There are so many things wrong with this culture we've built for ourselves, and the resulting reliance on stimulants to keep up. The hardest working are usually underpaid in low level positions, and the work ethic seems to get explained away with, "this is how you work your way up". Working insane hours with no breaks benefits no one, and makes people rely on things like energy drinks to keep them going. I wish there was some kind of shift to refocus on work/life balance, and that it isn't just a buzzword that companies use to draw you in to work for them.
A copywriter collapsed and died over the weekend shortly after tweeting about working for over 30 hours straight.
Mita Diran regularly turned to Twitter and Tumblr to vent about working ridiculously long hours for her employer, Young & Rubicam Indonesia.
"The more you spend time at the office, the more you consider moving your bed here," she wrote back in October.
Her tweets were often accompanied by the hashtag #AgencyLife.
On December 14, Diran was again on Twitter. "30 hours of working and still going strooong," she tweeted.
Hours later she suffered heart failure and slipped into a coma from which she wouldn't awake.
Though Diran's death was immediately attributed to overwork — A Path post attributed to her father, an ad agency employee himself, suggests Diran may have been working for up to three days straight — local media reports say her regular consumption of the energy drink Krating Daeng (also known as "Thai Red Bull") may have also contributed to her sudden demise.
Y&R, which hired Diran back in May of 2012, has since released the following statement:
Dear Friends and Colleagues in the Advertising & Marketing community,
It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that we have to inform you we have lost our friend, sister, and work colleague, Mita Diran, earlier this evening. Mita was a talented copywriter with a gentle smile who will always live on in our hearts.
We have been to Mita's family residence tonight and expressed our sincere condolences on behalf of Y&R Group Indonesia. It is a great loss and we wish Mita's family the faith and strength in each other in going through this extremely difficult time.
Tomorrow, December 16, we will close the office for the day to pay our last respects to Mita at her funeral at Jeruk Purut cemetery at 10 AM. Let us all take a day of silence tomorrow and give Mita's family the support and prayers that they need, from the bottom of our hearts.
Sincerely, Y&R Group Indonesia
Sadly, Diran is not the first young ad agency employee this year to die after spending an impossible number of hours in the office.
In May, Ogilvy & Mather China confirmed that 24-year-old Li Yuan collapsed at his desk from an apparent cardiac arrest after working until 11 p.m. every day for a month.
He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.