Having worked for both Japanese and American companies, I would say that working for Japanese companies is definitely more stressful than working for American companies. Of course there’s a lot to get stressed about when you work for American companies but I find working for Japanese companies way more stressful and I will not work for them again.
1) Office space-Japan is a small country so I understand that Japanese companies can’t give their employees spacious office but usually many Japanese companies don’t have cubicles and office staff members often share a one big room without any cubicles. So you would be sitting next to your colleagues trying not to make eye contact and I found sitting right in front of my colleague very stressful especially because I hated the person. LOL
2) Long work hours-Japanese employees are expected to show loyalty by working countless hours. My dad works for a large Japanese cooperation and he left home at 7:30am and he usually came home at around 8:30am..when he came home by 5:30pm, it was for him to change clothes so he could take his clients for drinking or he was drinking with colleagues and his boss..He loves drinking and he wasn’t exactly stress free at home (!!)so I think he liked doing that but to me, drinking with clients or colleagues was a job..then he comes home at around 2am and then off to work by 7:30am the next morning..!
3) Bullying-Japan is a very stressful place to live in general, so bullying is a lot more common at Japanese companies. It is very subtle but it is very stressful dealing with nasty coworkers while having to show loyalty to the company you are working for. Japanese people feel so much pressure to “fit in” whenever they go to new schools or new companies. I remember working for restaurants was intolerable when I was in high school..it isn’t the work itself but rather nasty people you have to deal with. My best friend was telling me stories working for one Japanese company and what she was experiencing was clearly harassment..that I can’t put up with.
These are the three things that I found most stressful when working for Japanese companies. But there are positive aspects of Japanese companies which may outweigh the negative aspects. It’s changing but Japanese companies offer a life-time employment. Traditionally if you are hired for career position (not contractor or a temp), you are usually in for life. They offer great bonuses and generous benefits. I think Japanese companies are more tolerant of incompetence and inefficiency..which employers could use these reasons to fire their employees.
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