I just flew to Germany for a business trip and after an intense week, there is one thing I’m sure of, no thanks, I don’t want to work in Germany again.
Our working conditions in Japan are not the best in the world and yet I prefer working in Japan ten times to working in Germany and here is why.
Germany is a very individualistic place, which has its advantages and disadvantages. Whilst Germans have more holidays, get on top of that paid leave if a doctor signs a magic paper declaring you are sick, “nobody” gives a damn about you.
The person who was supposed to help me setting up my trainings on Japanese business culture over here, was busy with some customer emergency and not available, and so I stood there alone, having to organize everything by myself in a work place I am not familiar with. People saw me dragging stuff around and did not offer help. When I asked if someone could help, I got blank faces, lame excuses or was outright ignored with the result that I had to do all the crap alone.
On the last training day, I held the training in an exposed place where many people pass and three colleagues from my office in Japan walked by, who were on business to Germany as well. They saw me, immediately came in and asked if they could help.
That is why it is okay to work in Japan despite less favorable working conditions. People look out for you, people help you, without even having to ask them. Of course that happens mostly or more easily if you are part of a group.
In Germany people think in boxes and if there is something out of ones own box you very quickly hear the term, “that is not my responsibility”. I’ve come to thoroughly dislike the phrase…
Having worked in Japan for quite some years now, I have gotten used to doing what is needed, rather than doing what is in the realm of my responsibility and my Japanese colleagues do the same. Only to a certain extent of course, but that extent is so much wider than in Germany. I left the German headquarters quite sobered and it is clear to me that I don’t want to work in such a cold and impersonal environment ever again, even if there are more holidays and paid sick leave.