I was about to sit down and write this post today and I procrastinated. I went onto a news website and found this article about a teacher explaining, using apples, the concept of bullying and how you might not be able to tell from the outside that the person is hurt but on the inside they are very, very hurt.
This article is perfect for what I want to talk about today. However, first let me give you some background. A few days ago I was meant to meet with a guy but he cancelled as he wasn't feeling very well so we rescheduled for today. Anyway I found out today that the reason he couldn't meet the other day was and these are his words, "I was forced to drink by my boss."
I got angry. Not with him but with the boss who is in his mid to late 40's. The guy I met is mid 20's. He told me that he went out with his boss and a client. OK, fair enough. It seems that in Japan if you want to climb the corporate ladder, you need to do these kinds of things. Go out with your boss to show that you are part of the team and that you are committed to the organisation. What really got my goat however is that they started playing drinking games and this is where the word force comes into it and unfortunately it has nothing to do with Star Wars. The guy I met today was saying that he wasn't enjoying it and he likes to have a drink but not this kind of drinking. As far as I am concerned this is nothing but bullying plain and simple. In Japan it is a very hierarchical society and the whole idea of obey your elders is a big part of Confucianism which is prevalent in Japanese culture. This guy's bosses crossed the line here however and I told him that today. He did complain about to me but I could always tell that he knew that it is something that he had to do because he wants to climb that ladder. It is just one one of those things you have to suffer and bear.
Why does it have to do with drinking though? Are you telling me that if you don't drink alcohol that you won't be able to climb that corporate ladder and you are going to hit that glass ceiling? This is where if you are going to climb that ladder that a certain amount of extrovertism is going to be needed. Just because you get energy from being alone it doesn't mean that you can't become the CEO or one of those titles with C at the start and O at the end. It just means that you need to show your extroverted on some occasions. You need to become the Situational Extrovert just don't allow people to force alcohol down your throat. You have standards and you can't display those standards when you are laying face down in the gutter with vomit around you.
Show your extroverted side but do it in a classy way. You don't have to chugalug or make someone chugalug. That's not you and it is not going to get you anywhere in the long run.
Postscript: This post was not meant to be an attack on Japanese culture. It was an attack on this guy's boss who bullied him and in any situation, that is not on. It's not on at all.