My new job

[This entry was first published briefly 1 week ago. I chose to take it down for personal reasons, but can now put it back up]


Let’s have a picture of the moon as seen from our balcony – pre-water discovery.

So, as I mentioned in a post a few days back, I’m moving on from my current day job. It’s been a priceless experience and I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to work there. It’s given me an insight into what working for a Japanese company can be like, which will certainly inform any decisions I make about work in the future.

Where am I moving on to? White Rabbit Press.

I first had contact with them back in the summer thanks to Japan Podshow – possible collaboration was discussed, although it was decided then that the timing wasn’t right. Fast forward several months and I’m at the Good Ideas Salon event. Things draw to a close, and we’re all loitering in the foyer. I say hello to the interesting-looking guy behind me – he gives me his card – it’s the owner of White Rabbit Press. That night a bunch of us went for a drink at a local izakaya. There was no talk of work that night, but fast forward another few weeks and emails are exchanged, we meet, he kindly offers me a job.

Incidentally, last week I also went for an interview with All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s no.2 airline – this opportunity also arose thanks to personal contacts. The  interview took place in an office overlooking the runway at Haneda Airport. The position: an instructor responsible for testing pilots in an international English test that was introduced last year as a part of new regulations aimed at cutting the number of accidents caused by pilots not speaking good-enough English.

I won’t go into details about the interview as during proceedings two of the pilots shared the fact that they had been reading this website the day before (despite my not mentioning anything about it in my application). Ultimately it turned out though that their having seen TameGoesWild helped my application, they were impressed and entertained, apparently…!

As well as 50% more money than my present salary, I was also offered free flights for myself and my family. Initially this started out at about 3 return flights per year, but as the days progressed and I continued to say no to an offer, so it rose to 8 trips annually.

It was a tough decision to make. On the one side I was being offered a lot of money and free trips anywhere around the world, and on the other side I was being offered the chance to work for a comparatively small company operating in an industry that I’m very much interested in (publishing / audio / video) – but without free holidays!

I think I knew the answer from the start though. By working for White Rabbit Press I’ll be able to push myself further, to acquire new knowledge and skills, to gain an idea of what it’s like to run a business here in Japan.

It’s also a chance to continue to grow up. By being made responsible for key parts of the business the pressure will be on to deliver real results. In my current job there is little chance of my actions having any real impact on the overall profitability of the business (which leads to boredom, stagnation, no need for growth). In my new position if my actions don’t have an impact upon overall profitability I’ll be out of a job!

I really do see it as a golden opportunity to take the next step towards the goals I have for my Tokyo life. The manner in which the chance presented itself (it was an incredible series of ‘coincidences’ only touched upon above) reinforces for me that this is the right thing to do. *Twinkle* is supportive, and happy that I’ll be working a lot closer to home so that the 7.5 hours a week I will no longer be spending commuting can be spent on cleaning the house (which, for the record is nearly all done by me already!)

I have another 10 days in my present job.



Being more than just a (very well-trained) monkey

Cherry blossom budsSometimes I feel almost overwhelmed by the number and variety of possibilities that are open to me (and to anyone) here in Tokyo (read ‘on planet Earth’).

Having made a decision a couple of months back to reach out into the community and connect with others, I have been almost dumbstruck by the things I have seen being achieved around me.

The nature of the events I’ve attended means that most of the people I meet are those who are actively shaping their lives, choosing to bring about change, both major and minor.

As a result of meeting these people, my life now is very different from that of 8 weeks ago. Perhaps my daily routine is not all that different, but my thinking and relationship with my surroundings certainly is.

It is clearer than ever that I have what I would almost call a duty to make the most of my time here, to do what I love to help others (the first stage in The Big Life Experiment Age 31~ is the podcast and videos).

Again and again I’m struck by the fact that whilst unique, I am also no different from anyone else. At the end of the day, we are all human, we are all spirit, we are all living these lives that we have been ‘given’. No-one has been ordained by any ‘God’ to do anything, to be ‘successful’, no-one is superior or inferior. It’s just that whilst some people have chosen to spend their precious 24 hours doing some things, others have chosen to do others.

You know Gandhi only had 24 hours in a day as well. That’s the same as me. And you.

Tomorrow I will start in a new role at the company that I work for. This will see me positioned in the centre of office goings-on (a part of which is politics), having to deal with the idiosyncrasies of staff that have been there far longer than I have.

I’m going to use this as an experiment. An experiment in changing a culture. As it’s an experiment, I will be free to try different approaches, without fear of failure. There is no failure, just learning.

Some might say these are dangerous times to be sticking your neck out in, with companies looking for opportunities for reduce their labour costs, but I say that these are the times that demand exactly that – people sticking their necks out to try something new, different, better.

The only rule is to remain honest, and to retain integrity – that is, to act in accordance with what my gut tells me is right, and never stoop to lying to save face or ‘win’, no matter how embarrassing or difficult that might be.

If i didn’t do this, I’d be wasting my time. A trained monkey could do my job (trained in MS Office / telephone manners etc), but I have no intention of breaking the commitment I made when I accepted the job – both a legal commitment, and a personal commitment.

Oh, there’s one more rule, and that’s that I don’t take my work home with me. 40 hours a week is already a lot to be giving over to a ‘project’ that ultimately is not a key part of my overall plan.

My thanks to my friend Tom for helping me see the opportunity here. Much appreciated.

[EDIT] Blimey, this monkey is really struggling to come to grips with all his monkey duties.

… and of course I don’t mean that everyone at my company are monkeys, because they’re not. They all do a myriad of tasks at the same time, requiring far more than just banana-skin peeling skills.