The Japanese Man Who Learned A Costly Lesson About After-Work Drinking

After-work happy hours are often posited as a way to build camaraderie in the workplace, but they are also breeding grounds for embarrassment (or worse). Drinking after work is probably less common now in the U.S. since many people work from home, but in Japan, post-work drinks are ingrained in corporate culture. After-work drinking is so commonplace that it has its own word in Japanese: nommunication (via Japan Intercultural Consulting). According to Gaijin Pot Blog, it's common for Japanese companies to run on a rigid schedule, where speaking to your coworkers during work can be considered "shigo" (private talk), so socializing is reserved for after work hours.

Employees are encouraged to let their hair down during post-work drinks and address concerns they wouldn't otherwise, which may seem like a positive, but employees can be pressured to drink in excess (via Link Japan Careers). According to DW, the peer pressure often comes from older employees who want to keep the drinking traditions going, while younger employees are searching for more of a work-life balance. A Japanese man may have experienced this peer pressure when he went out on the town with his coworkers, and it led to a huge mistake.

He learned that valuable USB drives should stay at the office

They say never take your work home with you, and after this story, they might need to add that you shouldn't bring your work to the bar with you, either. A Japanese man was going out drinking with his coworkers in Amagasaki, and next thing he knew he woke up out on the street (via BBC). Not only did he have to awake to the shame of passing out on the street, but his bag and one very important flash drive were missing. The man works for a company that provides benefits to tax-exempt households as part of the city's COVID-19 relief efforts, so the drives contained the personal data of nearly 460,000 Amagasaki residents, according to The Japan Times.

The data on this drive included names, birthdays, addresses, but more importantly, tax and bank information of some residents. This man's drunken mistake could have resulted in a huge data leak, but according to city officials, the drive was encrypted and no one has accessed it as of yet (via BBC). Usually the worst after-work drinking incident you hear about is revealing too much of your own personal information, but this guy is on another level since he almost revealed the sensitive data of half a million people.