Saturday, February 7, 2009

Welcome to the Boys Club

So, I got this big meeting coming up on Sunday. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have recently been promoted. Well, now I will get my official induction into management. It will be a strange experience for me. I mean, back in the states we all considered management to be the enemy of sorts.

It was the coming opinion that managements job was to order us around and tell is everything that we are doing wrong. They were not our friend. We only talk to them when we are forced to and no one has a drink with the boss after work. This kind of separation of employee and management develops a kind of good old boys mentality within the brass. In their cycle the employee is the constant butt of jokes. They watch each others back and take secrets to their grave. They know what is going on at all times but the average worker is kept in the dark until the last possible moment. Their agenda is only to increase profit margins and keep their own ass clean. Yeah, in many respects , managements teams in the states form their own little good old boys system fairly quickly. While, it offers total loyalty to the company and confidence from within the inner cycles of managements, the good old boy system has one major drawback. It breaks down the idea that hard work alone will provide a proper reward. In a good old boys system, it is not what you know but who you know. Being friends with the right person is all important to the good old boys.

As I am on the heels of entering lower management, I wonder if I will be faced with a good old system. As far as management goes in my current company their are three levels. Two other guys, and myself, will be at the lowest level. We are called Instructor leaders or regional managers. We were chosen by the second level of management which includes, Instructor manager, Training manager, and all the Japanese assistant managers. The third level is the VP`s and CEO of our company. I know the Instructor Manager, Training Manager, and one of the Japanese assistant managers. They all seem like a good bunch of guys for the most part. I have had a few beers with these fellows. Hell, when the company new year party went down the Instructor manger invited me for a little meet up for some per-party drinking. I am wondering if my friendly attitude toward management was a big factor in my promotion. If it was then I am dealing with a good old boy situation. If that is the case, then I maybe fully ready to survive. The whole idea of a good old boy came from the south. I have seen it, and been involved in it, enough times to know exactly how the game works.

Actually, I wish not to be involved in a good old boy system. I like the idea of earning things based on my own merit. Although, the truth of the matter is, Japan is infamous for good old boys. For example, in Japan drinking with the boss is almost a requirement. It is really rude to say no to a drinking invite from the boss. I have yet to understand what is rude about saying no to a bender with the boss. That is just the way things are in Japan. The boss is king and you have to do just about anything he wants.

Hell, so what if I run into a few good old boys in Japan. It is not like it is something new for me. It is actually fun sometimes to be `one of the boys` in a company. You get looked at as being kind of special within the company rumor mill. You can also get away with some stuff that other people cannot; as long as you do not take it too far of course. However things end of being, I am just glad that I am having a little success in Japan. It is not easy to survive in this damn crazy job market.

1 comment:

Our Man in Abiko said...

Our Man enjoyed your post on the joys of entering management. As an older chap whose been in your shoes (about 10 years ago!), let me impart this piece of take-it-or-leave-it advice:

Management sucks, but if you want to pay the rent/get the chick/have the trinkets you gotta play along. Doesn't mean you have to agree with all the shite they try to shove down your throat, but being right doesn't keep your kid in diapers.

Mind you, Our Man's enjoying a second lease on life thanks to jacking in his previous life as a corporate drone and now working for himself. His salary and job prospects have never looked worse, but he's enjoying life again for the first time since he can remember.

So, go for it, learn the ropes, and get the hell out before you lose your sanity.

Just Our Man's opinion, mind you,,,