The Mystery of the Missing Million(2002)

The expectations on Japanese men is unreal. I worked for a very large Japanese manufacturing company at one of its USA locations. During plant start up, many of the Japanese engineers were on site to “help”. We got a glimpse of their world. If I were trapped in something like that, I’d definitely consider suicide. In Japan, engineers for this company must always have their desk/offices on the first floor. They’ve had such an issue with engineers snapping, running up to a higher floor or the roof, and jumping. If an engineer or technical person has to go to a higher floor (say, for a meeting), then they must be escorted by a manager.

They’re expected to get there super early and work until super late. They usually all go eat dinner and drink together in the evening and then go back to the office for a few hours. It’s considered rude and unprofessional to leave before your supervisor does. The thing is… they aren’t really any more productive than their American counterparts. They just spread out their work over a longer day. They might work for a few hours, shoot shit for a few hours, and repeat.

The difference is that they cant have a life outside of their career and meet career expectations. Suicide is a huge problem among Japanese technical professionals.

If you’re going to do this though you need to instill a sense of community and togetherness, or you’re just going to have people living in close proximity but who are really still estranged from one another.

I propose a badge of sorts that they can (must) affix to their shirt front or shirt sleeve, and when you see another of your concentration camp mates out you can tell them apart because they have their badge on their shirt. So you’d be out in a crowd but you could always feel like you had friends around so long as you saw some badges (which could be like stars I guess).

There’s probably plenty of workplaces near you that have implemented “anti-harassment” policies instead of actually doing anything to change the workplace culture. The place that I work (or at least the office staff at the place I work from) have started a trend of requesting standing desks because being sedentary is bad for your health, so let’s all be sedentary on our feet rather than being sedentary on our asses like we used to be (studies have shown that standing desks do little, it’s actually about how much physical activity you do.)

We know that marketing shit food to kids has an impact on childhood obesity and the incidence of “lifestyle diseases”. What do we do? Provide nutritional information so that overworked and absentee parents could figure out just how bad all those different breakfast cereals are for their kids if only they had the time and inclination (and the energy to deal with having yet-another tantrum before the kids are ready for school.)

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