Years ago, I worked for The Asahi Shimbun, the second biggest newspaper in the world. It was selling 9 million copies every day at the time. (The Yomiuri Shimbun was even bigger, but considered down-market and tabloidish, while the Asahi was -- and probably still is -- more traditional, upright and proud of its standards.)Al Belli wrote:The relationship between management and worker need not be adverserial.
Working hours were totally crazy -- basically you worked until the job was done, regardless of how long it took. I was really shocked at first. I mean, you do expect a three-day job to be broken into three parts, with two sleep periods in between. You canâ€™t quite believe your boss will really expect you to work three days straight. Then you discover your boss things nothing of it.
But, you know what â€“ I LOVED it. I did it for three years and it was the best employment I have ever had (not counting my own businesses). I loved my first boss, now one of the very senior political editors at the central Tokyo office of the paper, and respected the guys who came after him. I worked with five and deeply respected every single one of them.
Why did I love it? Because it made sense. My bosses expected me to be intelligent and visibly appreciated it when I actually was. We worked like idiots when there was work to be done, but we NEVER did make-work. If there was no work, we loafed and had fun and games and chatted and had good time. Or we slept.
When I was swamped with work and my boss wasnâ€™t, he would brew coffee for me and make me sandwiches. When I told my first boss I felt strange being served by him, he taught me a very important lesson. He said, you know, Bruno, managers are generators of cost. Workers are generators of income. If I am not helping you generate income, I only generate costs. If I did that, I would not last long at my job. â€œA manager is a helper to his workers,â€