When I say I live in Japan and work for a Japanese company, I can see a number of mixed feelings on the faces of my speakers. Some people are nodding admiringly, some show some fear and misunderstanding in the eyes saying “Are you kidding me?!How can you survive there?!”. And sooner or later I get from everyone the same question:
“So how is it working in Japan?!”
Well, it is not easy to answer this question, especially that it actually differs from company to company and as every work, all depends from people you are working with.
There are a number of things, that took me a while to get used to like Chōrei 朝礼 – the morning assembly, where the whole company has to get up and the heads of division must inform everybody about the daily activities, or a 1 minute speech every morning on a selected topic (some companies are reading the Code of Conduct to remind all employees the companies DNA).
Quite a number of companies still are practicing a morning or noon exercises, during all employees must get up and do some stretching (which actually might not be such a bad idea considering the number of hours we spend sitting.
I think one of the most difficult things for me to get used to in Japan is that everything is being done in the “back stage”, so called Nemawashi 根回し. It means that before the decision will see the day light, all stakeholders will be contacted “secretly” as long as the whole group will come up with the consensus.
However there are few points that I very much appreciate in Japanese companies!
1. Commuting costs
Every Japanese company is paying for commuting to and from the office! Of course it is a part of the salary package, however especially for the people leaving really far away (commuting by train for 2 hrs one way!!) I believe it is great relief.
Usually in the office there is a First Aid box where you can find far more than just First Aid! You can find pain killers, cold relief medicine, and special mixtures for tiredness! How cool is that?! Especially that unless you have a doctor prescription, medications are not that cheap here.
3. Healthcare system
Talking about the healthcare, in my opinion one of the most amazing thing in Japan is an annual health check! The company is sending the employees for a complete health check, which means, that within 1,5 hrs you will be checked completely in and out! And of course this will be paid by the company (health insurance). As we all know, it is better to prevent than to cure.
4. Life-time employment
The last point is epic! I think everyone around the world has heard about Japanese life-time employment. Honestly speaking, in my opinion, this has good and bad sides. The good points – observing the events in Europe, the USA or even Singapore, where there is literally no job security, which leads to lack of life security – Japan provides a very safe living standards. Most of Japanese never had to worry about losing the job. If they happen not to perform well, they were simply moved to the other division (hoping that finally they will find a right place). But everything has its own price, about which I wrote here. The bad side of this is that there is no much motivation toward performing better or changing the things. Nevertheless, I am sure, that everyone would appreciate the peace of mind when it comes to the employment.
What are your experiences with Japanese employment? Or do you have something special in your non-Japanese company that is worth sharing? I am looking forward hearing from you!
PS. The pictures are taken from the Internet and unfortunately I cannot give a source.