A 24-Year-Old Office Worker in Japan Takes Us Inside the Barbaric 80-Hour Work Week

A 24-Year-Old Office Worker in Japan Takes Us Inside the Barbaric 80-Hour Work Week
Benny Luo
By Benny Luo
March 13, 2015
Have you ever complained about working too much in your nine-to-five job? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but there are people who have it way worse. One such person is a man in Japan that goes by the screenname handle “Stu in Tokyo” on YouTube.
In a video that recently went viral, Stu documented one week in his life where he worked 13 hours a day on average, often leaving work after 11 p.m. and sleeping less than 6 hours every night. Stu, who works in the financial services industry, is expected to do this from January to March every year during his job’s busy season.

According to CNNMoney, Japanese office workers, who are expected to always put the company first, are considered by many to be the backbone of Japan’s economy. Their long hours at work are often followed by drinking sessions with clients and colleagues, which is why so many are found in the subway system late at night.
Recently, we had the pleasure of interviewing Stu. Here, he goes into more detail about his work life and whether he actually likes what he does.
How old are you? What did you do before this job and how did you end up in Tokyo?

“I’m 24 and did a similar job back in the U.K. for a while, also with a busy season similar to the one shown in the video. Before that I taught English in Southern Japan and fell in love with the language and culture whilst I was there. I primarily wanted to come back to improve my Japanese and experience working in Tokyo.”

What does your company do? What happens during the busy season that causes you to work so many hours?

“I’m afraid I can’t talk about my work specifically, and I would really appreciate it if you would keep my surname and company name private, but essentially like any seasonal business, demand for products and services spike during a particular time of the year. As a result, the team makes every effort to satisfy this demand. It’s really not uncommon practice in businesses all over the world, and we’re treated very well during this period so I want to stress that it’s not a negative experience! No one is made to do anything they don’t want to do.”

How do you stay healthy and not get sick sleeping so little and working so much? Care to share any secrets?

“If you’re feeling particularly tired or unwell, management insists you get some rest and start fresh the next day, and that’s what we do. For me personally, I eat well, drink lots of tea and make sure I take regular breaks to rest my eyes from the computer screen and move around a bit to keep the circulation going!”

Do you you actually enjoy what you do? How do you keep yourself sane and mentally charged to go to work every day?

“I really enjoy it! It helps that the team I work with is great, and we all support each other during this busy time. I wouldn’t be willing to work this hard if I didn’t enjoy it to be honest!”

What’s your ultimate dream job/career?

“I’m sure like many people my age, I still have no idea! I love trying new things and seeing what I like. The problem is that I seem to have an interest in most things that I try … ”

Do you know of anyone else that works long hours regularly at their job? Can you imagine yourself doing it?

“I have a lot of friends that work long hours regularly all over the world, especially in London. As I say, what I’m doing here isn’t special in the slightest! If I enjoyed it enough I could do it for more of the year, but I would have to really love that job.”

Lastly, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Do what you love, love what you do. Surround yourself with those that inspire you, and distance yourself from the things that make you unhappy.”

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