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Polite speech and the job hunt

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Polite speech and the job hunt

Postby keatonatron » Mon 12.22.2008 1:44 pm

This is really a language-related topic, but it has to do with the culture of the language, so I'll put it in the culture section :D

I've recently been looking for a new job. Not just any job; I'm looking for a place to start my career, so I really have to put a lot of effort into it and make sure I get into a good company. I've been interviewing at a few places, and one has really taken interest in me.

At the interview, I of course spoke as politely as I could: です's and ます's, with some keigo sprinkled in (e.g. "おしゃった" instead of "言った", etc.). The interviewer was, of course, of a higher social status than I was so he didn't use any keigo whatsoever--he did, however, speak politely, ending all of his sentences with です or -ます, which made perfect sense since I'm outside the company, and a new acquaintance. I was called back for a second interview, and it went pretty much the same way as the first.

I then decided to do some part time work for this company as a way to decided if I really want to join or not. They need the help and I want to get a feel for what it would be like to work there, so it's really working out well.

Which brings me to the point of this post. The second I stepped in the door as a (part-time) employee and not an interviewee, the politeness level of speech coming from those above me changed completely. Since I'm new there wasn't any slang or rude imperatives, but all the です's and ます's were replaced with だ or んだ.

I wouldn't be surprised if my bosses didn't even notice the change. It sure is interesting how the difference between outsider and insider (in relation to the company) defines peoples speech, and so strictly. At the interview, I was an outsider and a new acquaintance, yet younger than the interviewers; I required polite speech, but not the highest keigo. In taking a part-time job, I immediately became and insider AND the youngest person in the company, which requires no respect at all :D

Unfortunately, us foreigners are hardly ever expected to even notice any of this stuff, which means there's nothing to force everyone to learn it... but if you get used to it you will be much more successful than if you don't, and it can be very rewarding when you get it right :wink:
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Re: Polite speech and the job hunt

Postby Victory Manual » Tue 12.23.2008 3:54 am

Interesting. They give you the タメ口 cold turkey, hey?

In my experience, the Japanese university system is a shocker too, but for the opposite reason - Professors typically address their students in standard ですます調, even though there is obviously a clearly defined hierarchy.
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Re: Polite speech and the job hunt

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Tue 12.23.2008 9:57 am

Well, remember that being at a higher rank merely gives you the option of using plain language, it doesn't require it. Of course, using desu/masu sounds stranger in some situations than in others.
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Re: Polite speech and the job hunt

Postby furrykef » Tue 12.23.2008 4:24 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Of course, using desu/masu sounds stranger in some situations than in others.


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Re: Polite speech and the job hunt

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 12.23.2008 5:11 pm

furrykef wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:Of course, using desu/masu sounds stranger in some situations than in others.


貴様は馬鹿でございます。 :mrgreen:


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