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All the senior female workers still in sales after having children look like they’re in a rush all the time, struggling to finish up by the time they have to pick up their kids from day care. I might

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A single woman who works in the sales department at a pharmaceutical company, wondering about her career path if she gets married and has children. (Yomiuri Shimbun)

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they’re in a rush all the time, struggling to finish up by the time they have to pick up their kids from day care. I might not be able to handle that.

Believe it or not, this scenario also plays out for many dads whose wives are in the workforce. I have been there. It's hell.

This situation is particularly hard in Japan, and I might argue even harder if you are a man. Women here get a bit more leeway if they have to slip out 'early' (meaning before 6pm in Japan) to pick up the kids. If a man fails to attend a late-evening meeting citing the need to pick up the kids from daycare (because the Japanese wife has to work late), many of the Japanese coworkers look at him like he is from another planet. I remember many evenings driving like a madman to get to the daycare on time, and feeling the scorn of the daycare workers when I was a few minutes late.

To compound the problem, you are often not in control of your own schedule in a Japanese company, 'mandatory' meetings are often scheduled for after 6pm, and most of your coworkers appear very willing to stay in the office well past children's bedtimes. Very few people here show any understanding whatsoever about family obligations, and place top priority on their companies/organizations rather than their families.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Used to stagger schedules with the missus when the kids were that little, she'd go in early to work and pick them up before extended daycare hours closed (6 pm), I'd drop them off and go to work late and get off from work late.

Can't trust management to understand, either, even if lower management is agreeable there's always possibility of some old executive NOT understanding, when layoff time comes around, and they're the ones with the say.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What a loser! She should quit worrying about herself and do her job efficiently!'

As for any of her co-workers who have the skills and abilities to get their sales work done in reasonable time so they can pick up their kids and have a life, I, as a retired media sales manager (find a more stressful position in sales management, I dare you) say, 'Go for it', you at least have your priorities straight. I insisted that my staff take every Friday afternoon off and call in from home only once, to check that all things are okay.

So, don't stay late, don't go out drinking with the other ostriches that have their heads buried in their employers' a**es, and enjoy what life's all about, and it isn't work. Stress that kills is best left to the person who says, "I might not be able to handle that."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Children in Japan, especially when work/living in near big cities..............seems impossible to have decent balance, I applaud the ladies in the quote above that DO IT!

Japan needs to make it easier for ALL people here to do the same & without the BS of the office taking priority!

Of course that's a tall order for these isles!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The young woman has unintentionally given us one large reason why Japan is growing down the drain: Japan is now a society that has turned having a family into a liability. If you are single you can manage on a part-time salary and if you are single and have a full-time job ---those are now few and far between----you are in heaven. But if you are married with children you live in constant fear of losing your job, you never seem to have enough money to live in this over-priced nation and you battle exhaustion from having to jungle multiple responsibilities as Sensato noted. No wonder more and more people are looking at marriage and saying "no thanks." This is not an attack on the Family rather it is a sigh of disbelief at the short-sightedness of our political and business leaders; I mean, what can you talk about at a bar at 11:00pm that you cannot discuss in the office at 3:00pm?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Work is hell in Japan. Even minimum wage conbini and restaurant workers spend their long hours on their feet, standing at attention and rushing around.

Unless there's a cultural-attitude shift, this womenonmics thing ain't going to work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And here we have in quote form why Japan is on the decline. Both men and women, parent and non-parent shouldn't be "in a rush all the time, struggling to finish up".

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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