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What are the worst things about the first year working in a Japanese company? Survey investigates

15 Comments
By TOKYO

April is just around the corner and, while it might not be a significant time of year in some countries, it’s a big deal in Japan. April marks the beginning of the new school year and as a result, brings in a wave of new young adults ready to make their start in the Japanese workforce.

In a survey conducted late last year, Japanese business media Just It organization polled 100 first-year members of working society were asked, “What is the toughest part of working life?” Here are the top five responses.

5. Too much work to do 

“I work in a hotel, and it’s a really busy job. There’s so many things to learn for a newcomer, and I just couldn’t remember them all. Plus, hotel etiquette is quite strict. I got scolded a lot for that. It’s nothing like the glamorous hotel life you’d see in a TV show… I realized this is reality.” (Male, working in a hotel)

“I’m grateful to have been taught a lot of things, but… being told ‘Do this, do that’ all the time… I feel like I’m going to explode.” (Female, working in the travel industry)

4. Not a lot of time off/hard to take time off

“I was told I’d get a two-day holiday each week, but it ended up being only once a week. I’ve also ended up having to work even after the time for the last train home.” (Female, working at a printing company)

“We supposedly get weekends and public holidays off, but there are times where we have to work those days because it’s more convenient for our customers. Also, unless you get it specified in a contract, anytime you want to take paid leave, you’ll always get asked ‘Why?’ You have to lie and say something like ‘I don’t feel well.’ And so I’ve never taken any paid leave.” (Female, working in life insurance)

3. Always getting scolded by my boss or other co-workers

“At first, I was praised – ‘Wow, you’re a fast learner!’ or ‘You’re really working hard!’ But then I started being given more and more work, and it’s hard to keep up. and now I get reprimanded every day. Eventually I asked my boss if he could reduce my workload, and he got cross at me again. ‘There’re still a lot more things I want you to do, you should be able to do it.’ I’m just about at my limit.” (Male, medical accountant)

“I wasn’t performing to the same level that another worker was when they were in their first year. I got scolded in front of others a lot. I work at a bank, so the customers get to see a lot. If I got scolded, I’d start to cry, which then made my boss yell ‘You’re a member of working society now. Don’t cry here (where customers can see you)!!’ I ran in the back and cried.” (Female, working in a local bank)

2. Dealing with co-workers 

“I get told different things by different people each day, so having to adjust to a different way of working each day is stressful. It’s hard to know which is the ‘right way’. I’ve been told ‘That’s not how you do it,’ a number of times, but it’s how someone senior to me taught me, so it’s hard to say anything. I wish we could all be on the same page on how we do things.” (Female, nurse)

“The atmosphere between coworkers isn’t great. When I first joined the company, I made a few friends, but I have quite a reserved personality. I ended up just floating around, not really taking part in any conversations. It’s tough.” (Male, working in the food industry)

1. Too much overtime 

Unsurprisingly, the top struggle that new members of the Japanese workforce faced was the amount of overtime.

“It feels like you’re just expected to work overtime. Even if you finish ‘on time’, it’s not clear when you should actually leave and you just end up hanging around for no reason. (Female, working in an advertising company)

“My company is really suffering from a lack of staff. We’re just expected to work from morning to night, usually getting home around midnight and leaving for work around 6 a.m. Even though I’m in my first year as a working adult, I know that this isn’t normal practice, but I’m in no position to tell my boss otherwise.” (Male, working in sales)

So there you have it, the top five things that fresh new working adults struggle with the most in their first year at their job. On the plus side, with companies like Microsoft implementing new policies aimed to improve the lives of their employees, perhaps in the future these results will be different. And to those fresh graduates about to start their first year of working life, if it all gets too much for you and you want to quit your job, there’s a company that can help you out!

Source: PR Times

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese guys way more enthusiastic about moving in with girlfriends than vice-versa, survey says

-- Japanese men reveal the things they notice when they see a woman without makeup

-- Rainbow sushi: a colorful twist on everybody’s favorite roll 【Pics】

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

15 Comments
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For me, the most painstaking part of working in a Japanese company was how painfully inefficient they are. There were many useless tasks, processes, and meetings that made many things drawn out and unnecessary.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

All true.

If I had not been working for a specified length of time and well-paid, I would have quit within months if newcomer.

I am proud of who I am and no one will take advantage of me since I am a free man.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I never want to work for a Japanese company or have Japanese managers. When I taught English at schools if a Japanese person was in charge they'd either never be qualified to teach and often wouldn't even speak English that anyone could understand then get offended when we spoke Japanese to them. It always inevitably ended up as a massive train crash...

This is a terrible translation too:

“I was told I’d get a two-day holiday each week, but it ended up being only once a week. I’ve also ended up having to work even after the time for the last train home.”

Where did you expect to go, Okinawa? Korea?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

“I was told I’d get a two-day holiday each week, but it ended up being only once a week. I’ve also ended up having to work even after the time for the last train home.”

...

“At first, I was praised – ‘Wow, you’re a fast learner!’ or ‘You’re really working hard!’ But then I started being given more and more work, and it’s hard to keep up. and now I get reprimanded every day. Eventually I asked my boss if he could reduce my workload, and he got cross at me again.

...

“I wasn’t performing to the same level that another worker was when they were in their first year. I got scolded in front of others a lot. I work at a bank, so the customers get to see a lot. If I got scolded, I’d start to cry, which then made my boss yell ‘You’re a member of working society now. Don’t cry here (where customers can see you)!!’ I ran in the back and cried.”

...

“The atmosphere between coworkers isn’t great.

...

“It feels like you’re just expected to work overtime. Even if you finish ‘on time’, it’s not clear when you should actually leave and you just end up hanging around for no reason.

...

“...We’re just expected to work from morning to night, usually getting home around midnight and leaving for work around 6 a.m.

that “ “banzai” / “ganbaro” / hard-working = respected “ mentality is a bunch of bs and needs to change asap(!) ( it will, eventually ). sorry, ( older ) Japanese, welcome to the 21st century ...

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This sounds like it could have been written thirty years ago. No progress at all.

It's kind of blame the victim, but I note that most of the people interviewed sound like they are working in jobs that will not have employed them for specific skills. They will have been accepted simply as a fresh-faced graduate the company will stamp into whatever worker drone it wants. I guess/hope it will be a bit better for STEM graduates, not least because that's the direction I'd like my kids to go in.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Let's see a reverse article about all the good stuff.

I get free lunch and dinner when I have to stay late plus snacks and tea as well as juice all day long.

If we work late and the trains are already stopped we get cab fare home.

Hotels are often paid for if beyond midnight.

We get bonuses and really do not work so hard.

The bosse take us out to eat drink and be merry.

There are always two sides to a story.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

I worked 10 years for a japanese company t neer fitted in. I left on time, alwas. I said "no" when asked stupid things or given ridiculous deadlines. I watched people in endless pointless meetings ,one in particular where they spent an whole hour discussing the color of a stitching on a garment without anone wanting to make a decision).... 10 years witnessing ridiculous practices. Then one day, on lunch break, I was told my contract was cancelled and that I could leae that ery da. So I did. I didn't question it and was gone in an hour, while other staff members just wondered what was happening. Best thing ever ! I am my own boss now with my own business. Lare Japanese companies still live 50 years ago and they will never change. They will see the downfall of the japanese economy. Unless japan gives in an allows for a better immigration, these companies run by old men will eventually crash.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

What are the worst things about the first year working in a Japanese company?

Everything.....

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I get free lunch and dinner when I have to stay late plus snacks and tea as well as juice all day long.

If we work late and the trains are already stopped we get cab fare home.

you shouldn,t have to stay late, that would be better than all the “free food, snacks and juice” and cabs in the world. but the words “when” and “if” are important because you,re talking like if it,s just a few times. a few times ( less than 50% ) is not considered normal in Japan.

Hotels are often paid for if beyond midnight.

i mean, c,mon, you,re supposed to be able to sleep in your own bed, but again, you said “if...”...

We get bonuses and really do not work so hard.

that depends and instead of talking about yourself you should talk about the majority. they do work hard and in some cases they even wonder if it,s worth it ( bonuses ) ...

The bosse take us out to eat drink and be merry.

again, that depends. many people don,t even like their bosses and coworkers. after a long day of work, they wanna go home to their families and relax and enjoy their free time ( precious free time ).

your comment reminds me of those salaryman, they might look happy but we know they,re drunk with work. and they don,t even realize something: they,re not actually living life.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

For one woman's story of her first year working for a Japanese company, read Amelie Nothomb's (from Belgium) 'Fear and Trembling: A Novel'.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Let's see a reverse article about all the good stuff.

I get free lunch and dinner when I have to stay late plus snacks and tea as well as juice all day long.

Juice? All day? Sign me up!

If we work late and the trains are already stopped we get cab fare home.

Hotels are often paid for if beyond midnight.

Are your HOURS paid for when you work late?

We get bonuses and really do not work so hard.

The first part of your post says you work some pretty long hours, though.

The bosse take us out to eat drink and be merry.

I couldn't imagine a less merry time than going out with any of my bosses.

There are always two sides to a story.

Would that be the horrible one described in the article, and the slightly-less-horrible one described in your post?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A word of advice. Don't work for a typical japanese company. You will leave to regret it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

A few of my bilingual / bicultural friends started their careers upon graduating university at large Japanese companies. They all ended up as gophers, essentially, a handy person who does all the translating, calling overseas, writing English correspondence, etc. They all quit after a few years, but in retrospect, they probably got to see and experience a lot more than a typical new graduate. But I could see someone getting stuck in a dead end career as a life-long “benriya” without any specific skills if you stick around too long.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I really wonder what the future holds for corporate Japan once all the fossils are gone. Are they going to march on with the pointless meetings, nomikais, and inefficiency? Or will the younger generations finally realize that they don't have to put up with the BS and there are better ways of getting things done?

1950's solutions aren't exactly solving 2020's problems.

Here's to hoping.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are always two sides to a story.

Yes there is two sides to one story, my wife had a similar job, money was good but he hrs redicylously long. I added up all the hrs she worked one month then divided her salary by this , it worked out she was barely above the minimum wage, her salary would be excrellent if she only had to work 40hr\week. But like many J companies they think that paying a full time salary means they can get as many hrs overtime for free

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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