My work experience at a JP office

7 Jun

It’s my rambling post. :p
I think I’ve been writing all day long in English because I’m working full-time at a Japanese company only for this month. Coming back home and now writing this blog is not easy but let me share with you what I found at work.

Many years I was working as a freelance and for the past few years I was mostly working from home. So it was kind of fresh to me to work at a company. Things looked quite surprising to me, who have been away from “office” for a long time.

Craving for color…
The interior, especially the color scheme of the office is monotonous. It’s gray, gray and gray. Maybe there are some blue, white and black but mostly things are in light to mid gray. Male workers are mostly wearing a gray suit, and they are the majority at the office, due to the characteristics of the industry. There are only a few women including me. It was surprising that I craved for color so badly after a few hours in full of gray. Luckily, the office is surrounded by several shopping malls, my eyes and soul were comforted during the lunch time at window shopping. ^ ^;;

What a surprise! This color scheme is not very unique in Japan. Most of the Japanese company offices have a boring color scheme. But I’ve never been driven to this state of mind before. I guess my eyes are totally used to seeing various colors at a time, while I keep working from home. The big difference will be lack of green and wood, I think. At home there are some plants, wooden desk, wooden table, and wooden flooring. Also chairs are upholstered with orange and yellow fabric, the lighting is in yellow, not bright white…and as you know Pi-chan is always around me. πŸ™‚ While I write this I noticed there’s almost NO GRAY at home! My keyboard is in light gray…I guess that’s all. ^ ^;;

It doesn’t mean that I dislike gray. I like to wear gray colored pants or sweat shirt especially when I want to relax at home. To me, somehow gray is the color to veg out. (lol) But I guess I don’t like to see the color in large area. Well, it’s not the end of the world but it was interesting that I missed seeing colors so badly! Do you have a similar experience? How is your working environment?

Over-time work for 100 hours monthly!?
It’s still the same some workers do over-time work for 100 hours per month and almost every month when they are busy! I happened to hear what some employees were chatting near me. I’ve posted about Japanese working environment and etc. before but the situation is still like that! It is normal in our culture to work over-time in order to catch up with the deadline, or to satisfy the customers. Thus, 24-hour operation or working on Saturdays and Sundays are not something extreme in Japan. Many workers do that to defend the deadline to the death. This is quite comfortable from customer’s side because everything is expected on time. Delivery service for example, never fails to delay. When it’s specified from 12pm to 2pm of a certain day, it is delivered during that period of the day that is specified. Behind that, the workers may be skipping meals, cancelling date, working extra hours, and etc. which is not always perceived by their customers. I will quietly show some respect to them and want to say “Otsukaresama desu!” to console their hard work. πŸ™‚

I’ll go back to my work from home next month, until that time, I may blog about my daily life sometimes. πŸ˜€

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17 Responses to “My work experience at a JP office”

  1. Shimin June 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    I've heard that in Japan, the working hours are quite tough? And that the vacations are always so short?
    Maybe I watch too much drama, but I feel that Japanese makes really great and thorough effort in what they do!

    The mentioning of grey offices kind of reminds me of an anime I've watched. XD
    It's about this team of editors who decorated their office with cute. fancy, pink and flowery things to make them into the mood of the work they're doing XD

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 4:42 am #

      Haha, sounds like you already knew how JP office look like from drama and anime. ^ ^;;
      The office could get slightly more colorful if there are more female workers, I guess…

      • Shimin June 9, 2012 at 4:44 am #

        Hahaha! Might have a wee idea! XD

        It's nice to have colourful things on your work desk! ^^

  2. Salma June 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    I like sharing this job experience, dear Kirn. πŸ™‚
    As for colors, I don't feel like getting bored of a certain color at all because we don't wear a uniform or something unified at my work in university.
    However, I used to feel so when I was in school. I was a student for 13 years in the same school, getting bored of GRAY too! πŸ˜† Despite changes in the color of ties or jackets, gray was the main color in the rest garments of the school uniform.
    But still, I can't deny that I still love gray. πŸ˜†

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 4:45 am #

      Hi Salma,

      To me, having some gray in the area is not a problem but…like over 50% in gray is too much to me. Well, maybe if there's an accent colored wall somewhere in the room, it's not as terrible as this, but when surrounded by white wall and gray floor, gray desks, gray phones, gray and black PCs and suits…it's so dull to me….>__<

  3. Patty June 7, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    In US, it's dark wood for conservative firms, and bright glass office or white space for creative or modern offices. Majority of us are in Cube-Farms, that is rows and rows of cubicles, which looks like a farm from afar. We don't have drabby gray, but we also have alot of beige or light blue to act as a 'natural'. I'd rather white or bright instead of eggshell color that's not really warm underneath the flourescent lights. Guess what I'm trying to say is that it is not much better elsewhere.

    HOw does JP office compare to the office you worked in Australia?

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 4:49 am #

      Hi Patty,

      I wish I could work in the office like that. I have no idea how such drab color scheme could helps boost employees' motivation and vigor…-___-

      I was not working in the office in Australia so no comparison is available, but I may see the difference if I have a chance to work at the foreign company office in Tokyo near future…

  4. May June 7, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Yes, definitely much respect to those who work 100+ hours overtime in a month. That's SO much! I don't think I could do it. And also, I'm like you when it comes to color. I couldn't take the drab colors in the office I used to work in. I would try every way possible to make work a little bit more colorful – whether it's using kawaii pens/paper/notebooks, putting stickers on my laptop or having cute and colorful desktops. Anything to take my eyes off the drab and have a pop of color!

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 4:51 am #

      Exactly! If I were about to work at that office for more than 3 months or so, I would bring my colorful kawaii goods to amuse myself, but it's only a month and my desk is something temporary with someone else's stuff around, so I don't feel like decorating it either. -__-

  5. Apple June 8, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Oh Kirin! I was wondering how you were. The office you are working at currently sounds terribly dull. I cannot imagine working in a place like that for long-term!

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 4:54 am #

      Haha! I really wonder why the workers there are OK with that color scheme…but as mentioned in the post, such color scheme can be easily found at many JP offices. -__-

  6. Lore June 8, 2012 at 10:59 am #

    I guess It maybe is so hard for you to work in an office instead of home, if I could I would work from my home with Bill around me and taking the breaks when I need it. In my office we have a dress code, we can't wear jeans or sport clothes for the rest we can wear what we want for that you can see a lot of colours and the walls or furniture of my office there are not bad, in blue and yellow that there're the corporative colors of the company.
    About the hours we definitly dislike to do extra hours, only if it's completly necesary and our boss force us to do them. My weekly hours are 41 and I think there're too much, I spend almost all the day here but then I imagine how in other countries people work more hours and I feel gratefull with mine.

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 5:02 am #

      Yeah, I think working conditions are definitely better in Europe. I also heard someone saying, "I have my paid holidays that I haven't used yet. I guess about 30 days…how I can use them before they expire…?" You see, most JP employees can't use paid holidays because too much of workload. Some of them sell the saved paid holidays to the company to exchange them for money.

      Dress code is not very strict to women, but for men, they normally wear suit. Jeans, sport clothes, sneakers, T-shirt, too colorful clothes, gaudy clothes, sexy clothes, casual pants, boots…these are not OK for women, as unspoken rule.

  7. Walter June 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Thank you so much, Kirin, for posting this. It's sad to see that nothing much has improved in the Japanese workplace.

    • kirin June 9, 2012 at 5:10 am #

      Yeah, I was shocked to hear 100 hours of over-time work! It seems quite normal in this company to work Saturday and Sunday too. It made me sad to hear a certain employee was asked by his boss to come to work on Saturday nevertheless he had his holiday plan on that day. He said "I'll do my best to arrange that plan and I'll come to work." I have to think again, Why do we work? What is the real happiness? What do we live for?

      If this is what working in the office means, I would really need to find my own way to make a living. Still so much shock to me. lol

  8. Ash June 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    This was something that always bothered me about working in Japan! I always felt so bad when I left on time – but I didn't have anything else to -do-!

  9. Simona June 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Where i work, the predominant colors are white (the walls) and blue (the carpet), as for working on the weekend, it's something that i'm already used to because here the weekend does not exist (you still get 2 days off per week) , and also there are 3 shifts (i am curently on the night shift). A big plus is that there is no over-time work, but, there are cases when i have stayed like 1 hour after my shift had ended.

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