Jobs in Japan – The Japanese Work Ethic
Those foreigners that are venturing to Japan for job opportunities will certainly have much to look forward to. The country is a wonderful place to live and there is a tremendous cultural experience to be had. However, some of the cultural components found in a Japanese component may be far different from what visitors may be used to. This may not necessarily be all that bad of an experience provided one has a clear understanding of how things are done in a Japanese company. Basically, if one clearly understands the Japanese work ethic then it may not be as difficult to navigate in the company as some might be led to believe.
The first step to succeeding in such an environment is to understand that things will be done a little differently. It is wise to avoid trying to buck the system since such an approach is not a beneficial one. Instead, developing the steps to duplicate the Japanese work ethic is the most advisable strategy.
First and foremost, a great deal of dedication is required in order to work for a Japanese company. That means you will be spending a long number of hours in the office. This is not going to be a 9-5 process. In many instances, 16 hour workdays might become the norm. And the weekdays will not be the only days you will be working. Weekend shifts may end up being the norm as well. Yes, that would entail 7 days a week for several weeks.
While many Japanese companies understand foreigners might not be all that capable of handling such a work schedule right from the beginning, it is best to avoid being a ‘moaner and a complainer’ when dealing with such a work week. Complaining and work ethic do not gel well together. It will undermine your success more than anything else. As such, it is best avoided.
One of the more unique aspects of the Japanese work ethic is the notion of loyalty to a company. It has been a common tradition that one will sign on with a company and stay with the company until retirement. In some instances, even “jumping” to another company for more money may be considered an outrageous action to take. This is most definitely different from the attitude foreigners may have since leaving for greener pastures is often the most common course of action to take when a better offer is presented. Always keep this cultural component in mind when agreeing to work with a Japanese company.
And in Japan, your word means everything. When you sign a deal with a handshake, you will be expected to hold true to your word. To do otherwise might severely damage your reputation in business environments.
Also, a lot of business is actually social. After hours, members of a company will often socialize as an extension of the work day. This helps reduce much of the stress you may be dealing with from a heavy work day.
Yes, the Japanese work ethic can be a tough one but it is always rewarding. Developing such a strong work ethic will certainly help you in life.
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