What is the window tribe?
It has to do with the corporate ladder, and the dreaded desk beside the window.
For a reference point, let’s start with the tale of a large Japanese chemical conglomerate during the oil crises from October 1973 to March 1974, and how this particular Japanese corporation thinks about its employees.
It is important to know, Japan is a beautiful island nation with very few natural resources, and most of the raw material to run the industrial machine of Japan must be imported.
This oil embargo stopped the supply of the vital base petrochemical material upon which this large Japanese chemical conglomerate built their products, and by extension, where upon modern civilization is built.
This sudden dearth of raw material shut down all plants, making a large portion of the staff idle.
As a matter of fact, this large Japanese chemical conglomerate did not lay off a single employee, and put the entire work force of many thousands to the task of sprucing up the factories, reshaping the landscaping of the plants, and, in all likelihood, digging holes, only to fill them back in, metaphorically speaking of course.
Happily for all involved, the embargo ended, and the most diligent staff of this large Japanese chemical conglomerate went on to run their factories at full-tilt-boogie over the next few decades, turning Japan into the second largest economy on our planet, only a few short decades after the abject desolation brought upon her by the United States and their weapons of mass destruction.
Off course not all Japanese are diligent and attentive workers, and these slacker-slugs will soon find themselves candidates for the dreaded window seat.
So, what does the large Japanese chemical conglomerate do when these regular employees are no longer contributing to the corporate family’s mission?
They continue on the payroll as they slide down, and then off the corporate ladder to a cold and faceless seat, in a dank empty desk, by a window faraway.
Welcome to the window tribe.
There, the banished live out lonely days until mandatory retirement with nothing to do, no one to do it with, and no responsibility whatsoever.
Truly a sad and indeed pathetic site to behold, as it happens in almost all corporations.
Nor will these members of the window tribe ever be asked back after the mandatory retirement age, unlike many of their highly skilled former counterparts, who are so very valued that even after retirement, they are asked to come back at a much reduced salary, where they are honoured.
There, these excellent and diligent salarymen are considered to be the elder statesmen of the large Japanese conglomerates, as they continue to mentor and impart wisdom upon the up-and-coming corporate tribe members.
One sometimes wonder if perhaps the more seemingly cruel road of the American corporate way of just being outright fired, like the nameless, faceless, and ultimately soulless widget that a corporate cog ultimately is at the sad end, although extremely unpleasant and harsh, is far and away, a better road for one’s owns fulfilling life.
Alas, this is rarely the case for the sad, lonely, and dejected window tribe.
Anyway, it could be worse, one could actually be asked to “wash the neck”.
In past times, washing one’s neck was done just before slicing the head off at the execution grounds.
Now in our more civilized society, one might properly prepare the heart when “kubi o arau” is mentioned, as this is the metaphor for one about to be fired.
“Omae Kubi Da”
Historically, changing companies in midstream was considered to be an act of treason. In the new firm, these traitors would be looked upon with suspicion throughout the rest of their careers. Indeed, these lost souls will never ever actually be able to assimilate into their new corporation, as they will always be considered as an outsider, regardless of skills.