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Monday, 30 January 2017

What My Senpais Say about Work

So last Saturday, my main zemi was gathered for a special class. Our teacher had called back four of the senpais who had graduated last year to come and talk to us about what it was like to enter the Japanese workforce. Luckily for me, it was in the afternoon so I managed to watch Silence in the morning and then head to school. We basically had a two-hour sharing session, and then we went for a nomikai to continue.

Out of the four senpais, there was one civil servant (in the financial sector), two insurance company salarymen, and one bank salaryman. If I were to sum it up, I'd say that the civil servant seems to have it the best. You should have seen the faces of the other three when he talked about the time he leaves work and his yearly leave.

But one thing that struck me was the overtime work in Japan. All four have companies that have made work-life balance measures such as:

- Must take 5 consecutive days of leave a year
- No overtime day
- Highly encouraged to go home promptly.

But they don't work!

According to my senpais, they aren't fans of taking too much time off because then work just piles us. And even though the lights go off at a certain time (like maybe 7 or 8pm?), they'll just work without light, or just with the desk lamp. And they're all pulling 12-hour days, which to them is normal and not at all excessive.

For the bank senpai, he says that while there's a no-overtime day, it's more of a formality than anything. But the other companies really seem to be trying to get the workers to take time off - it's just that the workload is too heavy.

Oh and I also learnt that if even one yen is missing at the end of the day (for a bank), everyone has to stay behind. If it's paperwork, they have to look for the mistake. If the money's missing, they have to search. Which is why my senpai now gets jumpy when he hears coins drop. Plus that branch has like 10 nomikais a month, which is insane.

So now the financial sector sounds absolutely terrifying, though I still have a few kouhai's who want to go there. But my senpais do seem to like the work so I guess overtime is a part of such industries? And interestingly, I also learnt that my kouhais find Deutsche bank and other foreign companies scarier than Dentsu when it's about overtime. Apparently, the amount of work there is even more than Japanese companies. I was quite surprised at that, because I was expecting the opposite (plus the Dentsu overtime incident was quite extensively covered in Singapore).

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