Posted on 2007/05/31 07:53:53 (May 2007).
So here I am, in Japan, writing from the hotel (well I find it hard to call it HOTEL, it's more like a "flesh-bearer parking space"), at 3 PM of a Thursday.
The faithful reader might think "he got fired", everyone knows how long are working days here in Japan.
Well, the answer is that I did not get fired or resigned YET, I am just quite sick.
Physical problems are far from being the most important ones, the trip was centred on the need of talking to someone in charge about my position and contract, as things were turning pretty sour, and to be honest still are.
It turns out that one of the greatest pages of Japanese mentality was about to unravel in front of me, much to my amusement (I will write a chapter of my book only to speak about these things that happen only here!!) but also to my dismay.
I'll start from the end, also this trip will prove USELESS to come to a final conclusion, with that it's now a grand total of 8 months since I cannot reach a firm point with them.
I arrive on Monday, send some mails to the colleagues once I arrived at the flea infested place that I call Hotel, because in 8 months they still haven't sorted a japanese mobile phone for me..
One of my colleagues (Mr.T fron now on), a very good guy who works "outside" the area of influence of my direct boss (Mr.Y), sends me a mail telling me that the director (Mr.X) asked him to speak to me...
I start worrying, this is it, they are sending a person that has a great relationship with me so that he can prepare the coffin...
In reality is nothing like that, but we need to schedule a "secret meeting" outside the company during working hours (and everyone knew apart from Mr.Y the head of our team), he tells me that Mr.Y has been reporting really bad things about me to Mr.X, but since Mr.X knows what person is Mr.Y he cannot believe him too much and then send Mr.T to ask me what is my opinion, because maybe he is thinking about taking me outside the direct control of Mr.Y, but surely they do not want to quit my contract.
I tell his everything, how Mr.Y is lucky to be in Japan where no mobbing charges exist (he's being mobbing me in a very serious way recently), how in 8 months I am was never put in the conditions to do any real work, how I do not like his attitude towards the suppliers and clients, and of course how the contract that we signed is proving very bad under the money point of view, as we agreed on a figure and so far it has been that figure minus 20%.
Mr.T reports (secretly) to Mr.X.
Mr.X then comes up to me (secretly) and tells me that on Thursday (today) he wants to speak to me privately... Shame that his English is not that good, I start to get really worried.
Mr.T tells me that on Wednesday he will talk to me again.
On Wednesday we go to see a client and we talk, he tells me that he misunderstood what Mr.X told him the week before, he CANNOT take me outside Mr.Y influence because that was Mr.Y decision to employ me and he has full responsibility and control over my contract TOO (if to renew it or not)!!
We talk again about the job and all the problems, I ask him to tell Mr.X to cancel the appointment with me, I want Mr.T (who speaks good English) to be there too, so that we minimize misunderstandings.
In the evening we go out with Mr.T and Mr.E (the other colleague of mine, great chap) we talk all evening about it, and basically it comes out that Mr.X has spoken with Mr.Y telling him to be nicer to me and to let me do what I want under the job point of view!!
The also Mr.T and Mr.Y got together talking about me, so now Mr.T knows his version of the story. I take one evening explaining where Mr.Y ideas are wrong (in my opinion of course).
In the end they are going to have other meeting all over June and in July when I come back we'll talk again!!!
Talk talk talk, that's all it seems possible to do here, the person above me will never change his attitude, and surely now that he knows that other staff got their hands in this situation he will probably be meaner than before.
On the other side the people I have spoke with are all quite keen to work with me, they understand that my "way" of working is a positive one, and would like to have more interaction, which lacked because the person in charge was filtering everything...
As for me me head still hurts. Tonight huge dinner with Mr.X, Mr.E, Mr.Y, my old agent Kutsunugi san, the PRESIDENT of the company.
Unfortunately Mr.T is away for business, but I managed to get the promise that we will not talk about this issue.
Tomorrow is the last day, I am SURE that Mr.Y will want to talk to me, I'd be surprised if he does not, now the heat is on him, but he is also a very stubborn and proud person and will try to prove me wrong.
As for me this is exactly what I wanted to achieve, start some talk about these problems without involving him, the situation helped me a lot because I never requested anything so I cannot be accused of backstabbing.
As for the Japanese system, it's great to see that the director by playing his cards in this way DOESN'T get his hands dirty, but nonetheless manages to control the situation, and Mr.T cannot get any blame either because he was informally asked by a superior.
Nobody takes responsibility for anything, it's a crazy society this one!
Clearly Mr.Y will hate me and Mr.T forever, but fact is, he cannot vent it publicly because he has no grounds to do that!
We'll see what happens, still I feel like a fool, I was not prepared to live such an experience, no matter how much I thought I knew this society.
One thing is sure, I am quite unlucky in the choice of my bosses, this one is similar to the one I had in Ratti, a "one-man-show we do what I say only" type, strange to find in a Japanese person, so in that way I am even more unlucky!
Oh well, I'll live on thinking that bad luck must be evened out with some good luck!!
There is a phrase which springs to mind to describe the company you are forced to work with, Lox - "a ship of fools!". But I doubt many other companies these days are much better in the end. Where I work people are always protecting their backs, or building little empires. Corporate mentality really stifles creativity and destrys individuality.
I feel you are a very solid, creative, business-minded chap and deserve better than this! Though you might be stuck in this situation contractually I recommend you lining-up something else as a contingency!!
Take care over there! :)
Posted by Nigel at 2007/05/31 08:53:35.
Nigel: Absolutely right, I am moving my pawns at the moment but until the situation is clear with them it's not easy to make decisions, because technically the contract canno be stopped out of a blue, it would need to be brought to it's normal end next March. But if I look for something now, I think that the potential company cannot wait that long, so in July I hope to come out with more certainties a way or another... There must be some luck in the job side for me somewhere in the future, the last 3 years have been dreadful! :(
Posted by Lox at 2007/05/31 09:24:01.
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