April is upon us again, which means the start of a new school and work year in Japan. So perhaps it’s fitting that Fuji TV’s morning informational show Nonstop! recently aired a segment about new company employees. But its focus wasn’t on just any new recruits to the workplace…it was about monster recruits! Read on to find out what kinds of unthinkable behavior shocked netizens and made them lament the rude ways of the younger generation.
“Who do they think they are??” was the general consensus of people who saw Snaphot!‘s special segment detailing “monster” employees arriving for their first week of work.
The following are some of the actual situations that were introduced on the show:
- A new employee who complains about the system of picking desk locations by lottery/switching desks every week
- A new employee whose assigned seat falls in a direct path of sunlight and complains to her boss that it will ruin her complexion
- A new employee who doesn’t take memos on paper but sends picture attachments on his phone
▼”Doesn’t write anything down but saves everything on his cell phone”
- A new employee who doesn’t participate in drinking parties (nomikai) after work because “my private time is important”
- A new employee who doesn’t participate in drinking parties with the excuse that “the food in my fridge will go bad if I don’t eat it now”
These two points may cause our readers to question, “What’s so bad about saying no to going drinking?” Some of you may even come from cultures where drinking with your coworkers would be abnormal, or even frowned upon. However, in Japan, a tremendous deal of company bonding and teamwork strengthening occurs outside of the office at these gatherings. More than that, although staff will nod and agree to almost anything during their working hours, grievances and ideas are often discussed over drinks where it is seen as acceptable to say things like, “Actually, I think the boss’ idea won’t work so well…”. Don’t feel like going to the drinking party? Too bad. It’s basically an obligation, and not going could even have negative ramifications on your career, least not cause people to consider you the black sheep.
- A new employee who gets mad if a superior scolds him
- A new employee who goes home if they are scolded
- A new employee who goes home crying after she made a mistake copying something, only to submit her letter of resignation the next week
The complex system of hierarchy and deferral to your superiors in Japanese work culture makes talking back to your boss an unthinkable offense. Snapping back, even if you’re sure you’re in the right, is not going to go down well.
▼(At least there were no reports of happenings like this scene from Office Space…)
- A new employee who misses a date because of working overtime, gets yelled at by his girlfriend, and who then tells his boss to “find me a new girlfriend”
- A new employee whose wife sneaks the kids in just to see him because his overtime has increased so much
Working uncompensated overtime is often the norm at many Japanese companies, even at the sacrifice of home life.
- A new employee who sends the lunch menu to his mother (umm…?)
Some of the other viewer reactions included comments such as, “I don’t want to be like them!”, “I’m pretty flexible, but these guys are too much even for me!”, and “I watched the program and had a feeling that I was like them, haha.”
Do you think all of these behaviors warrant “monster” employee status? What kinds of shocking worker behavior have you seen in your own country? Let us know in the comments section below!