Thursday, November 6, 2008


For those of you not versed in Japanese, karoshi basically means death from overwork. In Japan this type of death occurs frequently enough so as to warrant it's own category in statistics. The reason I bring it up now, is that for the last two days, we've had a visit from a Japanese colleague (Associate Professor) who plans on spending his sabbatical working in our lab. In talking to him and learning about how the life of a tenured faculty member proceeds in Japan, I couldn't help but remember an old post about a teacher who was whining and complaining about how underappreciated, underpaid and overworked she was. To quote the dumbass in question, she uttered that "Eg har venar i alle yrke, og ingen arbeider meir og tener mindre enn meg" ("I've got friends in all professions, and nobody works more and earns less than me").

For the benefit of said dumbass, here's a brief overview of the average week of my Japanese colleague.
  • Get up at 6:30-7 AM. Hope to see wife and four year old daughter before it's off to work.
  • Just before 8 AM: Get to train station for the 1 hour commute to university
  • 9 AM to 6 PM: Teach undergraduate and graduate classes, including laboratory.
  • 6 PM to 10:30 PM: Advise students and do own research.
  • 10:30 PM: Mosey on down to the train station for 1 hour commute home.
  • ~11:30 PM: Get home way after daughter has gone to sleep
  • Repeat
The pay ain't much to brag about either, and let me assure you that considering the years of education involved and the relative costs of living in Japan and Norway, the dumbass teacher is making way more than my honorable Japanese colleague.

Differently put; I seriously doubt that karoshi occurs among Norwegian teachers.


Anders said...

If an associate professor works that much in Japan, just image the workload of a teacher!

Anders said...

But it just shows, no matter how much you work, there is always somebody doing more then you.

I hope we don't get these kind of conditions in Norway.

Wilhelm said...

There's ALWAYS someone who works harder for less money than you, so the aforementioned dumbass teacher should pour herself a big, tall glass of STFU

Anders said...

So it's a "her" now? Because men aren't that whiney?

Wilhelm said...

..this teacher was always "her", from what I can remember

You wouldn't be tryin' to stir shit up, would ya'?

Torbjørn said...

Was I the only teacher who though I didn't have to work much?

Less work and better pay than bus-driving, I tell you that!

Anders said...

Nuthin' says Friday as a bit of shit throwing...


Wilhelm said...

..that's exactly what I'm talking about, T-bombz.

There was a time when teachers in Norway were severely underpaid, but those days are definitely over when comparing salary, working hours etc. to many other professions here in Norway