Tomorrow will be a new day in which I begin a new job; a job with completely different culture, atmosphere, and task(s) than any I have experienced before. As excited as I am, one of my main concerns is wondering about what adaptations I will need to develop in order to succeed, specifically in terms of “culture.”
It is important for any business to have a “company culture.” It’s part of branding, and what makes a company unique which is especially evident in retail, and the food industry. Think about when you enter an Abercrombie & Fitch store or Starbucks. These shops exude culture whether it be the scent of Fierce (A&F’s signature cologne), or the scent of coffee beans. This job is different. The company has a defined culture, but it simply can not create the atmosphere that a retailer or restaurant can since I will be working out of an office setting. Rather than a culture that we can visibly display in a store front, this is one in which the culture is basically what the company offers to the client day in and day out (good service, doing the right thing, etc…).
What I just talked about is the COMPANY culture that I must learn to blend in with. However that’s the EASY part, but what about the ETHNIC culture? Being professional, providing good service, and doing the right thing should not be difficult for anybody. The part that’s really making me think, is the fact that I will begin working for a Japanese company. As an American, a friendly smile, good handshake, and politeness has always served me well. Also, if this major, foreign company is functioning in the United States, they must know that the I would not be fully aware of Japanese culture. Even with that said, my managers might even be so Americanized that they might not even use traditional Japanese etiquette.
With that said, I will be seeing my coworkers more than anyone else in my life, and my mind becomes filled with questions. Even though I noticed most of the workers are not Japanese, the bosses are, and so is the company. I find myself asking questions like “Do I need to bow (which is apparently the proper greeting in Japan rather than a handshake)?” “How low should I bow?” “What Japanese words should I learn to show respect?” “Do I need to learn any Japanese at all (of course I do)?” “Are there more forms of etiquette I should learn?” During my interview I tried to do a slight bow leaning forward just slightly with a head nod. “Was that considered enough of a bow to show respect?” “Did they even notice, or was that even considered a bow?” “Am I over-thinking all of this?”
With all these questions, I welcome a new learning experience, and am excited to see what happens next in my life.