care la... if someone ask me to for a game of starcraft, rest assured i will be up for it.

zorro - damn right... so many of us are being made to stay back so that our boss looks good in front of the big boss!!! damn, i really hate this shit. as time goes by... we are expected to stay late... it became a norm and we are all stuck in it. sounds like you work in the accounting industry before eh? :)

J.T. - good for you. i am glad you realised it. there are many friends of mine who are still very much into it and though they scream and cry about wanting to get out... they are not doing anything about it. yes, the locals always wanna impress... cos it's just too competitive out there... survival of the fittest.

mob1900 - yo dude! as i've said, no cant do. some other time.

jazzi - indeed, that is indeed the greatest fallacy of all time. and you're not alone, we are all stuck in it too. hahaha.... if those books are of use... all of us are rich already... just pick up a book and life will be rich, not so easy la.

zewt said...

mar - as long as you're in this line... you will suffer la... i am gonna blog more about this, and hope readers will not be bored about it. and i think i have given comments in your post already eh?

voidberg - hey there! i shall correct my post. it's tragic eh? oh, i heard of a lot of auditors here in malaysia who fell asleep while driving too. but no one has died yet.

mistipurple - yeah, agree with you on ppl must work. i know ppl who has retired, when they have nothing to do... they die, they really die. but then again... like i said.... work is not killing us... it's us who is working ourselves to death... think about it... :) and yes.. we all need some rest ler... go get some!

Seok Thong - hahaha... which friend is that? i hope he is appropriately rewarded.

SuLee - aiyah... from rich family then easy to say la. i see those from small towns really working themselves till death in EY malaysia. oppps.. did i just disclose something?

Bengbeng - hahaha... since you're a guy... that sounded quite gay ler... haha!

Kenny Mah - hahaha... no la... just taking a break in the net :) 50% work and 50% social life is balanced already lor. too much life and you complain? i wish i have more heh!

mar said...

Zewt...*gulps*...what have I gotten myself INto?(@_@)"
But then...you've been in this field for 7years...so maybe I can still survive...ho?*prays*...I just hope I survive the coming months...*sigh*...yea,thanks for the opinion =) say...are u in big4?jz wondering...hehe.

SuLee said...

huh EY Malaysia..well not all of them lah, some of them really struggling and I agree to give up something like that it took lotsa courage

just like asking me to give up the time, sweat and blood I spent past 7 years in school. (not to mention money)

Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy said...

EY Romania?

To answer your question, no, I know it's not worth it.

There's more to life than the bank account. ;-)

-Princess Shin- said...

It's hard sometimes for people like this because their career is literally their life. I wonder how it feel like. But it's true. We just have to learn to let go and enjoy!

Have a nice holidays!

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ur blog on holiday mood also ar..no posts? hahaha

Russ said...

Happy Holiadys to you Mr Zewt... hehe, wah, as usual so much for me to read on your blog.. u really can post so much zewtpinions at such a speedy rate.. maximum respect to you.. :)

bubbly soda said...

i believe that people are always blurred by what they are chasing. The focus is the commitment of the race, you'll forget about the rest of the things. Let us all, stop and take a second look. Somehow, some people think its worth to pay for whatever they want. Even if they are overcharged. I call that Obsession.

Terra Shield said...

Work is like that... some places insist that improvements must be constantly implemented. Which means, that you're not only burdened with your own job, but also have to think of cost savings, improving the work area, visual control, reducing down time, etc.

Maybe some people just cannot handle the stress. It's sad really that things like that happen. Maybe it could be used as a lesson for all of us

zewt said...

mar - i used to be in a big 4. well, it was big 5 when i joined... then enron killed one of them... we'll all survive it... just what will be left of us when we leave such firm... that's what that matters.

SuLee - one thing though... those who managed to pluck their courage and go do their own thing... often ended up with better life.

Allan Yap & Nigel Skelchy - yup... life is about filing up our stomachs! haha! send my regards to allan.

Princess Shin - you just have to pluck some courage and do it. yeah, to some, career is their life. what they failed to realised is that... with a career, they are giving up their life.

constant craver joe - hahaha... something like that lor.

russ - thanks bro. i think i slowed down quite a bit already. too many holidays... no post during hols... :)

bubbly soda - stop and take a second look... hmmm... that's a really good idea. well... when something is cheap... it's of no value to some...

terra shield - yeah... i am working in such an environment. we must always improve from last year. the thing is... sometimes, room for improvement does run out. or at least... they get so small, you can hardly squeeze anything into it.

*cosmic freak* said...

on my defense,

mariah carey worked her ass off, colapsed and admitted in the hospital for over worked, came out with bigger boobs and a multi platinum album.

heh.

well ... I might've put up a wrong example there. heh.

SuLee said...

hmmm, there you go! maybe u should give that a deeper thought , but then of coz that is unless you hated your current job.

Anonymous said...

Hii...Im no blogger but enjoy reading blogs and i find ur blog interesting.. Anyway im starting to feel the world we are living in is devoid of variety... is it true that when one starts working, that person may be deprived of educating himself on other things besides his profession? If that is one of the factor, than it is not surprising that most ppl are unable to delve deeper into root of issues (especially abstract ones) affecting society... anyway that's what came across my mind..
-Aiman-

jaezrel said...

wow zewt on hols eh hehehehe

zewt said...

cosmic freak - oh well, i think ppl in her line of work wouldnt complain much... being her... it's the fans that are slaves... no?

SuLee - i wouldnt say i hate my current job but... let's just say i would prefer something less stressful.

Anonymous aka aiman - Hello there, welcome! Glad you found my blog interesting, it's very flaterring. hmmm... on your question, it is only natural that when one goes into a certain profession, one will try to improve oneself only in that field. other self improvement will have to be done out of personal interest, with time and money being the main consideration. dunno if that is considered deprivation.

jaezrel - means you have to work! haha!