5 Things To Know Before Accepting a Job in Japan
Japan is a fascinating country with one of the most unique cultures in the world. And not only is it one of the safest countries, but also one of the politest communities and most efficient working nations, making it a top destination for people around the globe. However, reading up on Japan’s overall culture may not be enough if you hope to live and work in this beautiful country. Holding a job is not without its challenges in Japan, and you need to prepare yourself before hopping on that plane. So before you make the big decision to head across the ocean to this island nation, check out these 5 things to know before accepting a job in Japan:
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One of the things that sets Japan apart from most other countries is the attention to quality. Whether you work in the business sector or as a gas station attendant, giving your best to the task at hand is an expectation in the Japanese culture. For a foreigner moving to Japan this can be a pro because you will experience some of the best customer service of your life, but a definite con since you will be expected to spend a lot more time than you’re probably used to in order to perfect your own work.
While proper business attire is a must for successfully working in Japan, there is one one thing that trumps it: punctuality. In fact, Japanese people take punctuality so seriously that it’s completely normal for employees to show up early for work. While in some offices showing up at least fifteen minutes before the workday officially starts is the norm, in others you may be expected to arrive as much as forty-five minutes to an hour beforehand!
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Just as arriving early is expected at work, staying late is also an important part of Japan’s working culture. Some people even claim that it’s not how much work you get done during the day that matters, but how late you stay at the office. In Japan you never leave work before your boss does, and by staying late you are showing that you enjoy your job and are dedicated to helping your coworkers. So give up on the concept of 9-5 and expect some long working days!
Socializing with your co-workers outside of work is less of an option in Japan and more of a requirement. Japanese workers know how to work hard and play hard and going out with your boss and coworkers is seen as an extension of your dedication to your job. Also, skipping on socializing could be detrimental to your relationship with your fellow workers as it will seem as if you just don’t think they’re worth your time, so brace yourself for some intense post-work sake sessions!
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Relaxing isn’t really a huge priority in Japan as can be seen by the 15+ hour work days. Social pressure pushes people to try to take as little time off work as possible, even when they fall ill. If you’re too sick to go to work, you may be expected to take a vacation day as opposed to a sick day, and in some cases, having taken as few vacation days as possible can be looked upon as positive to would-be employers hoping to hire.
Despite some of the cons of Japan’s working culture, there are more than enough pros in this country to make up for the high stress you may experience in the workplace. Sushi, sake, and a thriving night life all await you when you move to Japan and you’ll never tire of the exciting and vibrant culture in the Land of the Rising Sun. But remember that less than 10% of Japanese can carry on a conversation in English, which means that learning the language is a definite must before your move abroad. Give your language skills a boost with free online placement tests and excellent language classes. In no time at all you’ll be ready to say ‘Konnichiwa!’ to all the amazing things Japan has to offer!