Thursday, December 22, 2011

There is something about Japan - Workoholism

Quite frankly, english dictionary does not have an accurate word to describe Japanese passion for work. Workholism is the closest. May be they should introduce a word Workadict or something which represents the addiction.
Japanese people work all the time. After Fukushima disaster, government appealed to their people to save on electricity. The easiest option would have been to limit office hours and save energy on air-conditioning and lights. They rather opted for switching off lighting in shopping areas, billboards and escalators going down. Office hours and working hours largely unchanged. A Japanese mind would thinking just after a big disaster, one should be working more not less. �
My Japanese colleagues check mails round the clock, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Their client contacts are no different. Commitments are taken very seriously. If you say a file would reach client at 5:00, the mail needs to leave your inbox by 4:55 if it has a heavy attachment. Otherwise it is considered as a delay.�
The last train from downtown generally leaves closer to midnight. Due to work or work related socializing a significant chunk of people miss it. What is amazing is, instead of making alternate arrangement to go home and creating a possibility of turning up late the next day, they check-in a night stay hotel. This hotel provides common bathroom and a bed with provision to keep a small bag. Those who missed the bus just sleep there rather than going home and resume their working the next day on time. Their family is used to such things and don't think of any alternate solution.�
But the incidence i faced with one my clients takes the cake with cherry on top. We were looking to meet an important manager on client's company on a particular day. We were seeking an appointment. His secretary gave us an appointment at 9:20 pm. We were perplexed and asked for another appointment. She said sure.. How about 10:40 pm? Needless to say we took our appointment at 9:20. The meeting started on time, discussions were excellent, we could not believe we are working well past dinner time.�
On our way back from the meeting we got the mail from the manager profusely thanking us for the visit. Before we went to bed I saw a mail from my Japanese colleague capturing minutes of meeting and confirming next action items.�
I was really speechless. Help me to find a suitable word for this degree of workholism.
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