We’ve heard a lot about how stressful the Japanese workplace is. Harassment by male colleagues or even your boss can be very common if you’re a foreign English-speaking woman. Here are some rules she may need to be aware of:
* Work hours: If your boss is still around at 7 p.m., tell your honey to forget about the movie. Keep some Saturdays open too. Even worse, if you think you took a day off as part of your sick leave, get ready to work an extra day for that.
* Company phone: In the United States, your sweetie might ring you while you were listening to the CEO’s presentation. In Japan, a dying man at the hospital may hesitate to call his son to say goodbye if he knows his son is at work.
* Coffee break: Bring the cup to your desk and drink it right away. Don’t hang around outside for three minutes.
* Communication: The minute you step into the office, you’ll find out that many Japanese have left their mouths at home. You’ll often see grown men running to and from the director with a piece of paper. The problem? One of the men was in a crisis: whether “realize” should be spelled with a “z” or an “s.”
* Friday night: Don’t mind the breath of the guy next to you. Join your coworkers for a drink or be excluded from their circle forever — unless you have a good reason. The reason should not happen twice in a row.
* Gossip: Both men and women, young and old, adore your privacy. Don’t ever share a personal story with your colleagues if you don’t want the cleaner talking about it.
* Extra duty: The worst thing is when your boss hands you a thick file to translate over the weekend when somebody else should be doing it. Refuse? Fine, just tell him. But be ready to pack. In short, if you speak English, just keep it to yourself, or use your ability to make extra income teaching English on weekends somewhere else. Never ever try to show any extra ability in your day job if it’s not required. You won’t get paid extra for translating stuff on weekends.
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