Okay, so things at work have gone from annoying but tolerable to GET ME OUT OF HERE.
Basically. This place is stricter than even a Japanese company would be (according to my Japanese coworkers). There are so many rules and little things we have to do, that I feel do not relate to the quality of our work. And I just want more freedom, less scrutiny. Constant scrutiny. Twice now (by separate people) I’ve been called aside to discuss inappropriate break length and frequency. Okay, I get it. But I’m not taking admittedly overly long breaks just to fuck off. I’m doing it to refresh myself and, in some cases, wake myself up. I think it helps my work performance if I’m able to get away from my computer for a bit when I finish a task. Also, I’m not very used to having to be ‘on’ at my desk all the time. For three years at my book publisher job, I could alternately fuck around and relax or work, all from my desk, because no one was watching over my shoulder. Same for during break times at the middle school in Matsue. But this place is starting to remind me uncomfortably of the wire service where I worked for three months and quickly grew to hate it and my boss.
The other thing is that we have time sheets and clock in and out, and you must clock in before 9:00, ideally at least 5 minutes before that if not earlier, or you are officially late and must give a reason (such as a train delay). If you are late too often, you get a warning. This is also my second time receiving a warning about that. I unfortunately just don’t do very well at jobs where I must be strictly on time, because I am not good at being strictly on time. It’s hard for me to wake up in the morning and get out the door on time, always. I do my best but it doesn’t come naturally and I fail a lot. Lately I’m really into trying to work with and not against my natural tendencies.
Oh, and this super strictness isn’t a Japan thing. I did think it was at first, but I know people who work at Japanese companies or at least at workplaces in Tokyo and roll in whenever they want, sometimes into the late morning or afternoon, and make up for it by working late. And no one is policing how often those people are away from their desks or if they have Gmail pulled up on their computer (I don’t, but if I did I wouldn’t have to go away to check my phone).
Anyway. This second time was just so humiliating. It was even implied that if I have a medical problem necessitating such frequent breaks, I should provide a doctor’s note. It was noted that I had taken two breaks already that morning and the second one had been almost 10 minutes. I wanted to cry. I wanted to run away and cry. Instead I went to lunch with two Japanese coworkers (who have done their share of discussing the company’s faults honestly) and sighed and complained. I don’t know why it’s so strict here. Our CEO is annoying me, as CEOs always do. Why are they so capricious? One day something is fine, the next day “This must change NOW!” One day it’s business as usual, the next “Hey, I had a great idea! Let’s overhaul our entire business and get into this new industry now!”
By the way, a Japanese girl in another department just suddenly stopped coming into work. For three weeks she called in every day with a stomachache. She was the only employee who didn’t show up to the office end-of-year party. Finally she eventually quit. I’m still not sure exactly what happened but it almost certainly had to do with her sales performance not being good enough and her training supervisor getting switched to a very demanding, draconian woman who kept her at the office much later than she’d been used to. Shortly after that is when she stopped coming to work.
So… it’s not just me. I think this place is kinda crazy and if you can’t handle it you escape. I might have to be one of those people.
I’ll also say that I’ve noticed several Japanese staff members taking leisurely breaks brushing their teeth or re-applying makeup in the bathroom. I’ve also gotten called out in the past for not giving proper greetings to other staff members, but there are plenty other non-Japanese staff who don’t say those greetings. I just don’t think it’s fair and I hate that I’ve made myself the object of scrutiny. Unless I’m perfect, it’s not going to go away. And I can’t be perfect. So I feel like this is just going to continue.
The thing is! It’s not affecting my work at all! I can still finish all my work and do a great job, because I’m a damn good editor and writer. I’m a great worker and member of the team. They should be doing their best to keep me because I know they have a hard time finding writers/editors who meet their standards. But it’s like none of that matters if I can’t be consistently early and keep my butt in my desk for 55 minutes out of every hour. If I can’t smile and duck my head and murmur a ritual greeting phrase to Japanese staff when I pass them in the halls during the day.
I also can’t listen to music on headphones at my desk. Ugh. I’m so sick of listening to the Japanese staff’s obsequious phone calls and habitual phrases (ugh, this one translator who says a nasal “Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah” in reply to anything someone is saying to her. So annoying).
I really want a new job now. I’m chafing. Not sure if I can do it, especially since I probably failed N1, but let’s try!