Nov 17, 2018

The microwave incident

Recently the company I work for moved offices to another location and as you all know right after you moved, your new place will still be messy for a while there will be boxes here and there waiting to be unpacked and maybe you are still waiting for new furniture or electronic devices that you ordered for the new place. It is no different when an office moves. 

So right after the move, we had no microwave in the new office. As I usually bring my own lunch to work and heat it up before eating I am someone that kind of relies on a microwave in the office. But I, of course, understood that it might not be the top priority for the company so I was patient.

After about 2 weeks I asked my Japanese superior why we do not yet have a microwave and I must admit my choice of wording at that time was not best because I was not in a good mood and kind of pissed off as well, but their reaction was even worse. I was told that the company is not obliged to provide a microwave anyway and that the company does not really care about their employees at all. As I had had a different image of the company until then I was quite shocked to hear that.

A talk with the superior of my superior helped to clarify the situation, and it turned out that a microwave had already been ordered and it also had arrived at the office. I wonder why I wasn't told that when I had inquired about the microwave. The microwave was now sitting in the conference room.

The microwave incident photo

The poor little microwave

Unfortunately, no one was allowed to use it, even though there was a socket in the conference room, where it could have been connected to. I was told that a new table to put the microwave on was required as there was no place to put it. In my opinion, there was more than enough space on top of the fridge though. But I was told the table is already ordered and the superior of my superior promised to deal with the issue on that day or the next day. So I was hopeful and waited.

As I don’t really like to spend money eating out during lunch break and a cold lunch box does not really taste good so I had started to bring cereals and yogurt to the office to have something for lunch that also tastes good when eaten cold. I thought it was alright for a few days but unfortunately, the situation lasted longer.

About two weeks after my superior promised to deal with the issue the microwave was still sitting in the conference room and I was still eating cereal for lunch and started to get tired of that. I tried several things then. I pointed out that the microwave in the conference room could also have a negative impact on clients that visit our office since usually you do not have microwaves in conference rooms, but apparently, nobody cared. I then printed out a speech bubble saying: “Don’t forget about me” in Japanese and attached it to the microwave but nobody noticed it.

The microwave incident photo

It had been forgotten

As a last resort, I emailed the superior that had promised to deal with the situation 2 weeks ago to remind them of their promise and finally about one month after the office had moved the microwave was moved to the office and put on a provisional table as apparently no table had been ordered yet. But nevertheless it was then connected and now we had a working microwave in the office again, so I was happy.

However, I think a little more communication would have made the whole situation a lot easier to deal with. I assume the person responsible in the general affairs department was just too busy to deal with it. Had anybody communicated that information to me I would have understood the issue and been happy to offer my help, but since I was promised this issue was going to be dealt with while it actually wasn’t I kind of stopped trusting what my superiors say to me.



Hi, I’m Eli. I’m from Germany and moved to Japan a few years ago. I am a typical nerd and like collecting Pokémon merchandise.Follow me on twitter (@hannari_eri) for the latest nerd News from Tokyo. I also write a blog in German over here. https://lifeinjapanisstrange.wordpress.com/