In Aggretsuko’s second season, we meet Anai (穴井). He is the office newbie and the main antagonist of the first few episodes. This badger is an incredibly annoying underling, managing to be overly eager and very insecure. He even launches unwarranted power harassment complaints against Retsuko and other coworkers after receiving criticism.
While Anai is one of the show’s most annoying characters, he is also one of the most relatable Aggretsuko characters. His actions are an exaggeration of real-life work problems. So here are 5 ways we can relate to Anai, plus some lessons we can learn to not end up like him!
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Many new hires are eager to please in their new jobs. When starting a new job, it feels as though your results will determine the whole course of your life, so you want to please everyone there and do everything perfectly. This much pressure leads you to feel nervous.
When Anai first enters the company, he is also overly eager and stiff. He then gets very nervous answering the phones, so he keeps making mistakes. We can all relate to being overly nervous in a new environment. Fortunately, over time, like Anai, you’ll settle in and the fear will go away.
Anai is very worried about being harassed at work by his superiors. He tries to get everything in writing and even starts recording his conversations with Retsuko. While his behavior is exaggerated, his actions may be relatable to many people entering the workforce.
Recently, many workplace harassment cases have been making headlines in the news. Seeing it so much on news platforms means that it’s easier than ever to become worried about workplace problems — especially if it’s your first job.
It’s good that there is more awareness about power harassment, as it helps to prevent future instances of harassment. Retsuko herself, in the first episode of the show, was taken advantage of and forced to do extra work by her boss, Ton. Anai is just trying to protect himself from those exact situations. Unfortunately, the way he initially handles things is definitely not right.
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Anai’s oversensitivity and insecurity prevent him from taking constructive criticism and doing his job more effectively. This is extremely annoying for Retsuko and Ton. However, receiving criticism without taking it personally is difficult.
This is something Anai has to learn throughout the series. It’s also something we all eventually end up learning, at some stage in our lives. Although criticism always hurts, even when given with good intentions, it’s important to know how to learn from it without reacting negatively to the person giving it.
Many times, we are forced to behave differently at work than at home. Anai is the embodiment of this. When he is at home with his girlfriend, or when he is cooking delicious Japanese festival foods, Anai completely transforms. Gone are the bloodshot eyes, replaced by the sparkling smile of an adorable, young badger.
Ultimately, it’s Anai’s love of cooking that brings him closer to those at work. He ends up selling his homemade lunches to his co-workers, bringing himself closer to them. This shows that it’s ok sometimes to bring a bit of your personality and home interests into your work life after all.
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At the end of the day, Anai, like many of us, just wants to fit in at his new job, do well, and earn the money he needs to live. In the beginning, this seems impossible due to all of his mistakes and perceived harassment. But once he gets used to his job and gets to know his co-workers, he finally starts fitting in at the company.
This is something we can all relate to when beginning a new stage of our lives. It’s good to remember that after the difficult adjustment period passes, no matter how hard it seems, we too will eventually learn the skills we need to fit in and succeed.
As yet another accurate representation of modern workplace culture, Aggretsuko gives us the perspective of the older coworker as she attempts to cope with her newbie. For those just entering the workforce, Retsuko’s struggles can give you insight into what your own bosses might be thinking. And for those dealing with difficult newbies, perhaps it can help you remember what it was like when you first started.
Thumbnail image via @SrFennec on Twitter
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