I’ve been working as a translator for a Japanese IT (information technology) company since June this year, even though I’m such a computer-illiterate person. lol Anyway, it just happened and my translation work doesn’t really require something technical so much, and even if it does, I can always ask around the engineers to get the exact image.
So my point here is that I’ve got a chance to see inside of a Japanese IT industry.
I’ve worked at a few Japanese companies so far, but I’ve never ever seen that employees are working day and night almost without sleeping!! In fact, what’s happening in the company I work for now is that delivery deadline is close and employees are staying up (over-time work) till midnight or even till 3 or 4am next morning and then start working from 9am again next day (already the same day!) .
Some male workers are working overnight for 2 days and 2 nights. I’m so shocked to know that. I couldn’t believe what I heard and what’s more, it was even shocking to me that those who are compelled to work like that say it’s how it is and they don’t feel anything about that! I wonder how could such working condition be taken as granted and approved!? (FYI, the company I work for now is a large corporation that every Japanese person from children to the elderly definitely knows its name.) I wouldn’t be able to accept that if I were the worker who had to work like that. I mean, if it’s my own business and my own project and I want to do it overnight with excitement, based on my own will, that would be possible but being kind of forced by a boss and doing this every now and then as a matter or course is just no way to me!! (T___T)
I told this story to some people including my husband and again I was shocked how most of them said that it’d be normal in Japan. I still feel shocked today.
BTW, I found this graph from Expedia Japan how difficult it is for the Japanese to take paid holidays. The graph shows in gray how many paid holidays were given yearly (in 2012) and how many of them were actually taken in red. I remember a German girl told me before that it was normal in Germany to have 30 paid holidays besides some sick leaves. In Japan, we have to use paid holidays for sick leaves. 😦 I don’t know if sick leaves are given aside from paid holidays in all of the other countries in this graph. If so, that should be also mentioned to illustrate how our working situation is outstandingly miserable!!
As you can imagine, this company is not doing something illegal. The workers working extra hours get paid extra. This is how the Japanese workers defend the deadline to the death. There’s imbalance of employment in our society that such workers are working like a horse while many people are jobless. Work sharing has never worked out in Japan.
I wonder…would it be normal in your country as well to do over-time work till 3 or 4am and start working for the next day from 9am again and do such from time to time when deadline is close? I can’t believe most of Japanese workers think it’s normal, but what do you think about that?