When dying people look back on their lives, there are some common things they wish they had done differently. Not having followed one’s dreams is one common regret. Not having spent enough time with friends and family is another. But one thing people seldom regret on their deathbed is not having worked enough or not having made enough money.
We all know there are more important things in life than the rat race, but that doesn’t stop us from spending much of our lives working too much. Too much work not only causes mental stress; it hurts our physical health, too. According to one study that looked at 43 years of data on homemakers, those who took fewer vacations were twice as likely to die of heart attacks. Another study that looked at British civil servants found that those who worked more hours were twice as likely to suffer from depression.
Recognizing how detrimental overwork can be, some governments are cracking down. According to the local law in one small town in France, bakers must close at least once a week. Cedric Vaivre ignored the law and is now paying the price. He has been fined 3,000 Euros.
Not everyone thinks Cedric is a workaholic though. Christian Branle, the mayor, says, “You have to have a bit of common sense. There’s no competition here. Let people work, in order to cater to visitors who expect the service.” His customers also support him and have started a petition protesting his punishment.
On the other hand, union member Eric Scherrer says employment laws must be respected. “These people need to have a rest day each week. We can’t just allow them to work non-stop. It’s absolutely necessary that both bosses and employees have a day of rest.”
On the other side of the world, Japanese company Taisei is selling a high tech way of annoying people into stopping work. For about $5,000 a month, Taisei will send flying drones into offices in search of employees who are working too much. The drones will nag people to go home by blaring Auld Lang Syne, a song that is often played in Japanese stores at closing time. They are also equipped with cameras to record the workaholics who refuse to go home.