In recent news, I’ve opened up a CuriousCat: https://curiouscat.me/Shini-tan
For the unaware, this is an anonymous Q&A platform. Feel free to ask anything, whether it be about translations, games, or anything else! I will try my best to answer all non-troll questions.
I feel like I had something else to announce here, but I can’t remember… hmm… oh well. Hopefully I can knock out a couple more posts before Shadowbringers drops (but no guarantees since I have to prep for AX).
(This column is not FFXIV-related. I’m starting to think that the non-related columns are going to outnumber the related columns soon)
#105: “Work You Can Approve Of”
Published in 2018/03/29 issue
It is now March. For students, this is a time filled with anticipation—for spring break, the next school year, and all of the new activities that will come with them. And for a while after entering the game industry, I considered March to be an easygoing time of year for the developers. This was because most game releases were focused around three periods: the summer vacation battle in July and August, the New Year season from November to January, and March, the end of the fiscal year.
However, now that I’m not only working in development—now that I’m supervising a business division and holding an executive position—my view of the end of the fiscal year has flipped around. Well, rather than “flipped around,” perhaps it’s just gotten closer to the rest of society’s perspective.
When the end of the fiscal year is approaching, I now get a lot of work pushed onto me that isn’t related to game development. In addition to doing Business Division 5 employee evaluations and checking and approving of promotions and salary raises, I also have to present a self-evaluation of the division to the president, as well as present our budget for the next fiscal year (which is put together by the excellent managers of BD5 after meeting to discuss our plan) and get the company’s approval. Our earnings and expenses for the current fiscal year are also finalized at this time.
I’m bad at coming up with numbers for things like account books and budgets. I do love setting parameters for monsters though, so I doubt I make many mistakes on those. But despite my skill at creating numbers with characteristics, I’m terrible when it comes to numbers that have to be consistent or summarize a result. This isn’t anything new; I’ve known this ever since my student days, when I failed the Level 4 exam of the Bookkeeping Test three times. I quit on the fourth attempt. The fact that someone like me got put in charge of a business division is unfortunate for my subordinates.
Also, there are a lot of talks of resignation during this time. This year it wasn’t so much my division, but in other divisions, there were many cases of staff suddenly bringing up the subject.
At the risk of being misunderstood, let me say that I’m the type of person who “welcomes with open arms, but will not chase after those who leave me.” This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel gratitude towards the staff who’ve given me so much of their effort—in fact, it’s the opposite: because I’m grateful to them, if they come to me saying they’d like to work elsewhere, then I want to do my best to grant that wish.
Of course, this is assuming that their work can be properly passed on, in consideration of the remaining staff who will have to face the extra burden. When you’re working for a company, much of your work will involve other people in complicated ways. So, I believe that for the sake of the people who have worked with you, you should minimize the amount of work you leave behind, as well as the cleanup work that will be required after you’re gone. When a staff member is leaving the company or switching divisions, I honestly am thinking that I’d like to work with them again in the future, so to that end, I often request that they complete everything that they were responsible for. That way, both sides can move on with a smile.
But on the other hand, there are also times when people leave the company in anger or disappointment. In those cases, they might not be able to smile. That was also the case when I left the first company I worked for.
I’ve always believed that a company and its workers are on equal standing: I provide labour and contribute to profits, and the company pays me in exchange. Though they are my employer, it’s not a master and servant relationship. Even though I am providing them with labour, if the way I provide it (in other words, the way I work) is too inconsiderate of my lifestyle, or if the motive behind it is too far removed from my personal values, then it’s only natural to think, “I can’t stay at this company.”
There are people who think that the worker has a weak position. There are also companies that think there are countless other workers in the labour force. It’s not about whether these thoughts are right or wrong, but rather, if you have doubts about your current workstyle or working environment, then I think you should examine which part of your job you have a problem with. If you feel that your salary doesn’t match the labour you provide, then calculate your work hours correctly and visualize what it should be. If you don’t think you can approve of the company’s policy, then determine which part of it bothers you or what you think it should be, and document that. “Feelings” and “thoughts” alone aren’t persuasive enough. If your basis is unclear, then discussions aren’t going to go anywhere. Some people may say, “That isn’t enough to make the company change,” but so long as you’re saying that, of course nothing is going to change.
Instead of thinking of it as “Workers/People” vs. “Company/Organization”, it’ll be easier to understand if you think of both sides as “people.” In order to convince a person or get them to understand your thoughts, you need to lay out your opinion clearly and present numbers or materials to support it. Whether they understand and sympathize with you is part of the “result,” not the “process.” In order to get a good result, you need to put effort into the process.
From the workers’ point of view, the company may simply be a large organization of people. Of course, everyone has their own opinion, ranging from the one who holds the most power (the president) to the ones who don’t care what happens to the company (which is a perfectly valid way of living). The company’s policy comes from an amalgamation of all of those mindsets. Looking at everything from an overhead view, I don’t think there’s anything wrong at all if the side providing the labour chooses to leave the company, assuming they did all of the work they were assigned. In fact, I think this is a refreshingly positive decision.
I believe that work is the act of “receiving money in exchange for doing something that other people wouldn’t want to do,” so there is a certain amount of compromise involved when it comes to those things you don’t want to do. Your opinion will never align 100% with the company’s; even if you were to become president, you still wouldn’t be able to accomplish that. So, your wages account for tolerating things you disagree with to a certain degree. However, if your disagreement goes beyond that, into the realm of “this isn’t worth the salary” or “I can’t stand this anymore,” then I don’t think you need to force yourself to bear with it. You can just state, “I’m leaving this company so that I can meet someone who values my tolerance more.” You’ll be much happier that way.
It appears that this spring, I’ll be taking on a new position that I have no experience in: the board of directors. I still don’t quite understand what it entails, but I hope that Square Enix will become a place where people approve of each other and their work even more than they do now, myself included. I believe that my new job is to make that happen. By the way, I still haven’t heard what the compensation for this position is, so my current highest priority is to ask what my salary will be.
 Note from TL: In Yoshida Uncensored #10, he says it was Level 3. Not sure which one is the truth now.