Reader Mail

Refusing overtime should be a choice

The Media Mix column headlined “Missing an opportunity to tackle workplace woes” in the May 19 issue brought me back to my dismal career as a worker.

About three decades ago, I was employed by a prestigious company where working overtime was common among all employees. I regarded working long hours from a viewpoint of diligence and obedience, which have been considered virtues.

Why did I go along with this? One reason is that I was afraid of dismissal, because in a poor family I had to work for a living, and it was a financially stable company. Therefore, I tolerated some sexual harassment from a co-worker. Now I realize I had underestimated myself. What a shame!

However, every cloud has a silver lining. The TV drama mentioned in the column, “I Will Not Work Overtime, Period!” shows us that when everyone works more efficiently, they don’t have to work overtime. Recent deaths from overwork also make employees want to protect their own lives more.

Workers have the right, guaranteed by law, to diverse ideas and values. This article will help push some workers, stressing out in the corner of their workplace, to consider how work styles can be more flexible and diverse. They can even consult a legal expert for advice.

MIEKO OKABE
YOKOHAMA

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.