As you know I was soo tired yesterday due to not much sleep and very early rise. So decided today that I wouldn't rush to work and would sleep in just a little. Didn't bother to tell anyone at my school about this, just slinked in and no one said anything as they are all so greatful for my yesterday's marking, i.e. doing my job. Now I used to work for a certain eikaiwa in Osaka where this sort of thing would have been treating in a rather different fashion.

Let's explain the situation. At my last place of employment we had 10 nenkyu. That's it. No byoukyu, no daikyu and no national holidays off. If you were sick you lost a day's pay-regardless of the circumstances. If you were late by 1sec-5 mins you lost 2hours pay. 5-10 mins 4 hours pay. And, from what I can recall, after that you may as well not show up as you're working for free. I'd like to share two stories that come to mind, despite several years in the foetal position shaking in disbelief.

First. My school took 35mins to reach from central Osaka. If someone at my school called in sick that morning (this had to be done at least 40mins before school started) then the replacement would not be able to get there for the first 2 classes. Understandably this used to annoy the students somewhat, who would take it out on the Japanese staff. Now I got along quite well with them, so to make things easier for everyone, one day that I knew I was going to be 'sick' I rang the night before so that they could make arrangements. "Oh thank you Richard, we'll ask someone to cover for you now" I asked if I should ring head office and they said not to worry they would do so for me. So that's ok, I trot off to the- hmm hospital- and got better. Next day at work got a call from head office. Basically they had made a mistake and had sent 2 people to cover for me, thus ending up with one person doing nothing and getting paid overtime. For a company that loves money as much as this one this was terrifying. So what to do...hmm we'll penalise Richard as if he had not called in at all-the biggest penalty, because even though his school called in on his behalf HE didn't, so technically we can do this. I attempted to argue my case that head office was notified and I was acting in the best interest of the company, but it was pointless. Result: a very expensive day indeed.

Second. Much shorter. Girl was working at the multi-media place where you teach students through a video conferencing system. This girl though, had been getting headaches from being in front of a TV all day everyday. She had told those in charge. One day it all became too much for her and mid-lesson she passed out, hitting and cutting her head on the way down to the floor. Supervisors rushed over, she came around, first question they ask..."Can you finish the lesson?" (I'm not making this up). She says "Ahh no, there's blood coming from my head". They cut her salary for that lesson she couldn't finish.

I often think of these incidents when I'm having a bad day.

Enjoy yours...and don't sit in front of that computer too long.