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Work like a dog and suffer


14:26, June 11, 2013

(Photo from China Daily)

Death from overwork is becoming common, writes He Na, so white-collar workers have to change their lifestyle and read the symptoms of an impending danger to avoid disaster.

A 24-year-old employee at Ogilvy China, a public relations consultancy in Beijing, died after suffering a heart attack at work on May 13. According to investigations, his micro blog showed that he had been working overtime for a month without a break. Almost a month has passed, and many of his colleagues and friends still refuse to accept that he is dead. "He didn't talk much. But he was broad-minded and healthy. He loved sports and had a passion for music … whenever I think of him a picture of a happy and energetic man appears in front of my eyes," recalled one of his colleagues who didn't want to be named.

Two days later, on May 15, another 24-year-old man, who worked for a well-known IT company in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, suddenly collapsed at a bus station in the morning and died two hours later in a hospital despite doctors' desperate attempt to save him. He had a heavy workload and often worked late into the night, which have been blamed for his sudden death.

No words can express the loss of such young lives, and the list of people dying from overwork is lengthening by the day. Overwork has become a hot topic of discussion on the Internet and triggered a public outcry. And netizens have urged the authorities to establish a healthy working style and take measures to relieve the pressure on employees.

"I've put myself to different tests to see if I'm overworked or not, and all the results show that I am," says Zhang Yingying, 32, who works for an education service company in Beijing. Zhang is in charge of arranging teachers' training meetings and spends most of her time traveling. As a team leader, she often has to attend to more than 100 people at a time, which includes arranging for their train tickets, rooms, meals, course selection, sightseeing and safety.

"The upcoming summer vacation is the busiest time of the year for us. I didn't get a single day off for two months last year. Generally speaking, at least two people are needed to organize a meeting. But to cut the costs, one person has to do the work of two people," she says.

She stayed in her Beijing home for only about a week in May. Now she is in Shanghai for a meeting, which is scheduled to continue until June 15.

"I feel sleepy all the time. I used to have thick hair, which is now thinning. I joined a gym for one year, but in the past six months I have been there only twice," she says.

Zhang has a performance-related pay and the company decides all the employees' bonus at the end of every month. "For the sake of money and face, I have to work overtime. But I'm a little worried because I'm still single, and I really don't want to die young," Zhang says in a lighter vein.

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