India's New Jobs Take Toll on Workers

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Every Saturday morning Dr. S. Kalyanasundaram knows whom to expect at the psychiatric clinic he runs at Shanthi nursing home in Jayanagar, Bangalore. It's the technology crowd, and their complaints tend to be of a similar nature: stress, panic attacks, depression, relationship troubles, alcoholism and eating disorders.

Between 20 and 33 years old and keen to hide their symptoms from employers and families, the patients have significantly increased Kalyanasundaram's workload.

"They work somewhere between a 10- and a 14-hour day, which, in my view, is just not healthy. They have no time for their partners and children, even more so if both partners go out to work. But ask them why they work so hard and they say it is absolutely necessary because someone is always waiting to take their job. Their way of coping is to hit the pub."

According to a report in the Indian Express newspaper, one in 15 people seeking counseling from a doctor in Chennai, India, works either in software or at a call center. But while stress and burnout are familiar topics of conversation among India's educated, outsourced workforce, their employers are "in denial," said Kalyanasundaram.

"They just do not want to know about it," he said. "It remains too heavily stigmatized. Stress is seen as a weakness of personality." (not sure if you need to login to read the article)