12 March 2013 ~ 7 Comments

Treacherous Teachers Grinning in my Grill Piece

I want to say more…I do.

But I ain’t…

I will just reiterate what I told my peeps on Twitter/Facebook as it was happening:

From Twitter:

no backstabbing“Just learned that I have once again been the target of Japanese teacher treachery, grinning in my grill piece while sticking the knife in my back slowly.”

“It’s enough to make you wanna spew chunks all over the office and personnel then make for the exit and never look back. I feel disgusted.”

“I feel so demoralized. I just want to leave. The. Building. Now. This is fuel for hate.”

“I forget how vulnerable I am emotionally to the BS until these moments. I put up a tough front, but this kind of shit kills me…”

The stuff from FB was a bit more graphic and in-depth so I’ll reserve that for personal friends. But I wanted to thank all my Twitter buddies for the encouraging words. Helped keep me from saying or doing something  in that office I probably would have regretted, on the real.

I would give more details but I think I need a little distance from it to do it justice and not be too effing vicious. I mean, it’s a doozy but at the same time probably unfortunately something that most NJ living here have experienced at one time or another to one extent or another for it seems this is part of the national effing character.

…at least that’s how it was explained to me today by a representative of  “We”.

It has been a solid three years since I’ve experienced this feeling of being gored in its full glory, though. After that first episode –which long time readers may remember for I blogged about it some time back — I had kept my guards up. Not sure why I dropped them, to tell you the truth. Distracted by all this book hoopla, I bet. Or focusing too much on the editing of the second, and what not, and forgot that I’m still primarily (at least income-wise) a teacher working for a Japanese company. 

I guess you can say it’s my bad. But, you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t happen again.

That’s assuming I ever recover from this wound. I really don’t know how to do it, nor how I might respond next time one of them comes a-grinning in my grill piece.

All day I kept thinking about Malcolm X  who once described the conditions for blacks in America this way: “If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress. If you pull it out all the way, that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven’t even begun to pull the knife out, much less heal the wound. They won’t even admit the knife is there!”

A friend of mine on Facebook said something along the same lines (which is why she is a friend, for she gets it more than most.)

She said: Backstabbing does happen everywhere, but it feels different in Japan for a variety of reasons. One is that it’s often done with a smile and takes you by surprise. Another is that you’re expected to pretend that it’s no problem at all even as the knife is twisted. In the U.S., no one expects you to smile while they mess with you, and most people don’t pretend it’s not happening (at least on some level).

As Forrest Gump used to say: 


PS: And if you haven’t read Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist yet, what are you waiting for? A personal invitation? Check it out! It’s available in paperback and E-book version here.

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7 Responses to “Treacherous Teachers Grinning in my Grill Piece”

  1. Kathryn 12 March 2013 at 6:27 pm Permalink

    It’s a shitty feeling and even more shitty if it’s from someone you think of as a friend. It’s tough too putting your guard up – I have been thinking lately that I might be too distant from workmates and missing out on some good relationships because of that. Guards are bad like that.

    • Locohama 12 March 2013 at 6:54 pm Permalink

      Yeaaaaaaaah… OK, let’s swap. because the rewards of having them lowered, as I did for a while apparently, just don’t compare with this feeling. I’d gladly sacrificed the relationships I’ve accumulated with my guards dropped to avoid this feeling again. And it’ll just be for co-workers. Haven’t been juxt by relationships outside of the workplace (as far as I’m aware, anyway). And besides if it happens out in the world, you better believe the traitor is gonna know they effed up one way or another! And I won’t have to go back to them the next day and have them grin and play pal with me while I’m expected to do the same. Arghh…I can’t til Friday.
      Anyway, good luck to you, Kathryn, and let me know how it goes.

  2. Orchid64 13 March 2013 at 8:19 am Permalink

    I worked at the same company for 12 years. At around the 5 year mark, I was doing excellent work for them using desktop publishing skills that no one else possessed and that they were unlikely to coincidentally get from another teacher who would replace me. I used my own hardware and software to upgrade the process, and they gratefully took advantage of my expertise to move from the dark ages of cutting and pasting (literally, with paper and glue) to digital layout. I figured that I might finally get a raise that would pay for more than half a pizza that year. My husband also told me that he was sure they’d come to recognize my value.

    That year, not only did I not get a raise, I was told that they were considering firing me. It turned out that my superior had been undermining me all along. He hid how much work I did and essentially passed it off as his own. He (another foreigner) was worried that the company would look at my greatly smaller salary and his salary and decide that they could fire him and replace him with a cheaper employee if they realized the full extent of my competence. When they started talking about firing me and hiring a “fresh face”, he panicked because he knew he couldn’t do it without me. After that, he finally advocated for me and stopped hiding the extent of my talents. Of course, the company never appreciated me, but they didn’t talk about firing me again.

    That was by far my worst experience with backstabbing in Japan, but certainly not my only one. One of the things about Japan was that the hands off approach and the manner in which people don’t want to know the truth makes it much easier for manipulators and backstabbers to do their thing. If the company had ever asked me about my work, they would have known my true value. But, they rely solely on the chain of command and trust the status of higher ups in evaluating employees, even when they don’t know the value of said employees or what sort of work they do in many cases. There is just ample room in the way things are handled to allow someone to really stick it to you. They can frame you. They can take credit for your work. They can tell complete lies and you will not even know about it in many cases.

    A lot of this is due to the fact that Japanese business has no way of assessing employees and does not regularly evaluate them. Another is that they have few or weak legal protections in place for employees. Another is that they don’t ask important questions because they don’t want to hear the answers. In fact, they often won’t ask the question so they aren’t responsible for the answers. Turning a blind eye makes things easier, and that’s what they expect you to do, too, when they try to hang an albatross around your neck.

    I’m so sorry that something like this happened to you, Baye. I don’t think you should blame yourself for not preparing for impact. You can’t live your life defensively all of the time because that’s not really living. It’s a tough balance having an open heart, but not allowing people to stab you in it.

  3. Chris 13 March 2013 at 1:44 pm Permalink

    Shields Up.

    Keep em’ up.

    Folks confuse keeping space with shutting other folks out.

    I keep folks behind the barriers intentionally and engage on my terms or not at all. I have tried to be…essentially not me and have been pushed to the edge of killing people. No joke. For their physical safety and my mental stability and freedom I keep up…let’s call em’ “filters”.

    The day you wake up and everything fits…seems normal to you….a place where folks treat you with common human decency because that is…well…..the way it is…is never gonna happen.

    Clean the filters from time to time and stop expecting to milk cows and get fine wine. You know better. Nothing has changed.

    • Locohama 13 March 2013 at 3:15 pm Permalink

      “filters”. I like that.
      Yeah, gotta clean the filters. That’s a great way to look at it. Of course, now the damn AC is all busted up til the point I probably gotta get a new one and theeeeennnnnn keep those filters clean lol Thanks for the shout yo!
      PS: And I dont think expecting people, in general, NOT to stab in your effing back is “fine wine.” Maybe I’m expecting Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia from a cow, lol, but not wine.

  4. Ken Seeroi 13 March 2013 at 2:15 pm Permalink

    Japan is essentially self-rigged for explosion. It’s just a matter of time before you trip over one of the land mines.

    The thing is, Japan’s a really strict place, disguised as a nice place. People are sweet as pie until the moment you slip up, or do something small they don’t like, and then they come down hard. It’s probably a good thing they don’t have caning in this country, because they’d definitely whack the hell out of us. They certainly do it to each other, and themselves.

    This is one of those two-sides-of-the-same-coin situations. The reason the trains run on time, and the service is so good, and the streets are so clean, is because the penalty for failure is harsh. Like I always say, you want to be a customer in Japan, not an employee.

    • Locohama 13 March 2013 at 3:25 pm Permalink

      “The thing is, Japan’s a really strict place, disguised as a nice place. People are sweet as pie until the moment you slip up, or do something small they don’t like, and then they come down hard.”
      You said it, Bruh! And too often just “not being Japanese” is enough to bring the BS. yeah, I’ve been here for a minute and I thought I had a decent read on folks. I guess I’m lamenting because I had these three, count em, THREE mofos totally wrong. It’s a blow to my heart and ego simultaneously. Maybe I self rigged my damn self to explode with my over confidence… Thanks for the shout, Ken!

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