(So happy to be back on CNBC and NBCNews.com again. I’m scheduled to be on television Friday night — NBC Nightly with Brian Williams — to discuss this story).
A toxic combination of digital leashes, the hypnotic effects of technology, economic anxiety, and caffeine is encouraging workers to push far beyond normal limits in the name of hard work.
It’s a costly trend. Consequences range from poor work and long unscheduled absences, to workers paying with their health, and in rare cases, their lives.
Take Mita Diran. The 24-year-old advertising copywriter worked for 30 hours straight just before Christmas, bragged that she was “still going strooong” on Twitter, and dropped dead within hours. The young Indonesian was the latest high-profile victim of what some are now calling “binge working.”
Diran’s story is eerily similar to that of Li Yuan, an ad writer at Ogilvy & Mather in China, whose heart stopped in May after similar bouts of overwork.
It’s also similar to the sorry tale of Moritz Erhardt. He died after a three-day work binge at Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch office in London. Erhartdt was a 21-year-old intern, and apparently desperate to prove himself worthy of a full-time job in banking. The death has prompted the bank to take steps to ease the frantic working conditions for ambitious junior staffers.