Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dark Side of Salaryman...

He's Evil!
I've been in the new company for less than two weeks and am going in very mild as I really don't know anything on how the company works, the personality of my colleagues (that well) and have a lot of work to do to come to grips with the products and extreme amount of complicated processes that seem to be in place for everything. So at this point, I'm extremely polite, keep the offensive jokes to myself and am probably perceived as a very careful and mild person. As the office is 100% Japanese, I also communicate only in Japanese which further enhances the politeness.

However, the other day we had a dinner with an American visitor over from the head office as we talked in English my "foreign" personality got turned on which is more dominant and in comparison, a lot more aggressive than how I interact with my Japanese colleagues at this point. I didn't really think much about it since it comes quite naturally to me when I interact with a Westerner in English. 

However, apparently it made an impact on some of my colleagues who during an after-work beer session vividly told some other colleagues how different I had behaved and that I had shown the "Dark Side Salaryman" (he did mean it as a compliment though). I reassured him that in the not too far future they will be longing for the time when I was mild mannered and silent.

...changing jobs is for sure always an interesting experience but quite frustrating to have relearn everything when I used to know exactly how things were done...

9 comments:

William said...

Having switched jobs recently myself, I totally know what you mean.

All those nice little boundary lines are gone and you have to find them again. It involves so much tiptoeing until you find a slight resistance, etc. And in the meantime, you look like a total square.

I've noticed a lot of people (here in the US) just make a lot of assumptions and if they cross a line, they just apologize and forget it. I just can't imagine doing it like that.

Chris said...

Oh shiiiiiiit!!
Play up the "Dark" character with odd secretive calls (nobody called your just pretending) and say things like "Kill" and "Mob" and "Money laundering"...wait a while...if they start acting weird it's working and you can see their English level. They should know that lingo from American movies and you can terrorize your way to some position with a private office...(not implying you don't already have a private office) I'm sure you do.....;)

canthushme said...

Its Fernando!...I amtrying to get back to blogging thanks to (in large part) you mate! Gave me the nodge I was looking for.

*Evil laugh* Prepare thyselves puny minions to suffer the wrath and evilness of Salaryman...embarce the dark sideeee!

kathrynoh said...

I used to temp work and I thought about creating a different persona for each job - being a fundamental christian at one then a biker chick at the next...

aimlesswanderer said...

Hang on, a US company, but 100% nihonjin (apart from you) in the office? Is this the Head Office in Japan? I would have thought that there should be at least a few yanks.

Will said...

The question just went through his mind: Is this a culture that enables schizophrenia?

Forgive us for being rude, 'we' don't get out that much.

(And someone is just noticing that there is a "Choose an identity" option underneath the word verification...how embarrassing)

Mr. Salaryman said...

William - Yep, yep, yep, we're doing the same thing then. It takes a little time, but I'm slowly getting into the rythm...

Chris - Do you think this Dark Salaryman should flaunt his "dissapointingly small penis" or is words enough?

Canthushme/Fernando - Hey there, happy to have been of some inspiration and thanks for all the comments! I'll make sure to check in on your blog when I have a little more time!

Kathryn - Well, that could make an otherwise dull temp job a lot more interesting!

Aimless - There are a few expats and foreign local hires, but it's basically Japanese, but that's the case with most larger firms.

Will - Well, it seems like he liked my schizophrenia, so I might as well go with the flow!

Jenny Woolf said...

Haha that's funny. I think you should treasure the name Dark Side Salaryman.

old hippie said...

I don't know which was funnier, Chris' suggestion or your reply to him
"Chris - Do you think this Dark Salaryman should flaunt his "dissapointingly small penis" or is words enough?"
That was fuckin' great!

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