Japanese mentality to work and yet another public holiday

Compared to Australians who switch their jobs every 2-3 years (or working on 6 months contract a time), I have an impression that Japanese stick to their job where you enter a company as a graduate and (if you’re a man) stick around until you receive your golden watch on the way out to retirement.
Working at a startup, my colleagues are those who have made the switch and I’m sure they’re the minorities as a start-up culture is drastically different from a traditional Japanese organisation.

To me, start-up culture seems much more liberated and flexible, yet some people don’t enjoy it and decide to leave. When I had a chat with my colleague, he said that the average Japanese have a tendency to endure. Endure and endure until they can’t take it anymore and they resign. Yet, when their manager find out why they decided to leave, their issues were fixable IF they mentioned it before they made up their mind.
I cannot relate to that mindset at all. I asked my colleague,

“Where will they go? They probably won’t be able to find an ideal job after here either if they never voice their concern?”

“Then, they search for a company that they can endure. Many can’t handle seeing other people being free while they are enduring. They want to find somewhere that everyone’s on the same page- enduring.”

I felt so sad when I heard that. All the general Japanese look for (according to my colleague) to endure and not to find joy out of work. Not searching for a place to be excited to work, be challenged and to flourish their career.

At the same time, layering the Japanese working population statistics, perhaps I’m only seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses.

  • Only 20% of Japan’s working population earns more than 6 million yen (approx AUD$81K). Average age of 6million yen per annum earner is aged 45.7.
  • A mere 2.5% of women working population earns 6-7million yen.
  • The average annual salary is 4.3 million yen.

Source in Japanese: ten-navi.com

Especially when many Japanese only save instead of investing, high-income salary will be prioritised over work satisfaction.

The work-life and the expectation in Japan may be quite different to the Australian mindset that I’m used to but the upcoming Monday celebrates those who have made it through the years of endurance and enjoying their retirement.

敬老の日(Keiro no hi, Respect for the Aged Day)

A bit of history about Respect for the Aged Day public holiday in September

Originated in Hyogo prefecture after WWII in 1947 September 15, the day was chosen as on the same day way back when in the year 593, 聖徳太子(Shotokutaishi, Japanese prince and politician) established a clinic for alone elders.
As with many other public holidays in Japan, a date has shifted to create more long weekends so Respect for the Aged Day is celebrated on the third Monday of September.

Who is considered “Aged” any way that “Respect for the Aged Day” celebrates? There isn’t a specific age but some say the retirement age of 65 or any age when a person has grandchild or grandchildren.

I personally don’t recall celebrating Respect for the Aged Day but apparently, grandchildren make handmade gift or card to their grandparents and the parents send gifts on behalf of their child.

Do you like a public holiday to celebrate senior people or do you have one in your culture?

Whether you’re hustling now or enjoying a lot of free time, whether you’re young or old, hope you enjoy your weekend!

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