Don’t Like Drinking with the Boss? No Promotion For You!


In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.

According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.

Here are some comments from office workers in their 30s about their tight financial situations:

“Drinking parties are a waste of money, so even though I’m invited I don’t go. If you continually refuse, then they stop inviting you so it’s not a problem.”

“Abenomics (the buzzword given to economic policies implemented by Shinzo Abe, the current prime minister of Japan) has nothing to do with my situation. I’m stuck because business is in a slump.”

“Nothing will improve for me because even if my income increases, my monthly allowance will stay the same.”

That’s quite a bleak outlook to say the least.

Some office workers receive a monthly allowance of 10, 000 yen ($100.50) or less. While we hope there’s a daily packed lunch included with this type of deal, it’s easy to understand why these employees skip out on drink get-togethers, with the common, firm belief that “drinking parties are a waste of money.”

Certainly, with such little spending money, it would be difficult to scrounge up any drinking money. It would help if the importance of nomi-nication (the relatively unbridled state of communication that flows under the influence of alcohol) were to become a thing of the past.

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