Good and bad points about actual Japanese work culture

Have you ever thought “I’d like to work in Japan.” ? If you think so, you must be interested in how Japanese people work.
I have worked for a big Japanese company for about 7 years and now work in Germany. I feel a big difference about how to work between Germany and Japanese, so I will introduce good and bad points in my actual experiences about how to work in Japan.

【Good point】

I show you a good point of Japanese culture.

1. Japanese companies can’t quit employees easily

In European countries it’s natural companies can quit employees who have bad grades in their work and whose motivation is much lower depending on the companies. But in Japan laws protect employees strongly, so companies don’t quit them easily if they work normally. Of course if they have bad grades in their work, they wouldn’t get a high salary and good position. But they can work there and get a salary. In return Japanese companies have to pay salaries for some employees who have bad grades, so other employees wouldn’t think that is good.

【Bad points】

I show bad points of Japanese culture.

1. Young Japanese have to operate for drink party after work

Japanese don’t often go to their house directly to communicate with their colleagues and bosses after work. In my company I had a drink party at least once a week although this is more than other companies. Normally the youngest employees have to arrange the party regardless of their intentions and waste much time. So they look for a restaurant suitable for the drink party after work. Also when they drink and talk at a restaurant, the youngest employees have to order food and drinks for all attendees at the drink party. In my case when a big boss at the head office came to my department for a business trip, I had to prepare for a client dinner although he was a employee in the same company. In advance I had to go to the restaurant which I would take to the big boss to check if there were problems about the atmosphere, foods, drink and so on. I wasted my time. So the youngest employees would be exhausted and feel stressed. It’s like “work”. Most people don’t tell the youngest employees to do that, but the atmosphere makes them do that. If they can’t operate well at that time, elderly colleagues and bosses would think they can’t work well, either.

2. Young employees have to do chores by themselves

In addition to operating for a drink party, in working time they have to get almost all of the calls by themselves. They also have to do manual labor and act MC for every meeting although they have many other tasks. Most elderly colleagues wouldn’t help them because most colleagues think it’s natural that the youngest employees do them by themselves. Young employees would also feel stressed strongly in working time naturally.

3. There are so many meetings and report sessions

Japanese companies like regular meetings to report and check something although they can do that without meetings. So Japanese employees need much time to make reports and presentations for meetings, but these things aren’t the only things that matter. The only thing that matters is to keep and improve the quality, efficiency and so on. In my case when I worked for my company for my first year, I had to do a presentation every 3 month and submit a report every week. I thought I didn’t waste my time just to report, but I had no choice but to do that. Japanese young employees have no time as I wrote.

4. Japanese work for extra time

As I wrote in 1-3 bad things, young employees don’t have enough time to do their own tasks. So they usually have no choice but to work for extra time. But now the situation is getting better, so please don’t worry seriously even if you would like to work in Japan. A few years ago a new employee who worked for a big Japanese company killed herself because of overwork. Most Japanese people know this incident, so at that time many Japanese companies started thinking Japanese shouldn’t work too much. But in my case even after this incident happened, I couldn’t finish working in Japan on time almost everyday although my extra work time got less.

Summary

If you work in Japan, companies can’t quit you easily. But young employees would have to do much chores including preparation and operation for a drink party. In addition to that there are many meetings, so you may have to work for extra time.

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