I've finally started my new life in the Japanese business world! As planned, I started on november 1st which gave me plenty of time to enjoy my last few weeks of vacations. I still have to write about those last trips, but since I'm not going to travel again anytime soon I have enough time for that. Anyway, after about a year studying, partying and traveling, I was totally ready to get a new professional start.
Here is the building where I work, perfectly located in the center:
Pretty easy to spot with the huge "Goo" sign! My company is on the 5th floor.
Although I have many examples around me since all my Japanese friends are working, I've only been working for a mere three weeks, and as such I won't be able to write a thorough and realistic analysis about the working conditions in Japan, still I'm going to share my first impressions. Before I get into the details, let me tell you from the start that I had no problem adapting to my new environment whatsoever!
First, I don't live far from my company. "Not far" means that, in case I wake up at 8:50, I can still be on time to start working at 9. And even though I'm going to move to a new apartment in about two weeks, this will only push the ultimate limit to 8:45...
Then, wearing a suit is not mandatory, except for the employees who meet the clients but I'm not concerned. However it's been a long time for me so I'm pretty happy to wear a suit everyday.
Another important point: the atmosphere is great! Everybody, including the boss, is really nice but I wasn't really surprised. I knew what to expect as I checked the atmosphere during the job interviews. There were many positive signs, for instance the fact that my boss was wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt during the last interview!
Oh, I still haven't said what my company does. You can check out their website: http://www.gingakobo.jp, I know it won't be of much help because it's 100% in Japanese. For the overview, it is specialized in anti-aging, a large topic that covers many fields, from medical innovations to sport and nutrition. It seems that they develop web sites covering those aspects, for instance online seminars or age estimation applications, but I have to admit I didn't understand everything because as I expected, my Japanese level is still not good enough. Between the IT technical terms and the anti-aging related vocabulary, I'm having a hard time! But I'm only looking at the positive side: this new challenge will allow me to improve my Japanese level again! And the most important is to be able to communicate with my colleagues and understand the specifications, right?
Well let's talk about the specs...Simply said, there's no specs! Actually there seems to be a couple documents which roughly describe the clients' needs, but I've been warned that for the details I'd better ask directly to the appropriate person. I'm definitely starting to think that no matter the country, clients keep changing their mind every other day about their needs...
Now for the things I don't like...well there's no serious issue, only one tiny detail so far: the starting time in the morning and the lunch time are set, which sucks if I get hungry earlier than usual or if I have a late party and want to sleep a little more the next morning. What about the ending time? Japan is well-known for its overtime...But I think I'm rather lucky, there doesn't seem to be much stress at my company (they must have understood it is an important anti-aging factor...). The actual working time is close to the theoretical time, and the boss shows the example by usually going home before 6:45.
Does this mean that the reality is the opposite of the stereotype? Well not really, but I lack experience to answer objectively to that question. Around me, I have various examples, from people who actually do a lot of overtime to people who spend several hours a day surfing the Internet...so I can't really draw a line between the norm and the exception. Still, I'd be tempted to say that it's far from being as extreme as one usually says, but it's pretty obvious that Japanese people work more than let's say...the French!...Yes, I know it's not really hard...