"They keep getting promoted time after time. And they're overpaid too," the man in his 40s, the staff member of a Tokyo-based securities firm, complains bitterly to Nikkan Gendai (Feb 25).
If the tabloid is to be believed, the foreign staff at securities firms in Japan are "second-rate sycophants" who couldn't make it in their own home countries. But they manage to get ahead because they are so-called "heart-core shakers," i.e., they know how to toady up to their bosses.
"Quite a few of them are virtuosos at butt-kissing," is how the source puts it.
For example, there's the time when a certain foreign staff member (nationality not mentioned) invited his Japanese boss and his wife to a Christmas party. Corks on bottles of pricey champagne popped one after the next, and the worker, batting his blue eyes, made the wife join in for an off-key duet of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" in Japanese. He then, in fractured Japanese, praised his boss in front of his wife as being "great to work for."
Another foreign staff member overheard his boss mention that he wanted to try Belgian beer. "I know a place!" he exclaimed. The establishment happened to be a stand-up bar, so the worker brought a chair for the boss from his home, and the boss wound up being the only customer seated in the place. "I brought it 'cause I thought he might be tired," came the limp explanation.
"Before, my company was operated like the loyalty-based culture of an empress's court," recalls the aforementioned Japanese employee. "The workers who performed their jobs faithfully would get promoted. But now the system of merit-based promotions has changed, and there are lots of female managers in their 40s and 50s, who are infatuated with foreigners."
"Even if these guys do second-rate work, they're super first-rate when it comes to making buddies with the right people on the job," another Japanese worker in his 30s complains.
According to one story, a certain foreign staff member went so far as to arrange to move close to where his boss lived, and each morning had his wife pick the boss up and drive the two of them all the way to the office, in hopes they would form a closer relationship while commuting.
There is even a rumor floating around that to cater to the supervisor's desire for his son to become a cosmopolitan, the foreigner introduced the boy to a residence hall at his famous alma mater, and presented the boss with an oil painting that had been in his family for generations. A young Japanese staff member would have to be really sharp to overcome a foreign rival at this kind of game.
"Under the influence of globalization, in Japanese companies it's no longer the personnel department that determines workers' future. Rather, it's the supervisors now who hold all the power," explains business journalist Noboru Kurihara. "So all personnel matters hang on their decisions. Brown-nosing them becomes more and more effective.
"So instead of resenting the foreign staff, you'd better learn to refine your techniques at buttering up the bosses, even to the point -- in Kurihara's words, "kisu-asu ni nareru gurai" -- "of getting used to ass-kissing."© Japan Today