What can you learn from working with Japanese people and how can you make the Japanese boss appreciate your effort? (Part 2)
Continuing the previous section, I will share more about what you can learn when working for Japanese companies!
In the first part, I provided 4 key points that you may learn from working with Japanese people:
- To be punctual and always keep your promise
- To be principled and attentive
- To learn to be responsible
5. The Sempai – Kohai relationship at work
In Japanese, Sempai means "senior" or "progenitor" and Kohai means "junior" or "successor".
When you first start a job in an entirely new environment, it is essential to have a Sempai as your mentor. Once this Sempai is assigned to guide you, he or she will take full responsibility for that task. This is because your development can also be considered as your Sempai’s success.
Thanks to Sempai-Kohai relationship, you will have a great start in this new environment and can avoid working with an irresponsible mentor.
The headmaster of the school where I studied abroad thinks highly of the Sempai – Kohai relationship. Therefore, his students always have the thought that Sempai is responsible for helping Kohai. Hence, when we first came to Japan with very limited Japanese proficiency and astonishment at everything in a foreign country, our Sempai helped us with every little thing. They took us to go shopping, told us all the stores that had the cheap price and introduced us to various jobs.
We learned a lot from our Sempai and inherited that mindset to help our juniors. Isn’t it wonderful?
6. The commitment to your job
Japanese people tend to work for one company for their whole life. However, this trend is not so popular with young generations.
In the Japanese language, there is an idiom called "石の上にも三年" (roughly translated into "3 years on a rock”). It means no matter where you work, you need at least 3 years to perform that job efficiently.
Young Vietnamese tend to switch jobs to look for new challenges, and in my opinion, this is a good choice! However, if you do that too frequently, people will start to think "Have you ever devoted yourselves enough to any job?"
If you simply give up because of the hardships, remember the above-mentioned idiom! Patience and effort will lead you to your success!
7. The concentration on your work
The offices in Japan truly left a good impression on me. First of all, they are clean since Japanese people rarely leave their leftovers on the table. Second, it is quiet in the office and everyone is serious about their work. They know when to work and when to relax. Thanks to this, everyone can focus on their work better.
However, this environment is not so restrictive that you cannot talk or laugh freely! Sometimes, people still make jokes and small talk during their work, or they will share the gifts from their clients with their colleagues.
In general, they can balance their work time and their communication with their colleagues.
8. To avoid making reasons to justify your mistake
In the Japanese language, 言い訳 - iiwake – means reasons and pleading. People often say that all reasons sound right! And if it sounds right, there is no need for further explanation! Instead, the solution is more important.
I have set out a rule for myself: Always go one step ahead of my boss! To specify, we should know what they need next or what they want so we can finish the task before they state what they want!
I was scolded by my boss because of asking:
- どうしたらいいですか？ (What should we do now, boss?)
My boss told me:
- Don’t always ask the same question! Think.
Once bitten, twice shy, so do not forget to take initiative at work.
9. To be honest(素直)
Japanese people are believed to be the most honest people in the world. They hate lying. In the workplace environment, you are also expected to be honest.
Honesty also implies naturalness and purity (素直）. If you don’t know something, just say so. They will not hesitate to instruct you again.
Back then, when I first came to Japan and did a part-time job, the teachers at my Japanese language school told me that Japanese people were not hesitant to teach and that if I did not know something, I should raise my voice to be instructed. Even in Vietnam, people are advised not to hide ignorance. Therefore, if you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask! You will be instructed thoroughly.
10. Always put yourselves in others’ shoes
Japanese people tend to put themselves in others’ shoes when working. In other words, they always think about how their actions can affect and influence others.
You can develop this mindset when working in a Japanese company. For example, when you write a report, make it simple so people can understand what you want to convey just by looking at it. Or when you hand over your work to someone else, make sure they can continue working right away instead of spending time cleaning up your mess.
During my first days at work, I was scolded because of sending the client the report in the word format instead of pdf. Because with different versions of Word, there can be some errors in the font or format. Or when sending the excel file, I had to make sure that everything stayed on the same page so the client could print it without further edition.
From my point of view, it is the definition of "being kind". Your seed of kindness will definitely pay off.
When working in a Japanese company, you can learn wonderful things from their principles and working styles! If you can nurture those habits, you will be appreciated anywhere!
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