American Karoshi — the Problem with Work Stress

Workers at every level have more job stress, and less job control. Epidemiologists say that adds up to more chronic illness. And death.
March 29, 2022

In Japan, generations of workers have given their all to the code of Karoshi. It’s a word that literally means, “Work til you die."  

Few Americans know the word “Karoshi.” We don’t think it happens here. But the workplace now actually ranks as the fifth leading cause of death in America. 

To help us understand work stress better, we’re joined by the co-directors of the Healthy Work Campaign. Marnie Dobson and Peter Schnall. How do we shift from work being something that can make your life miserable, to something that can enhance the quality of your life? It comes down to how much power, control and autonomy you have at work.

The podcast is a partnership of New America and Slate, and sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Subscribe to get all the new episodes on Slate, Apple podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.


  • Cate Lindemann, a lawyer in Illinois who suffered a stress-induced heart attack
  • Cherri Murphy, a pastor and former Lyft driver in California
  • Marnie Dobson and Peter Schnall, co-directors of the Healthy Work Campaign