Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

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Ekibiogami
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Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Ekibiogami » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:28 am

In the GEOS next to SuperNova thread, Bakudanman accused Guestforamoment of being a GEOS spy. That may or may not have been true. Any comment, Guestforamoment?

It is certainly not come as a shock for you to be told that they do monitor these sites. They are especially looking for people who have applied and not interviewed yet, or are talking about ditching the company after they get here. However, this can be a surprise to some people new these types of companies. Here's how to avoid being tagged (unless, of course, that's what you want!) :

* Never, ever, use the same handle as your email address. Especially not the one you used on your CV or later contact with the company
* Never mention the company's name, or even a pseudonym unless absolutely necessary
* Never mention the salary, housing conditions, or working hours unless absolutely necessary. By putting these together, they can check which company it is. For example, Eikaiwa field, 270,000 yen/month and maximum rent of 55,000 on your flat is almost certainly Aeon.
* Never state your age
* Avoid telling us the location of the interview, esp if you are mentioning dates
* Don't mention your school branch or geographical location, especially if you are in a smaller town
* Don't talk about what you majored in, or how long you did a certain type of work. It will be cross referenced with your CV
* Don't mention specific dates of arrival in Japan

Does this seem paranoid? Perhaps, but they will go to great length to find out who you are. Some people seem to have nothing better to do than troll these boards looking for potential disgruntleds.

This leaves us with mostly the opposite of the points above:

*Use a handle which no-one can connect to you. Don't use an online game handle you have used in the past or an anagram of your name
* If talking about a certain interview session, only mention the country and perhaps the season in which the interview will be/was held
*Only say Eikaiwa, or ALT, or JET when talking about your type of work or the one you are seeking
* If it is crucial to name the company, interview location, etc, throw in a few red herrings, like the wrong university name or a few wrong bits of information regarding your work history

How do you know you've been tagged? Here's few tips:

* Your HQ staff visit your branch more often. They are preparing a paper trail
* You are not invited to meetings as much as you were in the past (a blessing?). The ones you do attend are about even more trivial matters than usual
* You get more "your students are complaining about your lessons" or more review of your student numbers
* The only training you get is one-on-one with the HQ staff
* You won't hear about your contract renewal until one month before your last date. Then, it'll be "we regret we will not be able to renew your contract". That allows them to give you one month's working notice and not have to pay you (unless you are being a bit too uppity).

I hope this helps to prevent future problems for new people on the boards. If some of these things sound familiar, remember: Japan is most certainly not Kansas.
Sorry for being a bit cryptic, but I think one person here will know exactly what I mean by thiss

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Mogura » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:31 am

You're joking, right? Most Japanese companies, especially Eikaiwa, wouldn't pop for the Internet charge. That being said...
Ekibiogami wrote:Here's how to avoid being tagged (unless, of course, that's what you want!) :

* Never, ever, use the same handle as your email address. Especially not the one you used on your CV or later contact with the company
* Never mention the company's name, or even a pseudonym unless absolutely necessary
* Never mention the salary, housing conditions, or working hours unless absolutely necessary. By putting these together, they can check which company it is. For example, Eikaiwa field, 270,000 yen/month and maximum rent of 55,000 on your flat is almost certainly Aeon.
* Never state your age
* Avoid telling us the location of the interview, esp if you are mentioning dates
* Don't mention your school branch or geographical location, especially if you are in a smaller town
* Don't talk about what you majored in, or how long you did a certain type of work. It will be cross referenced with your CV
* Don't mention specific dates of arrival in Japan
I couldn't help but notice that this is the exact type of information a Japanese company wouldn't want published on the Internet. Hmm...

My take? Do what you can to conceal your identity--after all, it is the Internet. But if your company (branch, etc.) is engaging in questionable business practices, or breaking the law, or violating the terms of your contract, EXPOSE THEM!

Let them be the ones to scurry for cover like the proverbial cockroaches that they are when the lights are switched on (rather than the other way around)...
Last edited by Mogura on Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Ekibiogami » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:15 am

Sorry if there's been some type of misunderstanding. I'm not advocating people hide the information in order to protect the firms, but for their own protection.

Let's say someone gets on the board wanting to know about other options in Japan (before or after getting here). She/he says they are thinking about giving short notice and jumping ship. They talk about their present region in Japan (esp if a smaller area) and use a handle similar to the one used in the email address they gave while applying for the job (BTW: never use anything but FIRST NAME _ LAST NAME @ gmail/hotmail/yahoo/etc when applying. It WILL be googled). The HQ tossa trolling the sites, looking specifically for a heads up like this, will go back and check their records. Now, they know who you are and will bundle you along on THEIR timeline, not yours.

Same thing happens if you mention where you got hired and when, then go on about not being 100% sure about the organisation. That's when you find the position mysteriously disappears "due to not getting a contract from the BOE".

If you need to name the company, then follow the advice I gave on how to cover your tracks. Although these may seem more or less obvious, you will be able to put them on the wrong scent, especially if you are working for a big company.

I can imagine them now trying to figure out just who I am. What school is she at? Or am I just feeling a bit too self-important? Probably! I am but a fly speck on the bloated corpse of eikaiwas past.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by eb0li » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:29 am

Ekibiogami wrote: I hope this helps to prevent future problems for new people on the boards. If some of these things sound familiar, remember: Japan is most certainly not Kansas.
Sorry for being a bit cryptic, but I think one person here will know exactly what I mean by thiss
Who, me?

Also, Geos does have a small department in Tokyo for the sole purpose of searching the internet for possible defamitory material.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Mogura » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:41 am

I find it hard to swallow that Japanese companies (including Eikaiwas) actually devote resources to tracking down ghosts on the Internet. The practical responsibilities tied to the day-to-day running of a company, along with the high cost-low benefit of carrying out such activities would preclude such, no?

If you were to conduct a poll, you would probably discover that about half of the posters here at LJ registered and started posting material regarding their companies after their companies began dicking them around. The point is, for the time being, Japanese employers are going to dick around foreign employees regardless of their activities on the Internet. Even loyal, hardworking employees get shafted with the, "we didn't get the contract with the BOE" excuse...
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by allblacks » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:01 pm

Mogura wrote:I find it hard to swallow that Japanese companies (including Eikaiwas) actually devote resources to tracking down ghosts on the Internet. The practical responsibilities tied to the day-to-day running of a company, along with the high cost-low benefit of carrying out such activities would preclude such, no?

If you were to conduct a poll, you would probably discover that about half of the posters here at LJ registered and started posting material regarding their companies after their companies began dicking them around. The point is, for the time being, Japanese employers are going to dick around foreign employees regardless of their activities on the Internet. Even loyal, hardworking employees get shafted with the, "we didn't get the contract with the BOE" excuse...
I was actually identified in the END OF NOVA thread by someone at Osaka HQ last year. Ooh scary!

hahaha

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Wage Slave » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:06 pm

If memory serves, You weren't even working for them at that point. What possible business was it of theirs what you were saying here?

Did they actually have the cheek to contact you?
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by allblacks » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:22 pm

Wage Slave wrote:If memory serves, You weren't even working for them at that point. What possible business was it of theirs what you were saying here?

Did they actually have the cheek to contact you?
Someone did pm me actually. I wasnt working there though no.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Belkin » Sat Aug 16, 2008 1:33 pm

These companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars flying recruiters around the world, and leasing office space in big cities, just to avoid having to give you a small raise. I do NOT find it hard to believe that they are on here, because I know for a FACT they are, because I have literally seen a certain little guy from a certain infamous company doing it.

Hell, do you know how many thousands were spent to go after Antonio Fererra with the now shut down scumbagsinjapan.com?

The OP is absolutely right. People should encrypt what they say, to protect themselves. But, he is not saying you should keep your mouth shut.

He is not paranoid. These are realities.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Redrum » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:16 pm

It's good of the OP to post this as a reminder not to be stupid! There are tons of very stupid people in the World that never even consider this could be common practice. To reinforce the stupid people therory companies all over the World do the same. Tons of tecahers, bankers and proffesionals in America have lost thier jobs due to thier "my Space, facebook, or own web pages content" It's getting so bad in America that students can even be expelled from school for content.

That said, Come On whole departments set up for this is nonesense. The people who bring that kind of stuff to the company are psycophant, loser trying to dig up dirt on co-workers to make themselves look like they really care about the company. That's who reports it not the actual companies resource depart, just an internet swavy geek with a chip on the shoulder.
Genki Gaijin said:

Ah fuck it. This board is a sad waste of time. Enjoy your pissing contest, wankers.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by inflames » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:28 pm

Last year, when I applied to ECC, I had numerous ECC employees mysteriously visiting my mixi page around that time (I do every so often [not counting ECC j-staff I know]), so I believe they do research applicants. A lot of companies (at least in the US) will look to see if you're on myspace or facebook to look at your profile and see what's there, although most of the time it's HR people researching it.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Mogura » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:06 pm

Redrum wrote:That said, Come On whole departments set up for this is nonesense. The people who bring that kind of stuff to the company are psycophant, loser trying to dig up dirt on co-workers to make themselves look like they really care about the company. That's who reports it not the actual companies resource depart, just an internet swavy geek with a chip on the shoulder.
That would be the most plausible explanation. But it's been proven that being a sycophant in the Eikaiwa industry really only gets you so far...
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by RalphWiggum » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:33 pm

Whether these companies monitor boards like this or not, it's still common sense to mask your identity. You never know who else may be reading - I was able to figure out who one of the other regulars on here was in real life from the information they posted even though it wasn't particularly detailed...
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Privileged » Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:38 pm

There was a lot of good info in there. While I am among the skeptical that big eikaiwas have more than a couple freaks spying of their own accord, there is no reason not to follow your advice.

This I thought was especially true, not necessarily that you have been found out on that internet but that, for some reason, someone at your company does not like you and you will not be getting another contract --
Ekibiogami wrote: * Your HQ staff visit your branch more often. They are preparing a paper trail
* You are not invited to meetings as much as you were in the past (a blessing?). The ones you do attend are about even more trivial matters than usual
* You get more "your students are complaining about your lessons" or more review of your student numbers
* The only training you get is one-on-one with the HQ staff
* You won't hear about your contract renewal until one month before your last date. Then, it'll be "we regret we will not be able to renew your contract". That allows them to give you one month's working notice and not have to pay you (unless you are being a bit too uppity).
I didn't post any specific information about AEON until after I had received my last paycheck. Also they are very anal about forbidding privates on the side so I made sure my findateacher account was untraceable, as I wouldn't be at all surprised if they occasionally check that kind of thing.

The idea that once you are hired, companies will spend effort trying to identify you on the net strikes me as pretty unlikely, but as others have pointed out, that they will bother to google your name after an interview and before hiring... fairly good odds I'd say.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by eb0li » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:57 pm

I'm sorry, I spoke without hard knowledge of whether Geos has an official internet monitoring department, but I will say the hard facts that I know:

*My recruiter/trainer in Canada before I came to Geos said he regulary checked message boards related to living/teaching in Japan, and regularly replied to such messages. He also said that they don't rabibly hunt down possible Geos employees on the boards, they do have many people who regularly check the internet as part of their working hours, and there is a serious penalty for being caught.

*I knew a guy who worked for Geos at the same time as me who put up a personal blog with his real name and pictures and everything. He badmouthed Geos a lot on his blog, and he recieved an official stern warning from the Tokyo head office and was forced to take it down.

*I spoke with some of the high ranking Japanese staff from Osaka head office, and one guy said that there are people at head office who check the internet for stuff like this as part (he hinted at it being a sizeable part) of their job.

*Many of the subs and trainers said they at least read these boards regularly, if not post. Judging by their personalities, I'm sure theywould report you if they happened to make an obvious connection to you.

They also try to scare you and make you feel guilty about posting crap on the internet by saying "you're just wasting your time being bitter, and if you don't turn into the `unhappy foreigner in Japan` type, then you will live your life happily without posting on the internet". Well I'm sorry if you feel that 30 minutes a day is a waste of my time, I disagree.
They also show you a graph about the "3 ways people adapt to Japan", and they talk down to the people who don't fit their middle line (those who become "bitter", and I quote "culture vultures" who are nothing but happy. They actually said "culture vultures, like those who wear a yukata in Kyoto". If you've never worn one to a festival, your missing out, IMHO. )

Dear Geos recruiter in Canada, if you read this please stop wearing that ugly blue suit everyday that's too small, get a decent tie, and learn how to tie it. And stop using BS scare tactics during the interviews about visas and internet postings and etc... Also, stop lying about the freedom of working hours.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by allblacks » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:10 pm

I remembered one other thing about the ID they made of me. Might have had something to do with the fact that I was interviewed by the NZ Herald and gave my name for them to use in an article. At the time, by doing that and other people chipping in, we managed to stop all hiring in NZ for the most part. Nova would have gone right on recruiting there...

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Wage Slave » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:21 pm

Yep I remember that now too - Damn good work. Just out of interest what did they say when the PMed you? Watch out we know where you live or something? :roll:

Worth remembering that this was a company that was evicting its teachers from their homes because they hadn't paid the rent for months even though the teachers' salaries had been docked to cover it.
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Win Some » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:16 pm

Well ..... if this is true then it is just as easy to post up a lot of flattering bullshit with an EASY TO IDENTIFY username.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Tall Tall Tree » Sun Aug 17, 2008 3:29 am

I vote that this thread receives some pinnage.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by japansmith » Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:04 am

Hi.
My name is John. I'm 24 years old (birhday on 29th March) and live in the Osaka region. I've just been offered a job with Geos (having been working in Aeon for three years). But I've heard Geos is a pile of !*&"%^&"! Does anyone think I should take the job?

(As a second point, if there is anyone out there called John, living in the Osaka area, etc.... then I'm really sorry. It was only a joke) :P

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by eb0li » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:49 pm

japansmith wrote:Hi.
My name is John. I'm 24 years old (birhday on 29th March) and live in the Osaka region. I've just been offered a job with Geos (having been working in Aeon for three years). But I've heard Geos is a pile of !*&"%^&"! Does anyone think I should take the job?

(As a second point, if there is anyone out there called John, living in the Osaka area, etc.... then I'm really sorry. It was only a joke) :P
Geos is a small step down from Aeon, in my opinion. You have more freedom with your living arangements and a chance to be trained and work overseas, but the management is worse and there is definitely more sales pressure. If you were happy with Aeon, you will probably enjoy Geos, only to a lesser extent. If you get promoted at Geos, the pressure will double. Unless you NEED to move out on your own, then stay with Aeon. If you are willing to go back to a starting salary again, try finding a good smaller eikaiwa. They often give you much more freedom and much less sales pressure, depending on the place.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Shawn » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:11 pm

I have to agree with the OP. It may sound paranoid, but it's not that difficult for a company to be on the lookout for employees bad-mouthing them or possibly divulging some kind of business secret.
PanicInducingGaijin wrote:They wouldn't need a department, or even a single dedicated job, for that matter. How long would it take to read, say, Geos- or Aeon-related threads here, on Gaijinpot, and the other such forums? 30 minutes a week, if that?
Maybe even less if you use Google Alerts or something like it. I agree that it doesn't have to be a department. There just needs to be a few people periodically checking forums and blogs.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Wage Slave » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:28 pm

In a way you would be pretty stupid not to keep an eye on and take note of what people are saying about you. It's feedback. What you do with the information is the next question. If you are smart, you do not concern yourself with a witch hunt, but take effective management action. If the negative feedback is justified, even in part, then consider what you can do to put right the underlying problems. Sometimes quite small adjustments have a pretty large impact. There is no harm in declaring yourself and telling people this.

If on the other hand, the feedback is without foundation, an isolated case or merely a matter of personal opinion, then again there is nothing wrong with declaring yourself and nailing the lie. I saw David Paul wipe the floor with a couple of people over on GP when they had an unjustified pop at his organization.

Over time, I think companies who are genuinely interested in improving quality and who offer a quality product which adds value will find that the exchange of information that the internet facilitates will benefit them to the cost of those companies who rely more on spin, deception and image.
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by eb0li » Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:35 pm

Wage Slave wrote:In a way you would be pretty stupid not to keep an eye on and take note of what people are saying about you. It's feedback. What you do with the information is the next question. If you are smart, you do not concern yourself with a witch hunt, but take effective management action. If the negative feedback is justified, even in part, then consider what you can do to put right the underlying problems. Sometimes quite small adjustments have a pretty large impact. There is no harm in declaring yourself and telling people this.

If on the other hand, the feedback is without foundation, an isolated case or merely a matter of personal opinion, then again there is nothing wrong with declaring yourself and nailing the lie. I saw David Paul wipe the floor with a couple of people over on GP when they had an unjustified pop at his organization.

Over time, I think companies who are genuinely interested in improving quality and who offer a quality product which adds value will find that the exchange of information that the internet facilitates will benefit them to the cost of those companies who rely more on spin, deception and image.
Agreed. However, unless a person is telling outright lies that will seriously affect the companies business, a company should never have the right to take action against the employee. Otherwise it's just an overcautious assault on free speach.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by ex_sensei » Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:12 am

RalphWiggum wrote:Whether these companies monitor boards like this or not, it's still common sense to mask your identity. You never know who else may be reading - I was able to figure out who one of the other regulars on here was in real life from the information they posted even though it wasn't particularly detailed...
This is true: I figured out who some of my NOVA coworkers were based on what they wrote on these forums. I wasn't even trying to figure out who they were but just put it all together based on their tone and word choice! The same is true for my identity: A lot of people figured out who I was and even asked me at work. I had to deny it of course but in the end when I did come out to a select few after I quit, they all said they knew! My point is that people can figure it out so be careful!
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by SNAFU » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:42 am

I don't think it matters that much. The people running the Eikaiwa business in Japan are a bunch of shady characters in the first place. Saruhashi is a classic example. The others aren't that much different. Yes, they may have a few minions patrolling sites like this, but does it make any real difference? I don't think so. Lighten-up folks. They have more to hide than you can imagine. Fuck 'em. Without us, they are fuck all. Suck my dick trolls.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by jon » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:41 am

ex_sensei wrote:
RalphWiggum wrote:Whether these companies monitor boards like this or not, it's still common sense to mask your identity. You never know who else may be reading - I was able to figure out who one of the other regulars on here was in real life from the information they posted even though it wasn't particularly detailed...
This is true: I figured out who some of my NOVA coworkers were based on what they wrote on these forums. I wasn't even trying to figure out who they were but just put it all together based on their tone and word choice! The same is true for my identity: A lot of people figured out who I was and even asked me at work. I had to deny it of course but in the end when I did come out to a select few after I quit, they all said they knew! My point is that people can figure it out so be careful!
What is most interesting about this situation, however, is the fact that no one shut you down over this open secret. This inclines me to the belief that one would have to be very careless indeed to land up in much trouble at all.

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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by Ziggy » Mon Aug 18, 2008 8:02 am

ex_sensei wrote:
RalphWiggum wrote:Whether these companies monitor boards like this or not, it's still common sense to mask your identity. You never know who else may be reading - I was able to figure out who one of the other regulars on here was in real life from the information they posted even though it wasn't particularly detailed...
This is true: I figured out who some of my NOVA coworkers were based on what they wrote on these forums. I wasn't even trying to figure out who they were but just put it all together based on their tone and word choice! The same is true for my identity: A lot of people figured out who I was and even asked me at work. I had to deny it of course but in the end when I did come out to a select few after I quit, they all said they knew! My point is that people can figure it out so be careful!
People figured out who I am especially due to the use of the name Ziggy and the fact that I'm a hard core David Bowie fan. And anybody who ever asked me if I was Ziggy I openly admitted it to them and never once denied it. I also know who at least 10 people are on LJ. Some told me, some I just figured out.
The one thing that surprises me is that nobody ever figured out I had a couple allies/spies in head office who fed me some really good info. Believe me these individuals were well placed and it would shock the old mnova (mis)management if they knew who they were and I only say this now because they have left and are now back home.
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by nigerian_nampa » Fri Aug 22, 2008 5:55 am

Some people who I would consider higher in position than me in my company figured out who I am by putting two and two together--but apparently it took them a long time because I don't quite come off the way my avatar would suggest. :D But those people are cool and I'm sure they don't really care what I write. They don't browse the site on behalf of the company, just for their own interest and information. ECC is not full of brown-nosers and character assassins like old Nova was.

I say mostly good stuff about my company anyway, so even the evil gangsters at the top should like me. :thumbsup:

subprime
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Re: Yes, Japanese companies do monitor

Unread post by subprime » Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:20 pm

jon wrote:
What is most interesting about this situation, however, is the fact that no one shut you down over this open secret. This inclines me to the belief that one would have to be very careless indeed to land up in much trouble at all.
I think it all depends on the anal retentiveness of the person who knows. I've seen quite a few blogger that bitched about their companies get shut down due to threats from management. The one that was interesting was this one from a guy in one of the bigger eikaiwas who wasn't really bitching at all -- actually, he sadly seemed to genuinely enjoy working for the eikaiwa and would share all this positivity about his job and then the eikaiwa found out about it, so he started blogging about the shutdown and the tone just dramatically changed. The eikaiwa's stance was that this was an unofficial representation of the company and was against his contract, so at first they restricted him from posting certain things (like name of the company), and then didn't like that he was continuing to post at all, saying that continuing to post in his blog could affect his team spirit points for his contract renewal. In the end, this whole fiasco was what led him to quitting on them, not that he hated the job at all.

No, I totally buy that managers, hiring staff and the like would be encouraged to spy on BBS' and blogs because eikaiwa has their heads screwed around that much. Anyone who has worked for one of the larger eikaiwas no doubt has a story about management trying to control your private life, from encouraging you not to see students socially, not hanging out in the vicinity of the eikaiwa on off time, not doing things in your private life for media that might be seen by students (I got a stern talking to once after a student found me in a 6 year old copy of KERA with pink hair and platforms), etc -- it just seems logical that internet spying would be the next step.

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