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Started blogging for Youshare

April 25, 2008 Leave a comment

Our company has moved into the Blogosphere and I’ve been asked to blog for our company. Not sure what to blog on, so I’m going to blog on so I’m going to blog about anything I can think of.

I’ll be cross posting, here and on:

…which is going to go live in a month or two, once we’ve gathered some contents and ironed out a few minor bugs.

Why don’t you start a blog over there and let us know what you think?

Cheers.

Categories: 3) Life, Japan, Job, Site Tags: ,

In the News!

October 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Our company got itself in the Fuji Sankei Shimbun, a prominent industry newspaper again. Only this time, I was in the photograph! If you look carefully, you can find my face in the picture at the bottom of the page!

The news article is about our 10 Language Shopping Portal which is currently in its opening phase.

Categories: Job Tags:

Two Weeks at the New Place

August 14, 2006 Leave a comment

I can report that I’ve just completed two weeks at my new company. Well, what can I say? The hours are long, I work about 11 hours a day. But what a difference it makes having a job that suits me.

Despite the hours, the stress is half that of my last place and of course, the salary is significantly more.

It’s incredible, the amount of freedom I have to do the things I want to do and how the vast majority of ideas I propose are not only listened to, but implemented on the spot. The freedom takes a bit of getting used to, it has to be said.

So, what is it that I do? That’s a good question.

There are presently eight people in the company, and two of them are owners. Which leaves us six. Although I can’t speak for myself, I have to say that they picked their people well. I’m working with one of the fastest coders I’ve ever born witness to and also with an extremely accomplished system admin who also happens to be the first person I’ve ever met who uses Linux for everything, and I mean everything from his home server and PC to his laptop, his router and his PDA. He doesn’t own a single bit of Microsoft software!

There are also two tireless Japanese in the office, without whom the company would disappear under a pile of unfinished paperwork. One other is on holiday at the moment, so I’m not really sure what he does, but he’s probably good at it.

So, what is it that I do? That’s a good question.

Categories: Job

Shortest job ever?

June 26, 2006 Leave a comment

I finally handed in my notice at work after being offered a new job. It was a very strange feeling. I had to go into the office in Shibuya and explain to my boss why I was leaving.

He’d been very supportive of me since before I entered and had taken me under his wing. He’d even interviewed me directly, which was apparently unheard of. Moreover, I was to work directly for him after one year in the field and help with liaising with the US and setting up a new office somewhere in Europe. As such, it came as a complete shock to him and his personnel.

He seemed very disappointed and upset, which is natural, I suppose.

Being the first foreigner to work at that company, I can’t help but think that somehow I’ve tarnished our reputations and that, not only would I be the first foreigner to work there, but I’d also be the last! Still, I have to be realistic, pragmatic, and practical and put myself and my family first.

The last three months have not been the very positive ones I’d anticipated, jobwise. What started off as a great career move was starting to look more and more like a slow crawl up a corporate ladder to some mediocre management position. I felt constantly that I was not able to achieve what I wanted, none of my ideas were considered and my skillset was largely being left unused.

I’d turned into a pencil pushing helpdesk clerk in a lower position than I was eight years ago at university when I was a helpdesk manager.

I also had the strong feeling that I was a square peg being forced into a round hole and that I’d never adjust to the atmosphere of the company. It wasn’t the Japanese language barrier, or the culture per se, but rather the claustrophobic corporate weight and idiosyncratic supervisor that broke the camel’s back.

The rules, regulations, paperwork combined with the Sarbanes Oxley paperwork gallows which Enron and the like have forced American corporations (to which I was being outsourced) to bow down to really puts the clamp on creative thinking.

The strange and arbitrary rules thought up by a well meaning but misguided supervisor also doused any remaining spark of interest this job may have held. After this experience, knowing that in a year’s time I’d be shipped back to HQ to start their drive into Europe and send punters out there to be outsourced as I was sounded hollow and hypocritical. Yes, I’d be working for a boss who had treated me with respect and kindness from day one, but seeing the haggard expressions on everyone’s faces at 8pm on a visit to HQ and related stories of catching the last train home every night was enough to steel my resolve.

And so it is that I enter my final one month as a large corporation employee.

Categories: Job

As luck would have it.

June 25, 2006 Leave a comment

I can’t believe my good luck. Tomoko told me it would be like this. Just when you think things are loking bleak, a ray of light comes along to light the way.

I’ve just been headhunted from the dreary company where I work. And it would seem, if the job pans out the way it looks, I should be in for a much more interesting time.

I’ll be working for a small software company as a kind of project coordinator for a an online school management system.

Categories: Job Tags:

Job… dull… End of first Month…


So, my “spot” job of one week stacking computers is over and now I can get down to my “real” job.

My company has sent me to a financial establishment as a Helpdesk person. Career wise, I’m back in a lower position than I was in the UK before I left, seven years ago! Salary wise, this is lower than I was getting when I first came to Japan seven years ago. Work wise, this job is averaging 11 hrs of hard graft a day: over 50% more work than my last 9 to 5 job. Stress wise, it’s off the scale!

I took over the reins last week from an employer who left for unspecified reasons. As it turned out, he was fed up with the job, the pay, the conditions and the staff. Pretty much fed up with everything. He got a job not far away from the current office, working for another ex-employee of this company, who As it turned out, was fed up with the job, the pay, the conditions and the staff.

I suppose that having him as my tutor for a month did not improve the image of the company I am working for in my eyes and I have tried to take most of his bitter advice with a pinch of salt.

His gripes went thus:

  • When you’re outsourced, the client is not paying directly to you, they are paying to your employer who passes a portion of the spoils on to you. 
  • Unfortunately, the client demands effort in accordance with the money they are paying.

And they deserve to, or so I thought. However, today I found out that my company took more than double what I earned last month! I’m working hard enough to more than satisfy the client, but not earning enough to satisfy me!
For the first time today, I thought about leaving. Not sure if it’s good plan or not, and I really don’t fancy the idea of going back on to the job market. I don’t think six weeks will look good on my CV, either!
Still, Tomoko assures me that now I’m in the field, any experience and contacts I make will not be wasted and opportunities in the field of my choice are much more likely to present themselves.

Let’s hope an opportunity like that comes along soon. The thought of staying here for another ten and a half months doesn’t frankly fill me with joy!

Categories: Job

Fulltime Japanese Employee

March 13, 2006 1 comment

Today was my first day as a full time Japanese employee: The first day of my new career. Since as of today, I’ll be working for a large IT outsourcing company in Shibuya, at the centre of Tokyo.

The first surprise was the commute. At under 40 minutes door to door, it takes less than half the time it took to get to Chiba.

Also lucky was the fact that the Yamanote line anticlockwise from Tabata is a lot emptier than the clockwise line! Which means that I even got a seat this morning.

I felt that I had arrived at Shibuya almost as soon as I’d sat down, it was so close! But Shibuya is not a small station and it takes almost 10 minutes just to walk from the train to the correct exit, and that’s taking into consideration the two moving walkways available to speed passengers along.

Anyway, I arrived in fine feckle and it was a strangely exhillerating experience as I walked through the city, surrounded by concrete and glass, although I’m sure I’ll grow accustomed to it all too soon.

I arrived at work about 10 minutes early and checked everything in my bag, I was pretty nervous for a number of reasons. Firstly, this is my first job outside of the public sector and after Tomoko telling me how busy “real” companies are compared to the public sector, I’m sure I’ll be in for a shock.

Secondly, out of the 1,600 regular employees in the IT Support section, I’m the first foreigner! That’s a low foreigner ratio, even for a section that typically doesn’t handle foreign clients
This is the start of two weeks of training, who knows what I’ll have learned by the time I start really working.

Categories: Job