DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS OF PRACTICES IN THE WORK PLACE
Through a public letter (published in a Japanese newspaper) concerning the practices taking place in one particular government organization, let us examine the joint issues of work ethics and office practices.
1 Silence to Avoid Disharmony
As a fresh recruit, the first time I was given a travel allowance at the government office where I worked, I was totally puzzled. Being a service counter employee, I never had to leave the office. When I asked my boss about this, he explained that there were many reasons, but if you start to question this, you might create trouble for other colleagues. Perhaps it's better to just accept this quietly. I decided not to pursue it any further than that.
Since then, I learnt that travel allowance is disbursed to all officials and as such, it would be pointless to resist. Gradually, I even started to feel thankful for the extra money. The amount in question is around 2,000 yen per month. Although the amount is not significant, some colleagues have come to expect it as a right. To question the integrity of the allowance would only serve to invite ill feeling and alienation from fellow colleagues, so against my conscience, I kept silent. A 2,000 yen monthly allowance for each of the thousands of government employees would amount to tens of million yen per month and hundreds of million yen per year misuse of taxpayers' money. It is strange that no one has questioned this practice even though everyone knows that it is improper, including myself.
2 Practices in the Office
Can you honestly say that practices such as those described above have never occurred in your office ? Bad practices always prick the conscience in the beginning, but over time, the will to resist often wears thin. The worst situation is where an employee becomes totally immune to the practice and no longer see it as bad. Practices that are against the law, however, can never be justified, no matter how long they have actually been practiced for. Government officials' work conditions must be based on public employment rules and regulations. Pay, allowances or working hours being adapted for convenience or self-interest is strictly prohibited.
Furthermore, the illegal transfer to money like this is a blatant misuse of public funds. It goes against the principle of financial democracy, where stipulates that only the Diet, a direct representative of the public, can control the taxpayers' money.
As most people wish to feel accepted by their peers, it is difficult for individuals to oppose the practices of the organizations to which they belong. It is therefore critical that managers take every step possible to prevent the occurrence of practices such as these in the first place. In cases where they have been long established, the organization as a whole must take tough measures to eradicate them. Particular attention must be paid to the following types of employee.