Working overtime in Japan

Despite living in Japan for close to four years now, I would say that not many things really get on my nerves. Actually I think if I wrote more about my culture shock and depression back in 2011, there might be more to complain about. Over the years, I just don’t sweat the things I have no control over. Complaining or stressing over other people faults isn’t the way to live life. The only thing a person can change is themselves and their future. I can’t change others or the past. If I can’t tolerate how a person is then I’ll just stop dealing with them. That’s how I’ve come to live my life. Sure there are people who say to me that I am too nice or something like that. I just think of it as stress reduction.

Although recently something has gotten on my nerves concerning overtime. In Japan, getting paid for overtime is unheard of, and despite this many Japanese will stay at work for long hours. I’m not entirely sure of the situation for Japanese though. And I don’t want to be quoted for giving misinformation. But I do now about my position, and I don’t get paid for overtime. This annoys me. Normally I do leave at my scheduled hours, but August through October requires me to stay an extra hour or two to help with English speeches. Honestly I like helping my students, and I want to see them do their best. But my time is of value to me as well.

I don’t get any money for working overtime or helping. I talked to my employer about this and they gave me a pretty standard answer. Basically, help out with the English speeches, but don’t let them take advantage of your time. Sorry we can’t pay you for this.

I would like to get paid but I am trying to look at the positive in this situation. I know as the foreign English teacher there are many times where I have nothing much to do. I can’t make activities or there are no classes to go to that day. Even though the Japanese English teachers are doing a lot of other things. So I guess I try to look at it as compensation for those times where I’m not doing a whole lot. I don’t know if the Japanese English teachers even think of it in this way.

But whatever helps me to rest easier at night.

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