Posts Tagged work

Nov
15

It’s happening again – work is affecting my blog should I complain to my boss?

Posted by on Monday, 15 November, 2010

Well, I did a re-launch of this site complete with new graphics, new engine, and a new refreshed spirit. However, as previous “re-launches” I failed to keep up the momentum… I just deleted a ton of spam comments, which my probably outdated spam filter (Spam Karma is not contiuosly maintained anymore is it) did not catch.

I really need advise on how to keep up the freshness and spirit to keep doing this and balancing it with work and other parts of life….

Apr
18

Sitting at the window ledge – the madogiwa-zoku

Posted by on Sunday, 18 April, 2010

Sitting by the window
Generally speaking, getting fired from a Japanese company is virtually impossible. Although, I do want to stress that due to the recent worldwide economic downturn, even Japanese companies have changed a bit in that sense. I do believe though, that when we see an upturn again and the Japanese economy gets better, most companies will fall back to their traditional post-war economic boom ways of working again…

Anyway, back to my original point – due to many factors, people don’t tend to get fired from Japanese companies, instead they get pushed aside and placed at “the window ledge” (madogiwa – 窓際) – the term for these workers are “window ledge tribe” (madogiwazoku – 窓際族). What is means in reality is that they get placed somewhere in the company where they don’t get in the way, don’t get any work to do, but still receive salary. They are completely frozen out of the community and by their peers, leading to either a) they leave the company voluntarily, or b) they stick it out until the bitter end (i.e. retirement, as there is no, absolutely no, way back into the warm company family). There is of course a c) as well – although it’s very drastic and I would hope that it’s decreased recently, and that is the suicide option. Being placed by the window ledge can mean so great shame to a person that he/she feels that taking his/her own life is the only option.

Now an important note about being placed by the window ledge – in most cases it’s less about being an unskilled person and more about being problematic and “not fitting in.” Common reasons for being relegated to the “tribe” are:

  • Having upset some important person at work
  • Being disliked by coworkers
  • Cannot work well together with co-workers
  • and of course, last but not least

  • Being a hopeless fool who can’t do any work

Of course, apart from the above signs of not fitting in and thereby being moved to the side – historically it was perhaps not such a dramatic affair. Due to the traditional, post-war corporate style of giving everyone life-time employment as well as pay & titles based on seniority, it was a rather natural next step for people around middle management who did not seem fit for top management, but had “paid their dues” and could not be fired, but kept their nice title and paycheck and was sort of “pre-retired” to the window ledge.

After the economic bubble of post-war Japan burst in the late 80’s, it obviously became more difficult for companies to retain “madogiwa-zoku.” Three different approaches have emerged since then which are preferred by companies in a bit of an economic squeeze, and they are: (1) re-education or similar activities to increase productivity of unproductive workers, (2) outplacement to subsidiaries or other companies, and (3) foreign-style pre-retirement packages. I will go out on a limb here and say that option (3) is a very recent addition to Japanese companies management of unneeded staff, and probably still is almost unheard of. Even in international companies acting in Japan, “coaching out” unproductive staff by giving them a package is seen as something inherently strange and all other options will evaluated until taking that option.

Photo by rambingrovers

Dec
01

Bill Watkins is my new hero

Posted by on Friday, 1 December, 2006

Bill Watkins (CEO of Seagate) just became my new hero. I just read the Fortune interview with him over at CNNMoney.com and some of his comments are already classics to live by:

You never ask board members what they think. You tell them what you’re going to do.

CEOs who whine about Sarbanes Oxley don’t belong in their jobs. Come on guys, get over it.

and the best one of them all:

Let’s face it, we’re not changing the world. We’re building a product that helps people buy more crap – and watch porn.

I agree especially with the Sarbanes Oxley quote, as it affects my daily work. People who complain about it have missed the big picture. I might come back to this issue in a separate post, because there is a lot of stuff to be said about it!

(via Valleywag)

Jan
24

Starting to like my new job

Posted by on Tuesday, 24 January, 2006

Well, after a month of not doing especially much at my new job, part OTJ, part everyone-is-too-busy-to-give-me-work, January has been a huge improvement. Slowly I have been handed over some of my main responsibilities, and slowly I have been getting into the new job and the new company.

It hit me today, wandering through the office, that I finally am starting to like it here. It’s always tough in the beginning at a new job, and you think “why did I come here?”, “I don’t know anything, how can I be of use?”, “boy, this company is different from my previous workplaces” etc. But recently, the place has been bustling with activity, a sort of activity I have never ever seen at any of my previous jobs. There are people having meetings, talking, running around, customers coming and going, consultants en masse brought in, and tons of people from corporate HQ. It just gives the air around here a certain feel of energy and excitement. It makes me want to work, even though some of the individual tasks I do are not that exciting, you get a feeling that you are part of something huge, something that is moving forward, quickly, and that so great.