Professionalism in Japan

The emphasis is on conformity, deference and hierarchy. Doesn't mean you can't have fun in your life -- you should -- but here is what it does mean:

1. You'll probably have to wear a suit at your workplace. Best picks are conservative, meaning dark with no particular flare. Don't be a fashion designer expressing yourself, just fit in.

2. Treat superiors with tremendous respect, and basically just don't question what you're being told. Particularly when getting feedback on your work. If you're in a relatively low-ranking position, as I am, then you also will need to apologize as part of receiving feedback.

3. The customer is actually always right. It's an old saying, but actually true in Japan. Whatever the situation is, make sure that your customer or client is clearly happy with any transaction.

4. Read your company's policy book, and follow its rules. If you have a question about a rule, the best way to bring it up with your supervisor is at meeting, when it is time for open questions, at which point you could ask for advice on how to follow the rule.

5. Keep a positive frame of mind. If you've come from a place like Europe or the Americas, where things are different, just accept Japan's way as a new way for you to be a professional.

6. If you keep a blog, don't talk about the office. You can talk about working in general, but don't talk about your specific workplace, or your co-workers, or your clients in particular.

7. Don't use your real name on the internet unless you want people to know you wrote it!

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