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I encountered the same criticism (not doing overtime) when I was working for a Japanese company even though I'm the only one who is doing 5 projects at the same time and all ahead of schedule with no major issues. I was actually passed over for a promotion because of it. This post brings back bad memories :)

Could you elaborate a bit? I know the Japanese generally work long hours, and would love to hear an eyewitness' account of how things are done there and how you were dealing with the status quo (i.e. what you told your bosses, did you experience peer pressure).

Well we normally have a time in (9am) and this is usually enforced via a fingerprint scanner and a physical attendance check by one of the admin person. There are 3 checks a day: morning, lunch, and 3pm tea break. Lunch break strictly starts at 11:45am until 12:45pm and tea break starts at 3:30pm until 3:45pm, any tardiness even 1 minute late would be reprimanded by one of the senior managers. We work until 6pm, well that was the plan, but for the most part everybody stays an hour late, but the Japanese folks in the company usually stays in until 11pm. I know this for a fact because one time I came back in the office around 10pm and everybody (Japanese) was still there (we're not allowed to access the servers remotely, any critical issues should be addressed from the office).

For the most part there's no peer pressure from my colleagues (both Japanese and non-Japanese), but the pressure comes from the senior management. My probation period was extended because of me leaving on time everyday, even though all of my tasks are completed.

I left the company for a different reason though. I applied for my honeymoon leave and got rejected twice.

(This little story is by no means a representation of all Japanese companies or all Japanese, just a retelling of my experience working for a Japanese company)

Very interesting, thanks.

The fact that they monitor 1-min deviations from prescribed time really seems outlandish to me. Makes me view my chill startup job (45-55 hours a week) in a new light.

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