Almost every conversation about the traditional workplace leads back hierarchy – a hierarchy of power and a system of interactions. Hierarchy can make it easy to see whose responsibilities lie where, which saves time. Though when there is no hierarchy, or a company is restructured in a way to give each voice more equal weight, what happens to the harmony?
The Olympics and Paralympics will be held in Tokyo in the summer of 2020 and already, there is a low hum starting to spread in the city – posters, construction, and art being made about it, evidently. After some engaging conversations with people who are from or have been living in Japan for a number of years, I’m starting to see some different facets of the safe, efficient and generally pleasant way of life here....
It’s hard to understand why things are the way they are without knowing how they were. This is no small undertaking. Maybe starting with looking at how people lived and worked in Japan one or two generations ago will help to unpack the way gender differences play out in the workplace today. Family structures and the expectations placed on an individual simply because of their gender are affected by the work environment. Or did these expectations from the workplace affect family and gender roles? Chicken or egg?
It isn’t surprising that some of us get stuck in a rut over our commitment to work. Work-life balance is an ongoing negotiation. It’s not uncommon to feel stressed, and for that to manifest physically in our bodies, creating chronic pain issues. Sometimes, this can even lead to a heart attack or stroke....
As a Canadian, I’m used to rules and guidelines. Almost every aspect of our lives is regulated in some way, making it easy to know what to expect in day to day life. There is a predictable experience and quality of a product. There are also regulations about where businesses are physically established.
I’ve been keeping my eyes open for differences along my way. Those are the details that are easiest to spot when you first visiting a place with a different climate, cuisine, religion, and laws than your own. More often than not though, after some time to adjust to the new surroundings, in big cities and small villages, there are similarities just under the surface.
I left on my travels thinking about work. I know, that doesn’t sound like a particularly pleasant topic when heading off on an adventure. But generally speaking, one’s job takes up a huge chunk of your waking life. It makes sense that it’s a source of turmoil for some, pleasure for others, and that it can take up considerable mental space. I wonder if this correlates to one’s sense of self? So far, I’ve experienced drastic differences in the landscape and lifestyle outside of the big cities in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Finding accommodation is my least favorite thing to do while on the road. Balancing cleanliness, cost, location, amenities and atmosphere is challenging and time consuming – and I’ve very rarely hit a high score in all those categories. I have found that the overall experience, or one thing that is particularly interesting about a place can outweigh those cobwebs lingering in the corner of the ceiling. If not for experience, why travel in the first place?