Thursday, April 30, 2009

The scum of the earth comes a calling...

Generally, if you run into me for whatever reason and need to talk to me, I might not be the friendliest person you've ever met, but I'll treat you respectfully enough. Even if I'm called up by some aggressive telemarketing person I will be polite enough up to a point and probably at little bit more patient than most people even.

However, there is one type of people here in Japan that this does not apply to and I think you all know who I'm talking about here; the NHK representative. Since I moved last time to my current crib two years ago I have been spared any visits by these pesky people, but earlier this week one of them had located me and called on my door.

As my own general philosophy being located here in Japan, being a guest in the country I do try to do things correctly and the $10 a month that NHK collects is hardly a big deal even though the total time I spend watching NHK/month can probably be counted in minutes and usually consists of the rare newscast or other, but in principle I can accept that I should pay my tv license. But there is just something about these reps that come around that really really rubs me the wrong way.

They have a special aura about them that just brings out the worst in me, they look a bit like down and out salarymen with particularly dumpy looking polyester suits, think cross between a homeless person and a normal salaryman and you get the general picture. They usually seem to understand that they are considered to be human garbage by most people they come calling on and when they find out that they are dealing with a foreigner they usually get even more meek and apologetic.

I do pay, but I tend to be a bit of an asshole about it, clearly showing how annoyed I am by the whole deal and how busy I am to be dealing with things like this. The previous rep annoyed me to the degree that I refused to set up a bank transfer to have it done automatically, I kept paying in cash just so he had to come back to my place every two months and go through the whole proceedure with me, the times I didn't deliberately go into hiding. It was painful for me, but I did it because I knew it would be even more painful to him.

Once, he came in the middle of a typhoon and was, as always pretty stressed with the whole situation but managed to quite quickly get the money and get on his way out. Unfortunately he was also in such a hurry that he forgot his umbrella and didn't seem to dare call the doorbell again to pick it up. At that point I felt a brief sting of pity for the man, but it passed.

The guy who came around this time I didn't feel the same strong dislike for, just annoyance and pity, and decided to just get over with it and have the transfers done on my visa card from now on. But apparently he got very nervous in my presence and managed to fumble and mess up the process several time which made my annoyance even greater and his nervousness worse making the process take a fair bit longer than it should've otherwise. Again, it was painful for me, but even more painful for him, somehow making it worth it.

Rationally, I know that these people are just trying to do their job and I can't blame them for that, but for some reason they just rub me the wrong way. I guess it's the same with a hardened professional criminal who doesn't like cops out of principle.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yeah... this might be the reason...

As a Swede living here in Japan, there is a few foodstuffs that I miss, fortunately for me I am no big fan of Kalles Kaviar or salty liquorice that generally is quite popular among Swedes and can be difficult to find outside of Scandinavia. However, I am a big fan of Swedish crisp bread and since Ikea here in Japan stopped carrying it due to some vague claims about the humidity here making it too difficult for them to keep (most likely out of cheapness if I know those cheapskates right), I had to find other ways to procure this staple food of mine. After a little research, I managed to find a supermarket that ships to countries outside Sweden (if there any Swede expats here you might find it interesting, look here). Through that site I stocked up on some essential stuff (and some not that essential...). I do recommend them, but I question their rationale in putting all the light stuff like potatoe chips and crisp bread at the bottom of the package...

For some reason I am not myself quite sure of, as I browsed their selection, I came across a can of Norrlands Pölsa and in a brief moment of nostalgia I thought that would make a great purchase. Today I thought it would be a great idea to have some Pölsa together with pickled red beets, fried eggs and some crisp bread; basically as Swedish you can be in terms of cuisine. However, as I checked the ingredients list for the Pölsa I suddenly got a bit wary... Among the highlights I can mention lard, beef heart, beef kidney, beef liver and pork meat...

As I opened the can and saw the gray porridge like mass and the smell hit me I realized that my nostalgia had been completely misdirected and that there is a strong reason why this food is not commonly eaten now in Sweden when cuisine from other countries is actually readily available...

I think this is the reason why there are so few Swedish restaurants, not only abroad, but they are also a dying breed locally in Sweden... I had pasta instead and hopefully I will remember this if I get another sting of nostalgia in a few years and think that it would be a good idea to order me some Pölsa...

The old men still got it!

In all honesty, I very very rarely purchase CDs anymore and neither do I purchase them online, mostly I just download the stuff of some torrent tracker, the reason for this is not cheapness, it's just that most albums these days seem to contain a few good tracks and the rest is just filler. That said, if I download an album I really like and feel is worth the money I do purchase it legally later on.

Yesterday I bought the new Mobile Homes album after hearing the single "Close" and the old men still got it! Recently Depeche Mode released their new album "Sounds of the Universe" and I found it pretty dull and bland (I downloaded it, listened to it a few times and then promtly deleted it!) and even though I've always been a small time Mobile Homes fan I did not have that high expectations on the new album since some of their latest stuff has been a little boring at times.

I remember a summer night back home in Sweden some time in 1993 or something where my and my old time buddy Martin was trying to get in a goth club but since they did check ID and we were underaged we instead went to see the Mobile Homes who were performing live in the local Stockholm amusement park. What I mostly remember was what the crowd was pretty skinhead heavy (which can be bad news for a dark haired mongrel like myself...) but I got out of it unharmed.

In any case, I strongly recommend their new album "Today is your lucky day", good stuff!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Looking deeply into toilets

Discussing Japanese toilets and the sometimes hi-tech functions that they carry, as well as the subject of traditional Japanese toilets (where you crouch over it) are subjects that have been discussed to death all over the place and the people who haven't heard of that probably won't visit this blog in any case.

However, there are still significant differences between the design of "normal western toilets" that I have taken notice of across the world which I would like to take this chance to elaborate a little on. In the picture above you can see an example of three toilets from Sweden, Germany (although the design is similar in France) as well as a Japanese "Western" toilet. The top level view might make it a little difficult to easily see the differences but please allow me to elaborate on the pros and cons of each contraption.

The Swedish Toilet

The Swedish toilet is characterised by the lack of any significant "ridge" before the water and a decent size of the location of the hole with the water in. This means that any waste you drop into this toilet will eventually slide down into the water and help cover up some of the stink that might otherwise come up.

Also, the water is located at a far distance from the sitting ring make it completely feasible to stand and pee down one without having any backsplash from when making touch with the water in the toilet. The lack of any "ridge" also makes sure that it camly dripples down without and significant backsplash that might otherwise come back to haunt you if you're not powerhosing it down.
The Continental Toilet

This type is mostly seen in continental Europe and is most strongly characterized by a "ledge" before a relatively small "water hole". With this design there are significant risks if you happen to miss the hole, this includes your waste ending up on the ledge stinking down the place and forcing an extra flush to avoid stinking down the place. Also when standing up and peeing down one there is a significant risk of heavy splash damage in case you miss the small hole. The toilets are designed for people with great precision both on the front and the back sections.

The Japanese "Western" Toilet

There are two things that specifically stand out in the Japanese "western style" toilet. The first is that they are usually quite a bit lower than the other types, resulting in a closer proximity from the disposal unit and the water in one case and an increased distance in the other. Also, there is a small "ridge" on these units as well, but the shorter distance between the seat and the largest "water hole" area of this design ensures that it is extremely unlikely that any waste will end up on the ridge stinking the place up.

However, the proximity of the water from the seat results in a greater risk of a large splash of water in case of more significant output in terms of weight. Similarly the same risk occurs from standing and peeing. Also noteworthy is the opening at the front of the ring for the Japanese toilet which I assume is for the benefit of men sitting down and peeing, I have no issues with this design but neither do I see any concrete benefits.


In terms of risk of stink, the Japanese toilet is without doubt the safest way to go, but it also carries with is a large risk of splash damage.

From my perspective I have difficulties seeing any concrete benefits in the continental toilet, unless you have great accuraccy there is a high risk of both stink and splash damage.

The best design is without doubt the Swedish toilet which strikes a perfect balance between risk of stink and risk of splash damage.

(In the name of globalization, I probably should've included US toilets in the study, but I cannot for the life of me remember which style the toilets over there are built around...)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

You can't really complain now you know

During my visit back in Europe I also managed to catch up on some of the newest greatest tv-shows that I had completely missed here in my isolation in Japan. It seems like there is a trend now to start adapting some Japanese shows to the European market with the general consensus being that Japanese shows are really crazy.

However, during my time in Europe I managed to watch both "Rock of Love" and "Flavor of Love", shows that have completely passed me by here in Japan. If I ever saw anything that can be called "trash tv", this is it and since I did not have time to watch much tv during my visit I'm sure that I just scraped the surface of the trashy shows currently in existence. However, just the fact that the West has produced shows of this nature (ok, they're from the US, but there are similar equally bad shows locally produced in Sweden now too with that local amateurish feeling that makes is slightly worse so I can't say that we're any better) automatically disqualifies us from making any accusations calling Japanese television stupid (Ok, it's just grades in hell, but still...).

Me? Yeah, as a connoisseur of anything trashy and crappy I loved the shows! Especially "Rock of Love", there is something really pathetic and sad about that Poison singer that I got a kick out of!

(Usually I try to find some stupid picture that vaguely illustrates my post in some way, but here I don't think there could be any more stupid pictures than an actual shot from the show...)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Life at Airports

Now, after finally getting out of France, but having spent a considerable time now the latest week in Airports I think that I should give a brief review of my favorite airports across the world. The rating is from 1-5 Salaryman with 5 being the best. One cup of Ozeki can also be added as a special award.

Stockholm Arlanda
A decent small airport in a small and insignificant country, but still has a decent selection of shops, restaurants and bars. Gates are within relatively close distance from the hub of restaurants and shops.
Score: 3 Salarymen; a decent small size international airport

Copenhagen Kastrup
My favorite airport among them all with the only drawback being that the people working there speaks Danish which is a twisted cross between German and Swedish and to add insult to injury they usually insist on speaking Danish to Swedes assuming that they will be understood, I usually pretend to be any nationality other than Swede so they will address me in English. But the hub section is great with many shops, restaurants and bars and a pretty large selection of English books and magazines.
Score: 5 Salarymen and One Cup of Ozeki for being the best in the world

London, Heathrow
Without any severe competition the worst airport in the world. Moving from one terminal to another usually takes at least a few hours of traversing through strange tunnels and moving up and down stairs in dimly lit corridors. They might have a wonderful selections of shops and such, but I haven’t found them yet and accessing them is sure to require hours of tunnels and dimly lit corridors.
Score: 0 Salarymen and One half drunk foul Cup of Ozeki found at a bench at the Ogukibo station in Tokyo

Paris, Charles du Gauelle
Ok, without letting my dislike and hate for the country of Paris spill over too much here, the airport is actually not that bad. A decent accessible section with shops and restaurants, one drawback is that the French engineering involved in building the place might result in you getting a section of the roof in your head when you least expect it.
Score: 2 Salarymen (one Salaryman deducted due to it being located in France)

Hong Kong
My second favorite airport in the world, also built along the same hub principle as Copenhagen airport with a large selection of nice shops, restaurants and pubs with easy access to the gates from the hub part.
Score: 4 Salarymen and One Cup of Ozeki for using the hub principle

Tokyo Narita

A strong competitor to Heathrow in being the worst airport in the world. Not only is it located so far outside central Tokyo that you feel it would be best to take a flight to get there from central Tokyo, but inside it is a sad mess of corridors and shops spread out all over the place carrying only a sad selection of English books and magazines but for some reason the restaurants in the airport only utilizes microwave when “cooking” the food and giving you plastic utensils to eat it with.
Score: One Salaryman

I should add that my experience with US airports is a bit limited and the ones I have visited do not stand out particularly in my mind as either really good or really bad.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I know, I'm just rubbing it in

Ok, I seriously do not mean to just keep throwing the dirt on France here, it is a pretty open goal and my feelings are pretty well known by now you would think. But I need to hunker down for one more night and the country is again getting to me... In this crappy hotel that once upon a time probably used to be reasonably nice but now is desperately trying to keep a luxury aura while falling apart and the best it can offer in entertainment in a real language is a broken sound airing of German MTV and the "New Paris Hilton BFF" show.

Yesterday I had the following exchange with the hotel clerk, around 8pm Sunday evening:

Mr. Salaryman: Pardon, is there a convenience store or so nearby open now?
Clerk 1: (without a moment of hestitation) No
Clerk 2: Well, there is one over here (brings out a huge-ass map and starts marking out a place way too far off to by any standards be called a "convenience store")

Just one more day...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I hate it here and I want to go home!

For reasons I have difficulties in explaining, I once again find myself in the country of the frogs. From reading this blog, you might get the impression that I have a "love-hate" relationship with the country of France. This would be completely wrong. There is probably no country on the world that I dislike as much as France, among the world's developed nations France is in the bottom of the barrel as far as I am concerned.

So I find myself in a mid- large city (not Paris this time) and am thinking that I can at least stock up on some European goods and do some shopping to at least kill the Sunday here in France when I am not tied up in work. I leave the aging and crappy hotel (that probably used to be high class 10 years ago but still thinks that it's hi-tech and fancy) to go out and do a little shopping only to find that ALL shops are closed due to it being a Sunday, nevermind that there is a substantial number of tourists around that would gladly part way with their money for a few crappy French trinkets, the needs of the market has to give to the laziness of the French.

Well, in any case, any visit to France that doesn't result in giving me severe stomach sickness should be considered a success!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why do they do it like that?!

Another highly annoying thing about leaving Japan is that the ISO group for computer keyboard standardization still does not seem to have agreed on proper placement of symbols on the keyboard between different geographical regions.

I have lived in Japan now for close to 10 years and the computers I have used are either a standard cheap non-exciting Japanese Thinkpad or my private computers with Japanese keyboards so placement of keys etc. according to the Japanese standard is now firmly imprinted into my DNA. As I am writing this on a Japanese computer I am once again at peace with the world, but having to use a local computer can quickly become a very frustrating experience since I have to search for the keys (ok, granted, the alphabet placement is the same, it's more about placement of symbols) and stop typing for a few seconds as I desperately search for the right key to push (sometimes in conjunction with another key that I also have to find...).
It annoys me.

Big bosoms and square jaws

As some of you might have figured out from my earlier post, my work again takes me around the world (well, to be honest, this time I'll stay focused on one continent). Currently sitting on a train that's supposedly "fast" but much slower than the Japanese shinkansen, but to compensate a bit the environment passing by outside is at least much more pleasant than the one seen on the Tokyo - Osaka bullet train trip that I have taken more times than I would like to think.

It's always nice to be back in Europe and after a couple of days of meetings I am slowly getting used to being back.

There are two things that hit me first and that take a few days to get used to. In Japan I am used to being, although not objectively very tall, at least quite a bit over average, but here I need to get readjusted to being of pretty average height. It doesn't really help either that all the people I have had meetings with probably had an weighted average of at least 200cm in height.

The second thing is the size of some of the women I have met with, not only have they towered over me with a significant height and body mass (and I'm not that small to begin with!) but also a bosom that can only, by Japanese standards, be considered fearsome.

For a couple of days, before I get aclimatized to being back in Europe (where I grew up, after all) it can make me feel like I'm in a bad version of a Russ Meyer movie. But all things considered, I guess there could be worse things

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

International Flying - A cultural essay

As I am an expat from Sweden and working on a sometimes International level, I have done a fair share of flying back and forth from Japan, primarily from Japan to Europe and some parts of Asia and I have sampled most airlines available and have come to the conclusion that nowhere in the world do you see cultural traits as clearly as when you try to order a double whiskey on an airplane. Let me give you a sample of what I have found to be the general trend:

Japan Airlines

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: Certainly Sir. (5 minutes later the drink arrives)

Air France

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: (looks down on me with no response and walks on doing whatever she's doing)
Mr. Salaryman: (After waiting 5 minutes a bit confused, calls the attendant button and after a further 5 minutes the stewardess comes around) Excuse me, I ordered a double whiskey a little while back?
Stewardess: (Clearly annoyed) I know, wait!
(10 minutes later the drink arrives)

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)

Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Stewardess: (Cheerfully) Oh, but you have been sitting down all this time, haven't you?
Mr. Salaryman: (A bit taken aback) Well, yes...
Stewardess: (Even more cheerfully) Then you go get it yourself and stretch those legs!
Mr. Salaryman: Ok, I will then (gets his triple whiskey)


Mr. Salaryman: Could I please have a double whiskey?
Roughly 2 meter tall Valkyrie Stewardess that must have been the result of a SS breeding program: Yes, please vait a little (15 minutes later drink arrives)

Any US based Airline

(Mr. Salaryman too tired to order a drink after receiving up to 5 security checks on behalf of having dark hair and a beard without a Japanese passport)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

You talking to me?

Today as I was getting to the ATM to transfer the payment of some bills I had almost forgotten I happened to have quite a bit of luggage with me since I had bought some stuff for the home on my way back from work. I've payed bills like this a thousand times now and as my hands were full, I inserted my cash card into the machine and as I realized that my hands were a bit too full to operate the machine, I put one of my bags on top of the machine.

A few seconds afterwards a voice from the machine that I interpreted as annoyed said "Don't put things on top of the machine" (ok, the annoyedness probably was mostly in my head, but still). If I only had had someone to argue with I would've told it to wait for one minute, but talking to the machine would probably just make me look crazy, so I took the bag down, put it on the floor and finished the transfer...

I love the convenience here in Japan with all the machines, but I feel that when they're getting uppity with you it has gone a little too far...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Money, vacation and death

Recently I had a death in the family, nothing that is particularly fun or good news, but not unexpected due to a long time of illness. Thus it came as little shock to me but was generally some sad news.

However, in the company rules, there are vacation days that come into place when a death in the family has occurred (the length depends on the closeness to the relative in question, a cousin yields none), but since the funeral took place in Sweden and I did not really have the possibility to take go there for the funeral. Even I thought it would be a little tasteless to take the vacation days just to sit at home, chill and play Resident Evil 5, so I talked to the HR person and told him of the situation and asked if it was possible to take those days at a more suitable family related time, something to which he said was ok.

I didn't think more about it and save the days for the next time I go home to visit the family, but today the HR person came up to me and sneaked an envelope in my hand whispering that "this is how we do it in Japan and according to company rules", the enveloped contained 10,000 yen (aprox. $100 USD). The interesting thing here is that I had produced no evidence at all about this death in the family and they asked for none either, probably because it was for a Swedish relative.

Now, the closer the family member, the more money and more vacation days I realized after checking through the rules, so I have been toying with the thought of casually telling the HR rep that almost my whole family (which would include a large number of siblings I don't have) passed away in a freak spontaneous combustion accident and that I would like the money and vacation immediately to grieve together with my "remaining" brother and mother in a resort in the Bahamas for a couple of weeks.

I dunno, maybe this would be pushing the goodwill of the company...?

Monday, April 6, 2009

"So you wanna land a job as salaryman in Japan?" Reader mail

Ok, I generally try to stay clear of too serious subjects and observations about working in Japan since that's not particularly crazy, but since I have on a few occasions received mails from readers who found my blog and want to become a salaryman here in Japan I thought I could post the reader's mail and my reply.

Disclaimer - I am in no way an expert in the job market here in Japan, I have recruited on a few occasions though, but my advice here is valid for jobs related to sales and marketing in healthcare and consumer goods.

I received the following mail:
"Dear Mr. Salaryman,

I'm emailing you because I found your blog online and I had some questions for you.

I'm not sure if it was your original dream, but it is my dream to live and work in Tokyo as a "salaryman". I've graduated college recently with a degree in finance and economics; although these days thats not such a good thing it would seem. On top of that, I've never really taken formal Japanese courses, so my Japanese is pretty minimal with what I taught myself.

I was wondering, did you take Japanese in college? Did you speak fluent Japanese before you went to live in Tokyo? How did you come to work for your company in Japan?

I would prefer not to do the English teaching thing, but in my desperation I just might have to; which would get me into Japan's doors and help my Japanese studying. But, that is why I'm interested in your path of how you came to work in Tokyo. I'm in desperate need of some advice so I'm really looking forward to hearing your response.

Thank you for your time.
Avid reader and long time fan (Salaryman comment: Ok, maybe I made that last part up)"

Since this reader managed to time his mail when I was sitting in a dreadfully boring corporate training session where my best source of entertainment was to check my e-mail and that I do know of the hardships in finding a job here in Japan he actually received a reply pretty quickly and what I told this person is as below:

"Hi Avid Reader and Long Time Fan,

As I'm sitting now in a corporate training session I for some reason find myself with nothing more entertaining to do than to check my e-mail, so this time you'll get a quick reply!

Unfortunately I'm not sure if I can give you much hope at the moment... The global economy is pretty shitty now and it's hard to find any jobs here in Japan at the moment, that said, this will hopefully change in the not too distant future. But the key to getting a corporate job here in japan is to speak Japanese... In my office, basically all my daily communication is done in Japanese, including reading/writing reports and mails...

I studied Japanese in university and landed my job because of that (Bachelor of arts). I went through university with the target of working in Japan and after I finished my Japanese studies (including one exchange year) I also studied a year of business administratio to get something more on top of my Japanese degree. I targeted quite a lot of companies here in Japan and entered first via a low paid "summer work internship" thingy that a friendly manager helped me land via e-mail. I used that summer in Japan to formally apply to a host of jobs and got into the coporate circuit.

Assuming a reasonable Japanese level has been achieved, this fair and homepage is geared to Japanese English bi-linguals and my former consulting company always recruited there as well as many other companies from different industries.
So, my recommendation to you would be to strive to get to Japanese fluency! So... how do you do that if you don't have the financial resources to go back to school for another year or two...?

Well, the options available here in Japan is either to enter as an English teacher where Japanese skills are not required. It's a hard life, but not necessarily badly paid depending on what job you can land. To be honest, I don't know to what extent the current financial downturn has had on the English teaching job market, maybe you can try and mail some of the English teachers that blog from Japan since they know the job market better...

But... the other option is to try and land a job in recruiting (as in head hunting) who often recruited aggressively with no Japanese speaking requirements (the company east-west consulting is infamous for recruiting in massive amounts). A headhunting job would get you closer to business and give you time to learn Japanese, but it's a pretty hard life and demands that you do a lot of aggressive cold calling in a dog-eat-dog environment. This niche too is also pretty hit by the current downturn I believe, so it might not be as easy as a couple of years ago.

Sorry if I can't give you any better advice, but if you ganbaru for the Japanese fluency it is in no way impossible, but the language is the key!
Good luck!

Personally, I've never ever bothered writing up a Japanese CV "Rirekisho" (for some reason I've always gotten away with the excuse "I'm a foreigner so my CV is in English, screw you and your demands for a Japanese one", but I guess it can help, especially on entry level and I can refer you to neighborhood blogger J. Turningpin's crash course in writing a rirekisho.

If any of my readers have any additional advice to this Avid Reader and Long Time Fan, please feel free to add on to what I have written!

(Whew, this post was way too serious for my own good, look for my next upcoming feature "Cooking with Mr. Salaryman" instead)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I've been probed...

Yesterday I checked if I had gotten any new comments on my blog, nothing special at all and something I do on a daily basis to see if there are any new comments. Usually there is nothing or maybe one or two comments posted, but yesterday to my surprise I noticed almost 10 new comments having been posted on various posts, not by the normal rouges gallery either, people that have never commented before. Surprised, I checked my statistical tool and realized that I had almost ten times the number of unique visitors than a normal uneventful day and that the sudden influx was the result of the people at had linked to my latest post below about the nice kid's pants.

Since I do have a blog publicly available on the Internet, I think it goes without saying that it's fun when people find the blog and find the contents amusing or interesting, but I’ve also become used to the visitor number that I have at the moment and I do not aggressively do any efforts to spread the blog at the moment. So the massive influx (by my standards, mind you) took me by surprise and made me feel a little violated in an oddly pleasing way. I felt... probed...

If any of the Japanprobe people are reading this, hey guys, thanks for the link and as long as it’s you, you can probe me.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Yeah, that's right, f**k it!

I rarely put up any of the Engrish I find here in Japan, one part is because there are other people who do that much better than I do, but more importantly I think it's because I frankly just don't notice it anymore. With almost 10 years in this country it's just a part of life and in work I've let the occasional piece of horrid English through since it appealed to some Japanese people due to positive assocations even though it hardly made sense to someone with a basic knowledge of English.

But this weekend I found these kid's pants (as you can see in the picture) and I must say that they floored me. I am seriously considering to buy these for my little niece even if it takes 2 more years before she grows into them. But they send a strong message, "F**K the Toy!" I'm with you all the way, f**k it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"People are our most important resource"

As the battle to save the peon from a brutal firing goes on I had a discussion about the whole mess with Mr. Shachou a few days earlier.

In it, I again tried to hammer in the stupidity of firing that person without giving him a proper chance to perform, just because of of personal issues between Mr. Schachou and the peon. The discussion turned into a more general discussion about Human Resource policies and how we, as a company, are behaving in this. Obviously, like any other corporation, we have it down in writing somewhere that "people are our greatest resource" and that we must "hire and retain the best people". The last year or so, around 10 people were hired by the company and there are very few left of them now, one year later... The conversation went something like this.

Mr. Shachou: We must make sure we have the best organization!
Mr. Salaryman: Well, what about Mr. Sales Manager, you hired him and he is now demoted to a peon position in the asshole of Japan?
Mr. Schachou: Yeah...
Mr. Salaryman: And what about Captain Incompetent who you hired last year and had to take to court to get rid off?
Mr. Shachou: Yes, but...
Mr. Salaryman: And the new quality assurance people that we desperately need and that left the company and now we don't have the resources to do what we need to do?
Mr. Schachou: But they were negative!
Mr. Salaryman: And then we have Mr. We-Have-A-Serious-Problem that wants to leave and only stays on because it would be a breach of contract for him to leave just yet?
Mr. Schachou: If he doesn't want to do this, then he should leave
Mr. Salaryman: Yeah, but if he leaves, who's gonna do what he does now?
Mr. Schachou: (Silence)
Mr. Schachou: (In a very unusual apologetic tone of voice, slightly hushed) I'm not very good at recruiting, am I...?

The battle rages on, but it seems like I have gotten some unexpected allies, so saving the peon from certain destruction is still not impossible.
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