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Newly hired Japanese list 5 business manners they find unnecessary

51 Comments
By Casey Baseel, RocketNews24

With rules regarding everything from tea to elevators, some new employees think it’s all too much.

As we recently looked at, the heavy importance Japan places on etiquette can, in some instances, end up having the opposite of the intended effect. So it stands to reason that if some people don’t find it particularly beneficial to be on the receiving end of such standardized acts of attempted respect and kindness, they don’t see the point in doing them for others, either.

Yet manners remain incredibly important in Japan, especially in professional environments. But since culture is a constantly evolving thing, some young employees don’t understand the customs pushed upon them by their older coworkers.

Internet portal R25 and I Research recently polled 200 participants, 100 men and 100 women, all of whom have been working in their companies for three years or less, and asked them what business manners they feel are unnecessary. Respondents listed their top three picks, with their number-one choice getting three points, their number-two two, and their number-three one. When all the points were tallied, the top five were:

  1. Being expected to notify your office that you’ll be missing work by phone instead of email or Line message (49 points)

If you’ve got a stomach flu or high fever, no doubt you’d rather fire off a quick “I won’t be in today” email and go right back to bed, as opposed to calling the office, navigating the phone tree, and being put on hold just to finally tell your supervisor the same thing with your own voice. Still, some managers insist on a phone call, either because it demands more immediate attention and lets them know they’ll be short one set of hands for the day, or maybe so that they can judge just how sick the absent employee really sounds.

  1. When seeing a client off at the elevator, having to continue bowing until the doors close completely (62 points)

Much like how classy retail shops in Japan will walk their customers to the exit after they make a purchase, it’s customary to accompany your client to the elevator after a meeting that takes place above the first floor of a building. Since the amount of respect a bow conveys is directly tied to how long it lasts, traditional etiquette dictates that you remain bent at the hips until the elevator doors cut off your client’s view. If you misestimate how long it’ll take the doors to close, though, you’re left with an awkwardly long and uncomfortable gesture.

3, After being served tea at a client’s office, not taking a sip until your client does so first (85 points)

t the start of a meeting, usually a junior staff member will serve tea to everyone in attendance. However, immediately gulping down the beverage makes it look like you’re more interested in the free drinks than forging a successful business relationship. It’s more polite to wait for your counterpart to take a sip first, but herein lies the paradox, since often he’ll be waiting for you to take the first sip, especially if you’re a guest in his office and he wants to appear a gracious host.

The end result is often two thirsty businesspeople with cups of full, lukewarm tea in front of them.

  1. Picking up the phone before it rings for a third time (98 points)

This one is actually a bit puzzling, since it sort of seems like common sense that if the phone is ringing, it’s a good idea to answer it as soon as you can, even if it’s just to tell the person on the other end to please hold. Maybe it’s the oft-demanded limit of “two rings or less” that irks some younger workers, such as the 25-year-old woman who made this one of her picks while saying “I can’t be worrying about the phone all the time.”

  1. Having to be at your desk five minutes before work starts (102 points)

Perhaps as a reaction to how many jobs in Japan demand employees work overtime whenever the company wants them to, the top choice from survey respondents was the common expectation that employees be at their desks, ready to go, at least five minutes before their shift begins.

While punctuality is of course important, the implication that being on time means you’re actually late irked a large number of respondents. This makes sense when you take into account the young age of those polled. Having been at their companies for a short time, few, if any, of them are likely to be managers, so those five pre-start minutes might be spent just twiddling their thumbs and waiting for their boss to give the their tasks for the day.

There’s also the slippery slope that when five minutes early is the new on-time, expectations can shift, and suddenly in order to prove yourself an enthusiastic, conscientious worker, you’ll need to show up 10, or 15, minutes early. That then leads to the danger of a manager saying, “Well, since everyone’s already here, let’s get started,” and before you know it, you’re working not just overtime after your shift is supposed to end, but also before it should start (would that be called “undertime?”).

Still, with all the little things that can go wrong at the start of the day as computers boot up and messages come in, it’s not completely unreasonable for senior employees to want a bit of buffer time so that work can actually get started on schedule. There’s also the fact that of the 200 people I Research polled, nearly half, 49 percent, said they didn’t have any complaints involving the business manners they were expected to adhere to.

So while some new employees don’t see the point of some of these customs, odds are they’re not going away anytime soon, at least until those who disagree with them work their way high enough up the corporate ladder to start making the rules themselves.

Source: R25 via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Five ways to piss off your older Japanese coworkers at a new job -- Is Japan overworking its teachers? One exhausted educator says, “YES!” -- Company’s smoking regulations cover all bases with math, technology, psychology, and courtesy

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51 Comments
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So much of this seems so tedious. But #5 is a weird one. Even back in the States texting to your boss to announce your absence is seriously bad form. Just pick up the darn phone, how lazy can you be?

4 ( +10 / -6 )

5 is so they can see how sick you really are and it gives them immediate attention to the matter. In the US the majority of bosses I've worked for always asked for a call first, unless you're in the hospital, ICU, emergency room or completely incapacitated.
4 ( +5 / -1 )

Of all the gripes the newbies could have these actually seem the most trivial.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

If these are the "worst" things they find unnecessary odds are they are working somewhere decent. Typically kissing one's bosses butt is a requirement "manner-wise" for new employees too!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I actually love Japanese punctuality and completely understand J companies want to keep things the way they are. The 5min early thing is anecdotal imo.

Re n5 and not calling your boss to tell him you're sick I would be ok with that if I trust my employees. Problem is many ppl would/do take advantage of it. In oz 'chucking a sickie' is part of ppl's dna and I once worked for a company where it was ok to sms/email or vm me to call in sick, and they sure did! I hated it and raised it with CEO and HR but was told 'we don't want to upset staff". Soft approach if you ask me, you should be able to discuss these issues with your staff.

Excessive bowing in Japan? lost cause

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Unfortunately, many business cultures in Japan evolve around intimidation and asserting one's position in the hierarchy. I had a similar issue a few weeks ago. I had a herniated disc in my lower back and was housebound for a week. The pain and discomfort are extreme! It struck me on the tuesday night. I called them at 7am on Wednesday to tell them the news and that I would not be able to come in for the rest of the week. I was ordered to call at 7am every day. I called them on the Thursday morning and made it very clear I would not be at work on Friday due to barely being able to get out of bed. Friday morning rolled around and I didn't call them because I was lucky enough to get a few hours sleep. I got a call from the supervisor at 10am and he was fuming that I didn't call him even though, I had made it very clear I would not be able to go to work on the previous morning. I reiterated that I had made it very clear I would not be at work due to my condition and he literally started screaming at me through the phone that I had to call him every morning. He then went on with calling my a liar (with a doctor's certificate) and a racist tirade about I come from a strange country that doesn't expect their employees to call them every morning. When I asked him why I had to call him every morning his onlt answer was [screaming] "kino dame!" (Yesterday no!). Since then, he has not spoken to me at all and just snarles at me whenever he walks past my desk. This is blatant power harrassment and position justification! He is an old fool and has no power over my employment, but he is quite happy to use this incident to assert his position. Oh, and not once did he ask about my condition. Possibly, I should stop laughing at him when he walks passed. :P

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Being at work 5 minute before start is kind of a common rule me thinks, although I have to admit that back home we could come between 8:45 and 9:15 and leave between 17:45 and 18:15. The problem I have with the company in Japan is that even if you are a minute late is that you will lose 30 minutes of salary, and even if you work 15 minutes over time to make up for being late, that doesn't count.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When seeing a client off at the elevator, having to continue bowing until the doors close completely

I really dislike number 4, whether I am the client or the one seeing off the client.

...he literally started screaming at me through the phone that I had to call him every morning. He then went on with calling my a liar (with a doctor's certificate) and a racist tirade about I come from a strange country that doesn't expect their employees to call them every morning.

@Disillusioned I'm feel very sorry for you having to endure that. I would recommend recording your phone calls with him given the likelihood that this could become a labor issue.

I hope you are able to find a job with humane working conditions. Time to get out of Dodge.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Facetime is the bane of all existence. Get your work done well and you can go home, otherwise stay and finish it. Don't force people to stay after hours just because their boss is having marital problems and doesn't want to leave.

The after work drinks are the worst - people who can't drink are forced to, and you can't say no.

Japan work culture for you - no wonder there's a shortage of talent.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I would advise any young Japanese person to learn English and go abroad for their career. There are so many more opportunities.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I am not surprised new hired having lack of business manners, I can see it every day, it does explain why the quality of service is so degrading in Japan.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

@Disillusioned: Woah where do you work? I would struggle to work in such a toxic workplace. How did the relationship between workers in your workplace get that poor?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Disillusioned, holy smokes! how bad are things for you that you have to work there?!!! get a new job, but don't forget to pop your boss in the jaw before you leave...

3 ( +6 / -3 )

@Disillusioned, after 16 years here, I have never had that happen to me. I would be well on my way to a new job if if someone called me up to shout at me, while I was sick, after I had specifically told them that I would be away for x number of days. I would also be taking an extra day or two and would explain that my recovery was impaired by my inability to rest.

As for the blatantly discriminatory comments, I watched the mama-san (who is Japanese) of my favorite restaurant absolutely school someone by saying that the problem with salary men is that they work themselves to death, sacrifice all of their free time to be at work instead of enjoying themselves or spending time with their families and lack the wherewithal to imagine any other way. Not everyone here has that mindset, but there are enough people who think like that in positions of power to make everybody else miserable.

On a brighter note, the old guys will run the show for another 10 years or so, things are changing with the younger generation. As they get older and more jaded, you can expect more people to answer back and less people to uphold the antiquated norms. There will be fireworks.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Hi Disillusioned, Humbly make a detailed fomal incident report, times and date etc

I assuming a chain of command is in place. I am afraid bully and harassment in the work place is still common the stress factor is major cause of injury to mental health.

If you dig deep and summon up the courage, make a fomal compliant to his manager.

Etiquette will dictate that you will have to inform him of your choice of action. End confrontation by polite refusal to continue being the subjected to his abuse bullying and harassment. Use the term formally and directly.

In many cases these individuals don't confine there abusive conduct to single incidents, more often than not it blatant and will continue unless halted.

All the best.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What about the whole (almost religious) ritual of exchanging of meshi?! Telling everyone in the office you're going home or going out? Many more - it's an attitude that contributes to the low productivity Japan has.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Disillusioned, if your still recovering & making these stupid phone calls, make sure you record them your boss is a real schmuck, I hope he unable to cause more problems than just being an idiot!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The problem I have with the company in Japan is that even if you are a minute late is that you will lose 30 minutes of salary, and even if you work 15 minutes over time to make up for being late, that doesn't count.

First off, most definitely not all companies are like this, not at all. Sounds like you work for a rather hard-ass company that likes to control it's employees and you work for or are paid by the hour.

In a more typical Japanese company if a person is late they can cover the missed amount of time with their vacation/leave time so there would be no salary cut.

I can understand too the working 15 minutes late as not counting as well, if a person is supposed to be there at a set time it's their responsibility to do so, that's what they are hired for, not for making it up later.,

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In a more typical Japanese company if a person is late they can cover the missed amount of time with their vacation/leave time so there would be no salary cut.

Yubaru, you'd be surprised: in some very well-known and desirable companies, a single minute late means being penalized half a day of vacation time, and it can't be made up with even a much larger amount of unpaid overtime.

Punctuality is important, but here it is really taken to extremes at times.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The problem I have with the company in Japan is that even if you are a minute late is that you will lose 30 minutes of salary, and even if you work 15 minutes over time to make up for being late, that doesn't count.

I once worked somewhere where they had this rule (15 mins deduction of salary at this particular place). So I sat down and read the newspaper on the basis you are not paying me so this is my time. The boss was beside himself but I refused to budge. I'd like to say it changed things but of course, it did not. But my word, I look back on those 15 mins with some pride.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Interesting. These are not the five I would have listed. I would have gone with (in no special order)

Sitting in a meeting for hours on end pretending that everyone's opinion is important when in fact it's top down and the boss will decide. Better yet, wondering if he already has and yet, still decided on the meeting.

Having a meeting before the meeting to decide what we'll talk about in the meeting...

The silly kohl/sempai thing. "You will respect me because I am older!" Never mind that many older folks don't do squat at work, last did any professional development before I was born, have no idea what's going on currently but hey, you're older so therefore I must respect you... (I don't have this problem personally but have watched it play out time and time again)

Office ladies, receptionists, elevator girls... Call them whatever you want but "office flowers" who have no real job except to sit there, shut up, look pretty and cater to the men in terms of tea, coffee and smiling.

The silly rules and unnecessary busy work people create for themselves. I need to speak to so and so and check with so and so about such and such a thing when I could easily speak to the person who is in charge of whatever but nope, I must follow the line of command and create busy work for others so they can pretend to look like they are working hard.
6 ( +6 / -0 )

in some very well-known and desirable companies, a single minute late means being penalized half a day of vacation time, and it can't be made up with even a much larger amount of unpaid overtime.

Punctuality is important, but here it is really taken to extremes at times.

If the company has that policy, then one should aim to arrive at work with enough leeway that they won't be a minute late. Instead of timing the commute so that they arrive five minutes early, they should time it so they arrive 15 or 20 minutes early. This way if they run into something unexpected, they still have some space to be on time.

If they don't want to be at their desk 15-20 minutes early for work, then sit outside the workplace somewhere and do something to clear their head for the working day - reading, watching, smoking, whatever. Then walk in with a few minutes to spare, rather than running in because they haven't left themselves any leeway in their commuting time.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Yubaru, you'd be surprised: in some very well-known and desirable companies, a single minute late means being penalized half a day of vacation time, and it can't be made up with even a much larger amount of unpaid overtime. Punctuality is important, but here it is really taken to extremes at times.

No I would not be surprised. On the other side of the coin there are places that allow people to take leave time by the minute too. It's all a matter of administration policy.

It is not an extreme, it's called the real world. You want to be late, suffer the consequences, you want a job where there is no need to be punctual, start your own business.

I do not understand the mentality that people have regarding the work rules of a company THEY choose to work at, there are options....number one...quit.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Wow. Some of you really seem to think anyone being a few minutes late every now and then is not okay. I am a stickler for punctuality but things happen. I worked for a company that expected me to punch in 15 earlier than I started work. Fine The issue is that I didn't get paid for those 15 minutes and I wasn't allowed to leave 15 minutes early.

I know of companies here that offer "flex" time but it really isn't. If you are 30 minutes late in the morning - say due to finding childcare for a sick kid - you don't just stay 30 minutes late. It's counted as taking half a day off. The inflexibility with work and rules is what is killing Japan in terms of population, business... But hey, that's the "real world" for some it seems.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Since the amount of respect a bow conveys is directly tied to how long it lasts, traditional etiquette dictates that you remain bent at the hips until the elevator doors cut off your client’s view. If you misestimate how long it’ll take the doors to close, though, you’re left with an awkwardly long and uncomfortable gesture.

This is just so ripe for comedy. If the client just decides to have a bit of fun he purposely hold the open button inside the elevator and see how long the employees can hold it before their backs/hips give out. Once they try to straighten themselves up thinking their guest has left, the client pops out and the employees, thinking they miscalculated, quickly resume their bent positions again. Almost like a comic skit.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Being expected to notify your office that you’ll be missing work by phone instead of email or Line message (49 points)

That's normal where I work. Not sure why phoning is a problem...

Having to be at your desk five minutes before work starts (102 points)

I'm at work an hour before... only way I can get parked.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

When seeing a client off at the elevator, having to continue bowing until the doors close completely

This is actually not just elevators, but also other public places like the kaisatsu guchis at the train station.

This can result in a complete public nuisance, as you have a crowd of people bowed over at the kaisatsu guchi, blocking every other unrelated party from getting through the frikkin ticket gate.

Think about where you say your sayonaras, Japanese people!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You don't need to be a "newly hired" to see completely unnecessary stuff every day. I work partly from home for many translation companies, and I swear, EVERY single e-mail you have to write exactly as follows: (name of the guy) 様, こんにちは。(your name)です。いつもお世話になっております。and go to the topic.. even if the guy replies to you within 5 minutes, you have to write everything again and then proceed to the e-mail, closing it with the omnipresent よろしくお願いいたします。 (and your name). So much time wasted to say Mr X, Hi. How doing? It's me, Y... totally pointless imho.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Thunderbird, you raise an excellent example of completely unproductive Japanese behaviour. (To be fair there are such formalities in English emails too, but fewer words are involved I believe.)

For emails to external parties it might be tolerated it, but it is frequently standard etiquette even for internal emails where people are supposed to be working together to get the job done.

Managers might consider internally banning such wastes of company time, or if such etiquette must be upheld for the sake of everyone feeling Japanese, at least encourage the use of email templates, or educate people with computer skills such as auto-complete typing techniques to boost productivity. This alone could achieve more than Abenomics has for economic growth in Japan.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks to everyone for your supporting comments. Now, to fill in the blanks, this is a private high school and the tyrant is the head English teacher. It is a good job with a good salary and bonuses. I have been working there for a couple of years now. I have already taken steps to record an official complaint about his behaviour although, being the 'token' native English speaking teacher in a 100 year old Japanese private high school gives me very little footing. I'll just be labeled a troublemaker and canned. There lies the absolute absurdity of the Japanese employment system. It doesn't matter if you are foreign or not, if you are younger than the manager, you are an outsider who must do as they are told, regardless of education and/or experience. However, in this case, the twit is the same age as me (50+), which is probably why he gets so angry when I laugh at his childishness. :D

This is something that has always amazed me about the freshmen induction system in April every year. These corporation scan possibly thousands of resumes and interview possibly hundreds of candidates. Everyone is judged on their academic achievements and selected on that basis. However, they are then nailed to a chair and taught how to make coffee and told what to do for the next twenty years til they, in turn, take over the 'master' position and share their 30 year old education with the younglings. This is what is keeping Japanese business culture a generation behind the rest of the world. You have all these old scamming jijis giving orders to people with much fresher and better education than they have and all the while they are sitting behind closed doors figuring ways to scam the company and assert their position in the hierarchy. It's a flipping joke!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If your job pays okay, then get over it. None of these is so terrible.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Good Bad YubaruMAY. 13, 2016 - 03:10PM JST You want to be late, suffer the consequences, you want a job where there is no need to be punctual, start your own business.

Ah, the old "You have to settle for whatever I say because I'm the boss and what I say goes. If you don't like it my rules however absurd they are, go start your own business, even if that's not what you're interested in. Because here on Ferenginar, we don't want to end the exploitation, we want to become the exploiters."

See, here's the thing: I used to be terrible about work punctuality. What got me out of that habit was not some petty authoritarian tyrant punishing me for every time I was late. What got me out of it was working under people who got into their position of leadership by being respected as dependable. When the start of the work day began, they were ready for whatever you could throw at them because they made a point of getting in early so they could be ready for anything. I saw what they were like and was tired of spending my mornings rushing around to get everything sorted, so I started acting like they did and came in early - and they started rewarding my maturity by giving me more authority.

A manager fixates on keeping schedules. A boss fixates on making people follow rules. A tyrant fixates on punishing people for breaking rules. But a leader just fixates on doing an excellent job, and naturally people under them will imitate them so they can take a shot at being excellent, too. Japan has loads of people in the first three groups but precious few leaders. Thank goodness I got to work under a few.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

katsu....it's true. Everyone has options. You want to be successful you make your own choices, dont like the rules, then find somewhere else to work.

An employee that bitches or moans about punctuality is probably not one that is worth keeping around anyway.

Going to be late, make a call, be late, use the vacation time, half day whatever, be responsible for your actions.

Seems to me that too many people are more concerned about following their own way. Wagamama.....dont like it, so what, they made the choice in the first place to work there, and if they did not know ahead of time that the company put a price on punctuality, they should not have been hired in the first place.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

You don't need to be a "newly hired" to see completely unnecessary stuff every day. I work partly from home for many translation companies, and I swear, EVERY single e-mail you have to write exactly as follows: (name of the guy) 様, こんにちは。(your name)です。いつもお世話になっております。and go to the topic.. even if the guy replies to you within 5 minutes, you have to write everything again and then proceed to the e-mail, closing it with the omnipresent よろしくお願いいたします。 (and your name). So much time wasted to say Mr X, Hi. How doing? It's me, Y... totally pointless imho.

When I was first learning to write emails in Japanese, I appreciated that formality, as it gave me a frame of correct Japanese around the crap I wrote in between :)

you want a job where there is no need to be punctual, start your own business.

That's what I did. I hated rushing in the morning to be on time every day. I'm not a morning person.

Ah, the old "You have to settle for whatever I say because I'm the boss and what I say goes. If you don't like it my rules however absurd they are, go start your own business, even if that's not what you're interested in. Because here on Ferenginar, we don't want to end the exploitation, we want to become the exploiters."

Like it or not, it's how the world works. If you want to set your own rules, you need to put yourself in a position to be able to. Otherwise you need to live up to other's rules, even if/when they are stupid. Or you can go find someone else to work for who has rules you are willing to live up to.

An employee that bitches or moans about punctuality is probably not one that is worth keeping around anyway.

Not always. Punctuality is not my strong point, but I was definitely valuable to the companies I worked for before I went out on my own (I made them a lot of money). Some people just aren't very good with being on time. But in other cases, what you say will be correct - non-punctuality will be a symptom of a bigger problem.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

YubaruMAY. 13, 2016 - 07:59PM JST katsu....it's true. Everyone has options.

Yeah, and that goes for the boss too. Why don't you recognize the boss's option not to be a complete twit?

YubaruMAY. 13, 2016 - 07:59PM JST You want to be successful you make your own choices,

I'm already successful. I do great work, and that great work comes from a set of skills that don't include company management. I have better things to do than manage a company, which is why I let other people manage it for me. Specialization of labor, it's this great concept that the ancient Mesopotamians worked out when they invented agriculture and it's a pity there are so many people in the business world still catching up to it. We're all good at different things, and we work best when one of us isn't trying to pretend that their particular skill set entitles them to abuse everyone who creates value in their company by being a petty tyrant.

An employee that bitches or moans about punctuality is probably not one that is worth keeping around anyway.

Ah good. So an employee who disagrees with the boss is bad by default. There is no room for the possibility that the boss might be wrong. The train of logic that made Japan the world leader it is!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

'm already successful. I do great work, and that great work comes from a set of skills that don't include company management.

Congratulations! But if you choose to make your money from working for someone else you have a responsibility to follow their rules.

Ah good. So an employee who disagrees with the boss is bad by default. There is no room for the possibility that the boss might be wrong. The train of logic that made Japan the world leader it is!

Not even close, but I'll give you points for trying. Your logic implies anarchy and that employees have no responsibility to follow company rules.

Pray tell how a "boss" is wrong for expecting his or her staff to be at work at a certain time? Got problems with that, like I said, pick up the phone. You are trying to expand this to other things but I am not taking your attempt at bait.

It's about punctuality, and if you think the "boss" is wrong for expecting it I disagree. IF a company has rules about it, deal with it,

I doubt you would be happy if your local Starbucks didnt open at 9:00 so you could get your Cafe Latte....hell the staff is late, no biggie, let the customers go somewhere else.

Business aint gonna stay open long if customers cant rely on punctual service.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

YubaruMAY. 13, 2016 - 08:52PM JST Your logic implies anarchy and that employees have no responsibility to follow company rules.

Let's not descend into hysteria, shall we? Not penalizing workers by taking away half a day's pay just because the bus was running a little late or the alarm clock didn't go off is not tantamount to a Lord of the Flies situation.

Pray tell how a "boss" is wrong for expecting his or her staff to be at work at a certain time?

Did you even read my post? I'm talking about leading by inspiring the change you want to see in others, not through bloody-minded abuse. But perhaps that's not enough. Why if we don't flex our authoritarian muscles once in a while, maybe you're right and the lower orders will descend into anarchy. Let someone come in a minute late with just a warning on Monday and next thing you know by Tuesday they'll be running through the streets naked sacrificing goats to the mighty god Ra. Or to put it the way another poster did:

it's called the real world.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

An employee that bitches or moans about punctuality is probably not one that is worth keeping around anyway.

Depends, is it one of those where you show up five minutes late every day but you have meetings that start the minute you were supposed to be at work or is it more like during those five minutes you would be turning on your computer starting up outlook?

It's about punctuality, and if you think the "boss" is wrong for expecting it I disagree. IF a company has rules about it, deal with it,

They are dealing with it by pushing back.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I run my own business in California. Funny, I insist on all the above 5 - in a modified form suitable for California. For example, we don't bow. Instead, I or my employee will see a client off. We respond to emails within 24 hours, etc.

I absolutely insist on punctuality. Which means being ready to go at the allotted time. Which means

The clients really appreciate it. That is what its all about in a service industry. Client/customer satisfaction. On all levels. Its about the client. We provide a service.

Now, a lot of people in my line of work think of themselves as professionals rather then business people. Some actually set up their meetings as if they are holding court, will big old desk between themselves and their clients, and all these books, and diplomas, and accredations, and other signs of I'm The Specialist, you're the peon.

Fudge that. Its the new millennium. People want to be treated fairly.

M

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Still, some managers insist on a phone call, either because it demands more immediate attention and lets them know they’ll be short one set of hands for the day,

If I had to call my boss to call in sick, I'd invariably have to leave voicemail because he wouldn't be there yet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Did you even read my post? I'm talking about leading by inspiring the change you want to see in others, not through bloody-minded abuse.

You call it what you want, but more often than not, in any given company, it isnt the "boss" it's the rules and regulations of said company. If one chooses to work in a company that makes rules on the fly and nothing is on paper, well...that's another story.

I worked in a place where if you punched the time card right on time they would bitch, and if one thinks about it, rightfully so. If one is expected to start working at a specific time, that means START work, not walk in the door.

People today feel entitled to leeway, entitled to do things they want, entitled to not have to follow rules or regulations. Fine, want that entitlement, work for yourself. Don't like it? Work yourself into a position that gives you the power to effect changes.

Oh and if you know you are going to get docked half a day's pay for being a minute late, call in, take the half day, relax and find a positive way to deal with it!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Actually savethegaijin, employers in the states have been known to do harass employees call in by phone. In the NYC where I worked as a public school teacher, I had one school Principle that accused teachers of lying after hearing them on the phone and giving them a warning. The union pushed to have this system eliminated for this reason, and now there is a log on system where you register your absence as soon as possible online in the morning or ideally the night before. This system also does not require you to give a reason for absence - you just have a bank of days you can use now that are your personal days to use for personal things or sickness.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The screaming ojisan bullying his way to high heaven. Great story. I had a supervisor like that once at a J company in Tokyo, five years. He died recently.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Fudge that. Its the new millennium. People want to be treated fairly.

I agree totally. However there are plenty that disagree with the following you wrote too it seems.

I absolutely insist on punctuality. Which means being ready to go at the allotted time.

It's the new millennium and the workers want leeway to be late, and not get docked for a "minute" or "two" either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

erikirbyMAY. 14, 2016 - 12:02PM JST

What they are saying is that we want to control every manner of our employees. We will enforce it. Nothing has changed since 1980's

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I absolutely insist on punctuality. Which means being ready to go at the allotted time.

That can be achieved by setting the hours you require your employees to be present to something more realistic. Which should go into the contract, and should be paid for. If you expect them to arrive, say, ten minutes before 9 so that they can be ready to start work on the dot of 9, but telling them their hours are "9 to 6" you're asking them to give you a free 50 minutes a week. Actually, you're not even asking, but using your leverage as a boss to take it from them. Perhaps it's a trivial amount of money, especially if you pay them low enough, but still, if bosses want more time from their employees, they should pay for it - every single minute, and at overtime rates if necessary.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the problem is the rule being told at the desk 5 minutes and fairness of not going home at the contracted time. Rather than being controlling, today's workers respect flexibility. The current model of "volunteer overtime" is outdated. It was part of the lifetime employment contract, but that type of economy exists no longer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Disillusioned My advice to you would be to record (on video) the harassment that you are receiving and then show it to a union labor rep. Discriminatory harassing behavior does not need to be tolerated. The courts here tend to side with employees -even foreign ones on this. Take legal advice. You have the upper hand.......

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Just a random question for anyone who works in Japan. Do they ever have an employee evaluation method that actually shows an employee's productivity? Because from what I hear a lot of, many folks show up but hardly do anything. And they stay overtime just to look "productive".

I'm gathering that is probably a major piece what is missing in the Japanese workplace, the procedure to actually see how productive an employee actually is instead of how much they kowtow to the higher ups. Because if such a system actually existed, the majority of those "seniors" and "managers" would probably not have high numbers in productivity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do they ever have an employee evaluation method that actually shows an employee's productivity?

It depends on the company. The last company I worked for had a section of evaluations where the employee had to self-proclaim how they have been productive for the company since the last evaluation, and after that their immediate superior had to give both their thoughts on the employee's productivity, as well as their thoughts on the employee's comments on their own productivity.

But as far as I know, there isn't any kind of standardized evaluation system for companies in Japan, so each company will evaluate in their own way, and how many of them do productivity evaluations is anyone's guess.

What about in overseas companies? How do they evaluate employee productivity? I can't imagine their is a standardized way to do it, as each job will have different factors in determining productivity. A sales person can be evaluated on their numbers, but a secretary will have different metrics to be used for evaluation altogether.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland Thank you for your input. As for here, there isn't a standardized method, but it is done. I know for my job it depends on how many prescriptions are completed each day from what we receive from healthcare facilities. For a sales rep it depends on how many sales. And many office oriented jobs usually measure productivity by how fast a project/assignment is completed, how much effort an employee puts into the project, or how many are completed before a deadline and such. Usually we don't get to have any input about our productivity unless we're doing poorly. If we're doing better than previous evaluations it may lead to a raise. If its about the same, then they just say keep up the good work and try to maintain that level of productivity or better.

What you described to me though seems like businesses in Japan are still doing something wrong. Beside the obvious outdated system that they're currently using of working employees to death and trying to keep them from taking their time off or vacations as well as not providing better support for female employees and working parents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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