Your first day of work, you are all nerves. You are introduced to everyone first thing in the morning and are asked to talk about yourself. You know the routine Japanese self-introduction lines: Hajimemashite, you say your name, and finish with yoroshiku onegai shimasu. Even as your co-workers give you a welcome clap you feel the measuring eyes of everyone which doubles your nervousness. Understandably enough, your workmates wonder just how reliable you will be at your work and how much of a team player you will turn out to be. Did you know that if you added one extra special line to yourself introduction, your workmates will instantly see you in a favorable light?
In order to jumpstart your career in the Japanese workplace, make use of these 5 useful phrases that give you a very professional impression. Over time, you will learn to know when to use which expressions and show everyone what an outstanding coworker you are.
1. Osewa ni Narimasu/ Osewa ni Narimashita.
The literal meaning of Osewa ni narimasu is “I will be under your care”. When you are the new person in a workplace you will inevitably cause some form of inconvenience by asking questions or by not knowing your way around. Though this does not necessarily mean your workmates will resent having to teach you everything, saying Osewa ni narimasu shows you are aware of the initial inconvenience you will impose and that you appreciate any cooperation they show you.
When you are about to leave a workplace, whether it is because of transfer or you are going to quit, saying osewa ni narimashita (using the past tense) communicates to your coworkers an appreciation of all that they have done for you and for just being great teammates.
2. Onegai Shimasu./Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu.
Now you may think you have heard this expression way too much, being the first to appear in beginner Japanese textbooks teaching self-introduction. What you may not know is that Onegai shimasu needs to be said every time you need someone’s cooperation, be it the most minor of roles. If you are working together with someone for a project, or you will be working alongside each other, your partner will likely say onegai shimasu. You ought to say the same to your partner too.
3. Tetsudaeru koto wa Arimasu ka? or Is there something I can help everyone with?
In a Japanese workplace you will not likely give a very good impression if when during a busy project, everyone rushes about while you sit back and do nothing. Even if you know not enough of what needs to be done or no one tells you directly what to do, the Japanese will feel much better if you show you would like to help however you can. Even if they seem too busy to even say anything, try and ask the project leader or direct boss this one sentence. Possibly they might have a minor errand you can help with. In the midst of the rush, everyone will note your willingness to help and will feel grateful for it.
4. Makasete Kudasai. Leave it up to me.
Now this sentence has a very powerful and confident ring to it and should be used only when you are sure you can do everything all by yourself. If you say this, your boss and workmates will feel relieved and think that they need not worry about the job getting done. I myself, have yet to find the right timing to say this expression because I could never gather enough confidence to take on a job all by myself.
5. Osaki ni Shitsurei Shimasu. Otsukaresama Desu. Sorry, but I will go ahead and leave for home. Thank you for working hard.
Back home in your country, you will likely be expected to work during only your work hours and that it is very natural to just pick up your bags and head home when your shift ends. In Japan, as you leave just on time, though you have every right to it, your coworkers will feel some envy perhaps, or will feel pained to be the last people to finish up their work. Otsukarama desu is an expression you will probably have heard of by now, meaning you thank you everyone for working with you for the day. Saying Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu says that you somewhat regret leaving your coworkers to their work. It also shows you acknowledge that everyone is working hard.
As you gain experience working in your Japanese environment you will gradually come to understand how these expressions contribute to providing a good atmosphere in the workplace. Though they may be long and take time to practice, I encourage you to make that extra effort to make your work life in Japan a fruitful and fulfilling experience.
Tricia / PHILIPPINES