Work

Me: You seem to enjoy working.

Japan: Working? Yeah, working is good. Very satisfying.

Me: Really?

Japan: Yep.

Me: What do you do if you don’t like your job? Or you don’t like your boss? Or if you’re told that you’ll be transferred to a different department? Or a different city? Or a different country?

Japan: Well, you just do what you’re told.

Me: So, you can’t quit and find a new-

Japan: Quit! How do you quit your job?

Me: Well, it depends how much you don’t like it. You could give two months notice or you could start a small fire in the corner of the office on a Monday afternoon. It’s up to you.

Japan: But then you can’t find a new job. It’s impossible to quit.

Me: Is it?

Japan: Yeah, you have to find a job straight out of university.

Me: Why?

Japan: Because employers only want to employ graduates.

Me: Why?

Japan: Because they’re better.

Me: At what?

Japan: At doing what they’re told.

Me: Then what?

Japan: They do what they’re told.

Me: For how long?

Japan: Until they’ve been at the company long enough to be able to tell other people what to do.

Me: But what if that person isn’t any good at their job?

Japan: That doesn’t matter. If somebody’s been at the company long enough, they get to tell other people what to do.

Me: Even if they’re incompetent?

Japan: Erm, well, yeah.

Me: So, you have to find a job straight after university because employers like graduates. And you can’t quit if the job is shitty or you’re not happy, because being re-employed at a different company is nearly impossible. That would be career suicide. So everybody is waiting until they’re old enough to tell other people what to do.

Japan: Yeah.

Me: Doesn’t that make it ridiculously difficult to find a job you like?

Japan: Yep.

Me: And what are the benefits of this? Shorter working hours?

Japan: Erm, normally twelve hours a day, at least five days a week, sometimes six.

Me: Holidays?

Japan: Who?

Me: Holidays?

Japan: Oh, yeah, those. Right, your company will give you some paid personal holidays each year but you can’t really take all of them.

Me: What?

Japan: No, that would be poor form. It would look as if you didn’t want to be at work.

Me: I don’t. Nobody does.

Japan: Yeah, but you don’t want your boss to know that and you don’t want to look lazy, so even if you have, say, twelve days holiday to take in a year it might be a good idea not to take all of them.

Me: That’s slightly evil.

Japan: It’s not that bad. I’ve got plenty of national holidays.

Me: How many?

Japan: Fifteen.

Me: But aren’t national holidays notoriously busy?

Japan: Yeah, you won’t be able to move for people. Everybody will be having a day off.

Me: So what do you do for fun?

Japan: Sleep and call everything “cute”. You know this already.

Me: But what about the rest of your life?

Japan: Work is your life.

Me: No it’s not.

Japan: Yes it is. Get back to it you lazy, whingeing, holiday-taking, work-shy foreign boy.

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March 22, 2012. Uncategorized.

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