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(The New York Times)   Japanese firms attempt to bore unwanted employees into quitting voluntarily. Fark: by giving them subby's dream job   (nytimes.com) divider line 126
    More: Strange, Japanese, Japan, Jefferies & Company, Osaka University, boredom, Sendai, law of similars, layoffs  
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15456 clicks; posted to Main » on 22 Aug 2013 at 9:17 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-22 10:24:55 AM

rnatalie: rnatalie: My company just outright fired me as the highest paid, most senior employee (having worked there for 23 years).   Essentially I got a phone call while I was on vacation telling me not to come back

A job I used to have used to make people they wanted to get rid of the director of "special projects" as there were no special projects.   Gave you time to work on your resume and go on job interviews.


That is just what one department that I used to work in used to do. You knew who the next VP out the door was when they were named VP over special projects.

And sorry to hear about your job loss. I once worked for a small chain of stores that called a company-wide meeting right before Christmas. We all thought we were going to get a bonus, but they told us that they had just sold us to a local competitor, who wanted our locations but didn't need our people, and that we were termed right then & there.
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-08-22 10:28:21 AM
Egoy3k:

RTFA, it's illegal to lay people off in Japan. It would be monumentally stupid if there was work for these people to hire new people just so they can keep these others banished to the land of wind and ghosts.

======

Correction: August 21, 2013

A headline on Saturday about efforts by businesses and the government in Japan to loosen rigid restrictions on job terminations for full-time employees misstated, in some editions, the nature of the restrictions. While lifetime employment has long been the norm in Japan and large-scale layoffs remain a social taboo, at least at the largest corporations, dismissals are not "illegal."

===
I did read the farking article.. did you?
 
2013-08-22 10:29:29 AM

Egoy3k: Nhojwolfe: Geesh a company being held accountable for the employees that helped them get where they are.
We must get rid of this immediatly.

Yeah god forbid Sony stop making magnetic tape in 2013.


Or simply train  the workers you pushed so hard for years to help you profit off those tapes make cd's dvd's etc.

Or you can throw them out for younger workers and rinse and repeat in a few years..
 
2013-08-22 10:30:43 AM

Sybarite: My god, I would get so much reading done.


The guy gets internet in there. Why WOULD he leave?!?!?
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-08-22 10:30:57 AM

pkellmey: The described job is what any server administration job is when properly done.


It is true, which is why pointy-headed bosses hate admins/IT so much.  They are "sitting around with nothing to do," downsized, there is a massive problem that they are needed for and not there because of pointy-headed boss.  Then they hire too many.  The cycle continues...
 
2013-08-22 10:31:59 AM
dilbert.com
 
2013-08-22 10:32:06 AM
Go to work everyday and get paid full salary to sit in a room, read, and surf the intrawebs!?!?

beagamecharacter.com
 
2013-08-22 10:32:25 AM
If I had internet then I would be doing the same as I would at home but getting paid.

They totally underestimate my capacity for sitting in a room on a computer trawling the intertourets
 
2013-08-22 10:34:43 AM
If the Japanese find out about Fark, Drew is going to get rich.
 
2013-08-22 10:35:24 AM

Egoy3k: I have a friend who worked in japan and this used to drive him insane.  The most senior employees would do absolutely nothing because there was nobody senior to them to tell them to get to work.  Meanwhile the younger workers are coming in 3 hours early every day.


Sounds like a union job.
 
2013-08-22 10:37:54 AM

Debeo Summa Credo: Over the long term, our economy has benefited relative to Europe and Japan's by being more flexible.


True; in Japan it is extremely difficult to get rid of a slacker.  They use various methods of emotional abuse, but some guys just grow a thick skin.  Thing is, if you look at just the sheer amounts of misery both countries can create despite massive per-capita wealth, I'm not sure if either way is better if we all remember for a moment that each "employee" is a person.  Not to mention this article is strictly referring to full-time employees, which Japan is moving away from.  Like America, they're increasingly using contractors in full-time positions.

The implicit assumption in the above is that the economy is more important than the people in it.  I've always regarded "teh economy" as a tool for allocating resources, but I'm kind of alone for it.  For as long as I remember, we've allocated resources to serve the tool.  The finance types have it so backwards they wouldn't look any stranger to me if they commuted to work by pulling their cars.
 
2013-08-22 10:39:30 AM
If Sony were smart, send those employees to work in a call center. That will suck the life out of them and make them want to quit.

/works in a call center
//got lucky and work for AT&T business solutions
///If I got sent to AT&T wireless collections and billings, I would have quit already
 
2013-08-22 10:40:33 AM

PunGent: Here's a crazy idea:  a government and/or private sector initiative to retrain obsolete workers with modern skills.

Offer him half-tuition or something; cheaper than paying him to sit in a room...farking waste.

/crazy idea is crazy
//probably socialist, too


THIS^^^  Some woman in the article got a degree in Nursing while sitting in that room?  WHY?  Get a degree in something Sony hires in.

These are factory workers and engineers, you'd think they could find SOMETHING to do to be profitable themselves.  Get someone in there to spitball ideas with their existing skillsets and start a new, more profitable business unit.

/Not how Japan works
 
2013-08-22 10:46:54 AM
So, write a book, read, and complain on Fark all day?

What's the downside?
 
2013-08-22 10:55:45 AM
If they really want to get rid of these people then fill up their schedule with meetings. Sitting in project meetings tests even my capability to handle boredom
 
2013-08-22 11:02:39 AM
I would do unspeakable things to have that job.
 
2013-08-22 11:04:06 AM

rnatalie: My company just outright fired me as the highest paid, most senior employee (having worked there for 23 years).   Essentially I got a phone call while I was on vacation telling me not to come back


Profits are ALWAYS more important than people. Or moral decency.

It's the American way. Worship your Lord God, the Holy Dollar!
 
2013-08-22 11:07:32 AM
I work from home. Have for years.

I put in a good, solid, 2-3 hours a day and get paid very well for that time.

After slaving for the man for 25 years, it's nice to have made it to the point where I dictate my schedule.
 
2013-08-22 11:10:04 AM

The Irresponsible Captain: So, write a book, read, and complain on Fark all day?

What's the downside?


No fapping.
 
2013-08-22 11:14:54 AM

rnatalie: My company just outright fired me as the highest paid, most senior employee (having worked there for 23 years).   Essentially I got a phone call while I was on vacation telling me not to come back


In America we'd rather pay useless people a little than competent people more.
 
2013-08-22 11:16:40 AM

lousyskater: I would do unspeakable things to have that job.


Then strangle a hooker. You'll get life in jail most likely. Free room and board, and nothing to do all day.
 
2013-08-22 11:18:55 AM
As someone who's been laid off a few times, I really have no problem with what Japan is doing.  If I had the choice of sitting in a room doing crosswords and reading Fark - as long as you keep paying me, I'm fine with that.

I got laid off once from a marketing company.  Me and one other guy, in the interest of coming up with new things to sell, where constantly churning out new ideas for the sales/marketing people.  We would demo them new ideas and expect the sales people to go out and get some hits.  In the end, we both got laid off.  All of the sales/marketing people were still there.
How the hell does that make any sense?!  If they were doing their damn jobs, we wouldn't have lost ours.

Once I got laid off from a Twp Gov't job (that never happens).  I spent 4 years taking all of the individual department's Access databases, and reproducing them using a web based interface and a centralized SQL database.  This improved efficiency, for starters, by removing all the ridiculous reduncy they were slogging through before.  Suddenly the Council decided they could no longer justify my salary.  Meanwhile, it was conclusively proven that the work I had done was already saving the Twp over twice my salary just in man hours.  All those people that were wasting all that money stayed.  I got laid off.

So, in my very disgruntled opinion, I think it absolutely sucks that companies of any size are legally allowed to lay people off.
 
2013-08-22 11:23:14 AM

dmaestaz: If Sony were smart, send those employees to work in a call center. That will suck the life out of them and make them want to quit.

/works in a call center
//got lucky and work for AT&T business solutions
///If I got sent to AT&T wireless collections and billings, I would have quit already



How long from the time you clock out till you start drinking?

/will take to pulling bank heists before I go back to call center work
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-08-22 11:25:35 AM

r1niceboy: rnatalie: My company just outright fired me as the highest paid, most senior employee (having worked there for 23 years).   Essentially I got a phone call while I was on vacation telling me not to come back

In America we'd rather pay useless people a little than competent people more.


To add on to what you are saying, the only valued job across the board has to do with some sort of "executive" permission or management.  Everyone else is seen with very little value.  It's an attitude that is going to kill us in the end, but the CEOs won't care... they'll have cash in the bank.
 
d23 [TotalFark]
2013-08-22 11:26:43 AM

misanthropic1: dmaestaz: If Sony were smart, send those employees to work in a call center. That will suck the life out of them and make them want to quit.

/works in a call center
//got lucky and work for AT&T business solutions
///If I got sent to AT&T wireless collections and billings, I would have quit already


How long from the time you clock out till you start drinking?

/will take to pulling bank heists before I go back to call center work


I'll starve before I work at any call center that the public can call into.  It's not worth the mental anguish.
 
2013-08-22 11:29:48 AM
My partner and I are really nice guys and we don't really like confrontation.   We tried this for the first several years of our existence when we had made a bad hire.   I can tell you it doesn't work.
 
2013-08-22 11:30:33 AM
It's starting to get that when I hear or read the words "dynamic economy", all I envision is a massive boom/bust cycle.
 
2013-08-22 11:32:00 AM

dragonchild: Carn: Holy fark!  They let you sit there and surf all day?  You still get paid?  Do they not let you pee or something?  I'm not seeing the downside here.

NutWrench: I'm guessing it's a cultural thing where you're supposed to be deeply ashamed that you're not working your fingers to the bone every second of the day to contribute to the greater glory of the company or something.

The main downside is that you're ostracized by your peers.  If you're not pulling your weight that's more work for the rest of us, and that makes you very unpopular, very quickly.  I know a lot of Farkers don't mind being despised but one other thing to consider is that Japan doesn't use offices or cubicles.  You're in a room full of people who ignore you, and mind you the Japanese often don't make much base pay so they have to work overtime to claw their income back up to middle class (they work long hours but they'll often slow down the pace to stretch out the work -- not very efficient).  So for 13 hours a day you're essentially experiencing a social form of sensory deprivation even as you're surrounded by people who can see everything you do.  If you're not an outright sociopath the experience can get downright excruciating.


You misspelled engineer.
 
2013-08-22 11:43:41 AM

PunGent: Here's a crazy idea:  a government and/or private sector initiative to retrain obsolete workers with modern skills.

Offer him half-tuition or something; cheaper than paying him to sit in a room...farking waste.

/crazy idea is crazy
//probably socialist, too


Tuition reimbursement for retraining is a fantastic idea, IMO.  I tried to convince my old boss to get into it, but he wouldn't.  I worked for a small publishing company (a very profitable one) that was transitioning from print to digital.  My argument is that it's difficult to find quality people.  I'd rather invest the money in retraining the people we had (who were willing to work all day and go to school at night) than letting them go and going to through the pain of finding quality people with modern skillsets.

We lost so much time, and a ton of ground to our competitors, by listing the jobs, then interviewing and training new people.  Our current products suffered as much as the future products, which wouldn't have happened had we spent a few thousand sending our editors to the local community college to learn better computer skills.  Not to mention we paid out unemployment to the people we let go, and everyone else in the company was completely demoralized.
 
2013-08-22 11:52:50 AM

ds_4815: Raging Thespian: Sybarite: My god, I would get so much reading done.

Or so you think...

[www.martyafterdark.com image 540x405]

By ONE BLOODY SECOND, you schmuck.


The quick and the redundant.   First and first loser.  Ha.  What a shameful day ds_4815 must be having.  To go from witty to redundant in the span of one second.  If samurai had the internet, I bet what happened to you would be grounds for committing seppuku.
 
2013-08-22 11:54:52 AM
They should play the song "Someone left the cake out in the rain", sung by William Shatner, over and over all day in the room and ban any ear plugs.  They will take retirement and leave in no time.  Believe me\, I know.
 
2013-08-22 12:00:35 PM

durbnpoisn: Once I got laid off from a Twp Gov't job (that never happens). I spent 4 years taking all of the individual department's Access databases, and reproducing them using a web based interface and a centralized SQL database. This improved efficiency, for starters, by removing all the ridiculous reduncy they were slogging through before. Suddenly the Council decided they could no longer justify my salary. Meanwhile, it was conclusively proven that the work I had done was already saving the Twp over twice my salary just in man hours. All those people that were wasting all that money stayed. I got laid off.


The way they probably saw it is that you saved them so much money by doing all that work and now they can save even more by eliminating your salary, too.
 
2013-08-22 12:10:57 PM
Hmm. I think I'd hire out of that room. The ones that use that opportunity to better themselves and seek employment where they can contribute are clearly motivated. The ones that are complacent with the situation are clearly just about doing the minimum to get by.
 
2013-08-22 12:11:03 PM

Carn: Holy fark!  They let you sit there and surf all day?  You still get paid?  Do they not let you pee or something?  I'm not seeing the downside here.


The "downside" is that Sony is presuming Japanese cultural norms will kick in and the sidelined employees will be so ashamed at not being productive that they will find other jobs or commit career suicide (quit). Sony's problem is that they are not lying to these employees. The employees are not being told that their work was under standard nor that they were causing non-job related problems in the workplace. Instead, as good workers, they were simply told that they were no longer wanted. Sony violated the social contract that drives Japanese employment. Employees are to have lifelong loyalty to an employer, employers are to have lifelong loyalty to employees. Sony has violated that loyalty. Employees who do their jobs well are still being told to leave, despite having lived up to their side of the obligation.

In an individualist culture, like the USA, the employer is happy and permitted to say "Go fark yourself, you're out." for any reason or no reason at all. In return for this "Routinely impale the employees with red-hot spiked metal implements just because you can" approach to human relations, employees morally owe zero loyalty to employers at any time beyond the barest minimum necessary to hold on to the job. On the other hand, in a communal/shame culture like Japan, the total dogmatic loyalty expected of employees must be paid for by similar levels of loyalty from employers to employees.

The Japanese employers want to have things work both ways. They want a Japanese level of loyalty from employees to employers combined with an American level of disloyalty from employers to employees. Of course, American employers also want this.
 
2013-08-22 12:12:49 PM

durbnpoisn: So, in my very disgruntled opinion, I think it absolutely sucks that companies of any size are legally allowed to lay people off.


I had to lay off just under 300 people from a Fortune 100 company. The reason? Their sweetheart 5 year tax deal was coming to an end. They were going to have to... GASP... pay normal property taxes.

Many people had worked there 5 years. They were given a total of 10 minutes to get out of the building. This after the week before being assured there were absolutely no plans to close the center.

I had warned people for months this company didn't give a shiat about them. Doesn't make it any better. American companies don't give a shiat about their employees.
 
2013-08-22 12:13:24 PM

Nhojwolfe: Egoy3k: Nhojwolfe: Geesh a company being held accountable for the employees that helped them get where they are.
We must get rid of this immediatly.

Yeah god forbid Sony stop making magnetic tape in 2013.

Or simply train  the workers you pushed so hard for years to help you profit off those tapes make cd's dvd's etc.

Or you can throw them out for younger workers and rinse and repeat in a few years..


See here's the thing.  It takes less people to make CDs than it does to make magnetic tape. Also consider that there was no switch over day where the whole world immediatly ditched their tapes in favor of CDs and for a few years CDs and tapes were both being manufactured at the same time so there already are skilled workers in those positions.

Honestly it seems like all you labor theorists haven't actually worked in a real job and have no understanding of the fact that as unfortunate as it is sometimes people get laid off.  Life happens
 
2013-08-22 12:15:09 PM
I would start sex parties in there... I'd be the first one naked
 
2013-08-22 12:16:09 PM

evilmousse: Hmm. I think I'd hire out of that room. The ones that use that opportunity to better themselves and seek employment where they can contribute are clearly motivated. The ones that are complacent with the situation are clearly just about doing the minimum to get by.


The American view isn't the only view.

You'd also drop those people from the payroll for no good reason, with no notice. As long as the bottom line improved.

The last company I had any loyalty to was Adobe. I routinely told my employees their FAMILY comes first, not the company. Your approach confirms that.
 
2013-08-22 12:16:16 PM

Debeo Summa Credo: FTA :

"Economists say bringing flexibility to the labor market in Japan would help struggling companies streamline bloated work forces to better compete in the global economy. Fewer restrictions on layoffs could make it easier for Sony to leave loss-ridden traditional businesses and concentrate resources on more innovative, promising ones."

"Labor practices in Japan contrast sharply with those in the United States, where companies are quick to lay off workers when demand slows or a product becomes obsolete. It is cruel to the worker, but it usually gives the overall economy agility. Some economists attribute the lack of a dynamic economy in Western Europe to labor laws similar to Japan's that restrict layoffs."

These are key points. Over the long term, our economy has benefited relative to Europe and Japan's by being more flexible. Europeans and Japanese are much more reluctant to hire new people when demand increases because it is so much more difficult to let them go when it becomes necessary.

Paying people to do nothing or to do something that is worth less than you are paying them is detrimental to the economy.


I agree, but I also find the moralistic bullshiat that goes with it to be beyond stupid. Why not be honest about this? Right now, the tired old refrain is that American workers are trash because they aren't "loyal" to employers. Loyalty in a free society is a two-way street. If employers owe employees zero loyalty, then employees owe employers zero loyalty. It's that simple. Do what is the bare minimum to keep your job and no more--that is all the moral obligation that exists for an employee in the dog-eat-dog world of a "nimble" economy. If you want promotion, work better--but remember that it's all just for your benefit. Any benefit that accrues to the employer is merely incidental to your ascension. Anything else is childish naivete.
 
2013-08-22 12:16:19 PM
Thats....a lot like my current job
 
2013-08-22 12:17:13 PM

durbnpoisn: Me and one other guy, in the interest of coming up with new things to sell, where constantly churning out new ideas for the sales/marketing people.  We would demo them new ideas and expect the sales people to go out and get some hits.  In the end, we both got laid off.

This improved efficiency, for starters, by removing all the ridiculous reduncy they were slogging through before.  Suddenly the Council decided they could no longer justify my salary.


You stepped on management's toes, in other words.
 
2013-08-22 12:18:12 PM
can i telecommute???
 
2013-08-22 12:20:08 PM

Egoy3k: Honestly it seems like all you labor theorists haven't actually worked in a real job and have no understanding of the fact that as unfortunate as it is sometimes people get laid off. Life happens


More often than not, the layoff has ZERO to do with how well the person was doing their job. Saying "hey, shiat happens!" shows the American mentality towards workers as sub-human. Easily tossed aside.

But boy oh boy, leave a job with no notice, and what a horrible person you are, leaving the company stuck like that!

It's amazing how well corporate America has brainwashed so many. And you hear the "older" generation biatching about how Gen X'ers don't have the "work ethic" anymore. That's because they have seen the crap stain that is "corporate honesty", and don't fall for the "be loyal to your company" bullshiat.
 
2013-08-22 12:20:27 PM
ts1.mm.bing.net
Matchstick Boats?
 
2013-08-22 12:22:20 PM

mediablitz: durbnpoisn: So, in my very disgruntled opinion, I think it absolutely sucks that companies of any size are legally allowed to lay people off.

I had to lay off just under 300 people from a Fortune 100 company. The reason? Their sweetheart 5 year tax deal was coming to an end. They were going to have to... GASP... pay normal property taxes.

Many people had worked there 5 years. They were given a total of 10 minutes to get out of the building. This after the week before being assured there were absolutely no plans to close the center.

I had warned people for months this company didn't give a shiat about them. Doesn't make it any better. American companies don't give a shiat about their employees.


Stop being a gigantic pussy and quit. Just because they haven't come for you yet they will someday, better it is on your own terms. Or better still get yourself blackmail material against some C class employee or board members. (If you are a sysadmin you don't even have to find the material, just say you found some)
 
2013-08-22 12:23:08 PM
Sony also said that it offered workers early retirement packages that are generous by American standards: in 2010, it promised severance payments equivalent to as much as 54 months of pay.

4 1/2 years of severance pay. That does seem like a pretty generous offer, to me.
 
2013-08-22 12:23:51 PM

RembrandtQEinstein: Thats....a lot like my current job


Same here. I'm currently prepping lunch while listening to Alice in Chains and Farking. Getting paid to do it. I have valuable skills that don't require I work 8 hour days, and by god, I don't.
 
2013-08-22 12:25:28 PM

Sin_City_Superhero: Sony also said that it offered workers early retirement packages that are generous by American standards: in 2010, it promised severance payments equivalent to as much as 54 months of pay.

4 1/2 years of severance pay. That does seem like a pretty generous offer, to me.


Wow, I've never worked for a large corporation that offered anywhere near that much severance. Good for them.
 
2013-08-22 12:26:03 PM

Sin_City_Superhero: Sony also said that it offered workers early retirement packages that are generous by American standards: in 2010, it promised severance payments equivalent to as much as 54 months of pay.

4 1/2 years of severance pay. That does seem like a pretty generous offer, to me.


In a society where it is VERY difficult to get hired for another job if you "quit", no it isn't.
 
2013-08-22 12:27:07 PM

pkellmey: Sin_City_Superhero: Sony also said that it offered workers early retirement packages that are generous by American standards: in 2010, it promised severance payments equivalent to as much as 54 months of pay.

4 1/2 years of severance pay. That does seem like a pretty generous offer, to me.

Wow, I've never worked for a large corporation that offered anywhere near that much severance. Good for them.


I have a strong suspicion that in an American Sony office, nothing of the sort would be offered.  In fact, you'd probably be lucky to be an actual Sony employee, rather than a contract or otherwise temporary worker.
 
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