Overworked girlfriend

Can anyone shed some light of the issue of overwork?

Ya see, my girlfriend runs a small business from home, which is all good, but she works really crazy hours. Yesterday she worked a solid 20 hour day, got to bed at 8am, got up at 10am and is straight back into it today. Pretty much the same thing, day in, day out. An average working week for her would be around 112 hrs, with around 28 hours sleep.

I think it’s great that she’s so passionate about running her own business and well, the hard work is paying off because she’s doing really well. But I am worried to hell about her health and the long-term effects of working too much. It’s not often stressful work, but does entail sitting in front of a computer almost the whole time.

Now, is this [over]work ethic a fairly common thing in Taiwan? I know people keep stranger hours than back home, but surely it’s uncommon for people to work THAT hard, right?


The real question is …

Does working like that validate your existence ?

I feel for her and other’s that choose to work like that. I don’t think it’s neccesary. Maybe I’m just too lethargic. It certainly can not be healthy for her. At least someone cares - Good on you.

Try to get her to use an LCD monitor instead of a CRT monitor and get her all the ergonomic chairs, desks, wristpad etc as possible. Also take her out and do something active. It should balance out more.

copy and show her some articles about "death due to overwork(

Stevegan, did she start her own business recently? If yes, well, she might eventually “calm down” a bit and think more about work-life-balance. When I started my own company I was so terribly motivated that I almost worked around the clock as well.

Does she actually look tired an overworked? There are some persons (just a very tiny percentage of the population) who simply don’t need more than 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Did she sleep more before starting her business?

Did you ever indicate (directly or indirectly) that she doesn’t have to start her own business or that she is not capable of doing this? If so, she probably won’t listen if you tell her to work less because she wants to prove you were wrong.

What is her family saying? Do they know how much she works? Do they endorse it?

I think what “sticks of fury” wrote is very important, too. A lot of people I know who work from home don’t care about ergonomics (“I can use this old table and that kitchen chair, no problem, really”).

If her business is doing well, suggest to her that she consider hiring other people, even part timers, which will allow her to focus on the important stuff and leverage her time more effectively. This might go down a little easier than suggesting she take it easy on her business (her passion and identity)

A lot of my concern is that she’s already showing lots of signs of fatigue: bad skin, aching or numb limbs, extreme lethargy, headaches, stomach cramps and weight loss.

I’ve always been 100% behind her doing her own thing - in this case, starting her own business. So no, she’s not doing it to get back at me :slight_smile:

Her family don’t really know that she works so hard, but her mother is pretty greedy and there’s a bit of pressure from her for money.

My gf already has 3 part-time staff, which take a fair amount of pressure off her! Although I have my own business which keeps me busy, I still do what I can to help out with hers, which in some cases means I’m doing 16+ hours a day too.

I like the advice about getting her ergonomic equipment. She could definitely use it! I will see what I can find. It’s almost impossible to get her to do anything active these days.

I am a bit cautious about telling her about ‘death due to overwork’ cases. I think her attitude to that would be “Well, I need the money, and the work HAS to be done… so great… now I’m gonna die doing it?”. I have read a few cases myself recently, which is partially what prompted me to write in here. I’m just looking for a subtle way to let her know that overwork is a killer.

I gotta say, thanks for all your replies. There’s some great advice here.

Maybe this is the true problem? I’m just guessing here, of course, but I noticed that the only situation were my Taiwanese girlfriend is in danger of overworking is when her family asks her to do something.

A few minutes (15-30) of simple Yoga exercises per day can be very beneficial as well. A very overworked friend from New York gave me this URL, maybe it’s useful. If you can’t motivate her to do that, you could buy one of those chi-machines, massage machines or massage chairs… However, I feel a little uncomfortable with giving this advice because it won’t make her work less.

Print out pictures of her when she was not yet overworked and put them all over the place? :wink:

Or visit someone you know and who is working too much as well. This might make her say things like “when we saw last year, she looked 10 years younger.” Or have friends visit her and say such things (well, that’s not subtle any more :wink: ).

Interestingly, I’m in a similar situation at the moment with one of my girlfriend’s relatives. Saturday night, she managed to crash her brand new Mercedes (there was no other car involved), yesterday, she locked herself out of the house, but of course this has nothing to do with her working too much (at least that’s what she is saying). BTW, her husband doesn’t care, he’s currently on a “golf tour” in Asia.

All of you made very valid points and I agree 100%. I have another point to make. If her business is doing well tell her to get an office outside of the home. Working at home is great but the problem is you never stop. Why? Because it’s sooo (tooo) convienent to work. It’s not healthy for her to work 20 hours a day. Does she take breaks aside from lunch and dinner? Even if she opens an office on another floor of your building, the point is to get the computer and the work out of your living space.

I had a friend once who worked pretty much 24 hours a day, he just couldn’t stop working. The tension kept building that he would get email messages during the night and he HAD to respond immediately in order to get a good reputation as a good business and not to fall behind in his work. Your girlfriend is getting to this stage as she is already working 20 hours a day. Rent a cheap office space somewhere so she can still work late, but she has to come home and forget about her work for awhile.

better yet, pray for a power outage, she will have to take some time off.

Yes, how a message should be sent to a person is important and varies among different people. If my health were going downhill due to overwork, I would hope somebody hits me right on the head to waken me from that (

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