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Now 1.2 years ago I moved from Europe to Japan on a request to the company.

Raise was issued and I'm pretty happy with it.

Fast forward to the last 6 months: I've been doing far too much over work (top was January with 134 extra hours: all weekends/holidays (including new years'), everyday until last train 00:30, and before a demo from 8am to 5am for a couple of days in a row).

All those hours were due to a really bad calibration of the work load & time estimation by the previous manager. Projects would never be on time without those ridiculous amount of overtime by the whole team, as we basically do two months in one.

(Note: I've extensive experience in c/c++ and I'm currently doing management & lead developper on all the project I also manage, my role wasn't switched as I'm still assuming the bridge between the dev team and the direction, and handling costumers).

Company has been clear on the fact that those hours aren't normal and measure have been taken (+3 dev, +1 bridge) and stated that my hard work has been noted and will be valued on the yearly bonus.

I now received my bonus... at first it was (once tax removed) nearly $200.

I went to see my manager and he said that was definitely a mistake.

I then received a bonus of roughly $300.

As for performance:

Last year was packed with 11 projects, 9 were on time, 1 was canceled and the last one has been a great success for the company as it is now wanted by various costumer and will be this year main project.

I can't see any reason for that, more than low, bonus.

I did live it as a slap in the face, and rather get nothing than that, and has me wondering if I should look for greener pasture or not...

I've never been in that situation before, in Europe I know how to handle it, but in Japan with the very vertical and strict organization, I admit that I'm unsure on how I should proceed.

Should I forward my concern to the main office in Europe and risking to get the Japanese direction angry?

Has anyone experience on how to handle that in the Japanese culture?

Edit for clarification:

I don't mind the high pace, its actually challenging and I'm somehow enjoying it, still I would love to have my weekends.

My main goal is to negociate a bonus that match the amount of work, from experience in Europe bonus was monthly salary and more depending on performances.

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    I'll leave answers to people with a more hands-on experience, but long hours and overworking people is part of the Japanese working culture as far as I am aware. Did you not look into this before accepting the position? – Cronax Feb 19 '18 at 9:28
  • @Cronax It should be noted that on the japanese law, doing more than 89hours shouldn't happen more than twice every 12 months. Im far over the legal limit, and the hours are set to 89 + monthly "bonus" to cover the rest. Being kind of a work addict, I don't mind over time (100+ is still too much), I mind the lack of "reward" for it. – Ebya Feb 19 '18 at 9:32
  • There's a lot of text here but it's lacking structure and some key details. What is your main goal? A (much) more substantial bonus? Are you worried that the high pace will continue despite assurances and do you want to address that again / as well? What is your management structure like in Japan and do you have managers / mentors in Europe? – Lilienthal Feb 19 '18 at 9:33
  • @Lilienthal See clarification, In Japan I only have the branch COO/CTO/CEO above me, the branch is still under control of the company, but rarely interferes on the japanese business. My main concern is the fact that the work load was acknowledged by my CEO but not compensated as I hoped it would/should. – Ebya Feb 19 '18 at 9:41
  • From what you wrote, you likely will not get any bonus that meets your expectation, that is clear. Try to reduce the workload and get the weekends. If that fails, try taking a transfer back to your European office. – Ironluca Feb 19 '18 at 9:47
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I've never been in that situation before, in Europe I know how to handle it, but in Japan with the very vertical and strict organization, I admit that I'm unsure on how I should proceed.

Should I forward my concern to the main office in Europe and risking to get the Japanese direction angry?

If it bothers you enough, you should definitely talk to the headquarters in Europe and ask for their guidance.

You should try to deal with it as you would have when you were in Europe, unless the guidance you receive leads you in a different direction.

Ultimately you'll learn how things are done when working for this company but assigned to Japan. If these practices don't meet your needs, then you can choose to look elsewhere. But for now, it only makes sense to try something here.

  • From today non-formal talk with the Japanese & European HR, there is actually no defined protocols as Im still the only one in that case. Both HR noted that the amount is not proportional to responsibilities/base income/performance, and have noted that its the case for the whole team, and not only for me. Headquarters have asked the Japanese direction for explanation on that matter. Hopefully Japanese direction, will not hold any grudge. – Ebya Feb 20 '18 at 8:28

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