Work-Life in Japan
If you are thinking of working in Japan its good to know what you’re in for. Today we would like to talk about (社会人生活)Work-Life, which will give you some Idea about Japanese Company Working environment. We found several tips describing Japanese work-life, through some cases. This time we look back on articles mainly from Japan Times. Here are the tips that we found from them, we hope these methods help you work in Japan.
There are many positives and some challenges for Non-Japanese while working for Japanese companies.
Positives: First, let’s take a look at the things that non-Japanese mention most frequently as being what they like most about working in a Japanese organization. Of course, these don’t necessarily apply to every specific company and workplace.
Politeness: Care in interactions with others is one of the hallmarks of Japanese culture, and this translates in the workplace as people making an effort to be pleasant and nonconfrontational.
Teamwork: Japanese are very good at working in teams to get things done and, naturally, prefer to collaborate with others. This means that colleagues can be very supportive, and also creates a natural sense of belonging.
Social contacts: Teamwork extends outside of the company with a lot of socializing with colleagues, most often over drinks after work. For those that enjoy it, this can lead to very strong relationships in the office.
The consensus in decision-making: Japanese companies prefer to make decisions based on the consensus of everyone in the group.
Planning, process, and details: Japanese companies spend an enormous amount of energy on planning, with detailed information gathering and analysis. This leads to high levels of quality and a disciplined, organized approach.
Ability to execute: As a result of the careful planning and attention to detail, Japanese companies are very good at following through with a plan. Once a Japanese company has decided to do something, it makes sure to get it done.
Lack of pigeonholing: Job definitions in Japan tend to be vague, which can give you an opportunity to get involved in areas beyond what you were originally hired for. There is often also scope to take initiative and suggest improvements or new activities.
Increased responsibility: Being one of a small number of non-Japanese employees can give you the opportunity to get involved in activities and take on more responsibility than might be possible when working in your home country.
Opportunity for learning: There is nothing like being inside a Japanese company for deepening your knowledge of Japanese business, not to mention your language skills.
Challenges (Negatives): Here are some challenges of working for a Japanese company.
The language barrier: Even if you speak Japanese well, doing all your work in Japanese can be a strain. And if you don’t speak Japanese, you’ll find that there is always information that is not easily accessible.
Indirect communication style: People often tell me that the reluctance of their Japanese colleagues to say “no” clearly is a source of frustration. Until you get used to this style of communication, it may be difficult to pick up on the subtle negative signals that the Japanese send instead of coming out and speaking directly.
A need to read between the lines: Not only do the Japanese tend to be indirect, but their communication style also tends to be vague. Instructions or feedback may be conveyed very nonspecifically, leaving non-Japanese to wonder what the real meaning is.
Lack of positive feedback: It’s rare for Japanese managers to praise verbally, and instead they tend to have a laser focus on what needs to be improved. This can feel disconcerting if you’re used to positive reinforcement.
Takes a long time to get anything done: A large number of layers in the hierarchy and the myriad bureaucratic rules typical of Japanese firms can add to the time needed to finalize anything.
Slow to change: A corollary of the slowness to make decisions is a tendency to stick to the status quo and avoid change. This stems from the risk-averse nature of Japanese culture and incentive structures that harshly punish failure.
Detail orientation: The Japanese pursuit of perfection means that tremendous energy may be devoted to relatively minor aspects of the work.
Unclear career path: Japanese companies tend to not define clear career paths for their Japanese employees, and in the case of non-Japanese, the potential future paths are usually even less well mapped out.
Long working hours: This is one of the most notorious aspects of Japanese workplaces. The amount of overtime expected can vary significantly by a company — anywhere from none to “a punishing amount.”
Finally: I would like to say that these are all generalizations, every situation is different. Depending on the specific corporate culture of the firm that you work for and your own personality and tastes, some of the things discussed here may be more or less applicable, and more or less appealing or annoying to you personally.
If you have any comments or questions, please send us messages! Anytime, you are most welcomed!