Questions frequently asked by foreigners and exchange students vol. 2


Hello, it’s me again, Jumpei.

Many seemed to be very surprised about the fact that in Japan it is quite usual for employees to clean their office by themselves. Although it is normal for us, upon entering a company many foreigners seem surprised by the principle of “cleaning your working place by yourself”.
We thankfully clean up things after we have used them. Being thankful is one very typical Japanese characteristic.

Today again I am gladly going to answer questions which exchange students frequently make.

Frequently asked questions concerning job-hunting.

Do employers ensure a positive work environment for foreigners?

Companies which actively hire foreigners are mostly very welcoming. Further on, there are also companies which hire foreigners for the first time and still are well prepared to overcome differences.
However, it is also possible that companies which actively have been hiring foreigners have never really prepared themselves for the process. In such a case it might be a good idea to start creating a positive work environment on one’s own. Adaptability to the work environment as well as creating such a positive work environment should not only be promoted by Japanese companies but companies worldwide.

I have heard that there is a lot of overtime work. Do I have to work overtime?

If there is work which has to be done before leaving, then one has to work overtime. Although Japanese have the image of being diligent workers or even the image of working too much they mostly do care about working hours. Forced overtime like “I cannot go home before my boss goes home” is not a rule but rather the Japanese way of considering others by thinking that they want to help if there is still something to do and the common thinking of “let’s finish the work all together”.
Many companies hiring foreigners are growing companies which are broadening their business activities abroad and therefore they have a lot of work to be done during one day. It might be helpful to ask oneself why one has to do overtime and maybe by thinking that it is an action undertaken in consideration of your boss and coworkers one’s perception of working overtime might change.

Is the company not going to support me with my rent?

Most of the Japanese companies do not pay housing allowances, since there are other benefits such as bonus and salary raise. Therefore, it should be possible to make a living without problem. Japanese set their living costs (rent + traveling expenses to the company) at 2/5 of their first salary. If the rent (and traveling expenses) exceed the before mentioned rate daily life will get a lot harder, so please be careful.