What's new

New job, feeling under qualified

Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3
Hi everyone.

TLDR: Feeling under qualified at new job as everything I'm doing is completely in Japanese for the first time in my career. Worried about being let go within 3 month probation period.

(long post)
My situation is I started a great job at a great company in Tokyo doing what I've done at previous jobs. The clincher is I'm doing all my tasks in Japanese this time whereas before I was doing my job tasks in English. At this job, they're expecting me to write media for the company in Japanese for a Japanese audience and the press.

While my Japanese is probably high-intermediate (passed N2 about a year ago), I definitely haven't had experience writing to Japanese press in perfect/interesting-to-read Japanese.

I was straightforward in my interview about my Japanese. They asked me if I would feel comfortable interpreting for large audiences, and I replied "not really". However, coming into this job, they still may have me interpretation.

They had my resume, so they should have seen that my last job I was writing in English. I feel I've been pretty straightforward, and I think it's hard to hide not having perfect Japanese in a Japanese-speaking interview, so now I'm two weeks into the job, and I already feel my boss thinks dislikes me because my Japanese isn't high enough.

I'm worried about the 3 month probationary period, too. The job is great, and if they had patience with me, I think I could learn fast...but my boss isn't really into being a mentor for me (he speaks Japanese and English perfectly) and he seems to already be annoyed with me, as I said. He has a short fuse, and even though I've tried to ask him questions so I can get caught up, he gets angry with me as, admittedly, he's having to repeat some information.

I took this job feeling they had an idea on what I could and couldn't do during the interview, but now I feel I've made a mistake taking this job.

Any ideas/advice on what I should do?
Lastly, how strict is the probationary period for jobs in Japan? I heard that companies have to give you notice in 14 days if they don't want to keep you on.

Thanks!
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
You shouldn't have applied for the job if you knew your skills weren't up to the task and they shouldn't have hired you.

N2 is an ample basis for working in a Japanese-only environment, but not when your Japanese language output itself is the product.

I work in a Japanese-only environment, have done so for quite a while now, and there's no way in hell I would have even applied for what you describe. I remember very well the stress of jumping into the linguistic deep end and how tough it was for quite a long while, so I definitely know the stress and feelings of misgivings you have...but nobody expected me to write copy in Japanese or do interpreting. You've jumped in farther over your head than I did, or so it sounds.
 
Joined
Aug 20, 2003
Messages
4,727
Ratings
267
Look at jobs in Career Cross. They require either N2 or fluent Japanese. If yours accepted N2, they were foolish to to so, if the job required higher skills, which is what it sounds like. I mean, really. They want interpreting from someone who said they were uncomfortable doing that. If they want press releases to be written, they should demand perfect Japanese, not N2. No offense to you.

Add to that a boss with a short fuse. Well, that's what you tell us anyway. We aren't there to see how often you ask for help or things to be repeated or the manner in which you do so. So, we shouldn't automatically accept what you say without a grain of salt. Sorry if that offends you, but I'm just trying to be fair to both sides here.

If you truly think they won't keep you, start looking for something else. It's as simple as that. You have not said how long you've had this position, or how long you have left for the probation, so again, we're missing some critical data. If this is the first week, give it more time.

Also, regardless of how long you've been there, what are you doing to improve your language skills, and does the boss know? That could also make a difference.
 
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3
Just to add some more info:

I was headhunted for the job. My headhunter thought it was a good position, and apparently the company thought it was a good fit after interviewing me (in Japanese).

Also, I did a "homework assignment" for the interview where I was to make a mock event tour plan for press. I wrote the assignment in English and Japanese. I'm used to writing up these kinds of reports in business Japanese so this wasn't a stretch for me. Definitely not the same as writing a press release.

I thought this would be the bulk of my job, and liked doing event planning tasks as I had done so in my previous job. Also, the opportunity was really good at a cool company, so I didn't really think to turn it down.

I know you only get my side of the story, and all I can say is, I'm hesitant to talk to my boss and ask him questions in case he gets angry with me. This was apparent probably from the second day in. I know if I was in his position, I would rather have the newbie asking tons of questions, even if they're dumb and repetitive. But, based on previous experiences, I guess this is just not the Japanese way.

I don't know why they hired me to do this instead of a native Japanese speaker. I think they needed someone who could also speak English, but couldn't find anyone?

I still am curious about how strict the probationary period is and what the rules are for when they will tell me if I didn't make the cut.

Thanks again for the help.
Edit: forgot to say, I finished up my second week on Friday. I also had to work on my first week on Saturday at the company.
I've been taking Japanese classes, and going to volunteer Japanese classes when I can. I want to take N1 this year, but probably in December. I study at home, too, and am now trying to read yahoo news in Japanese everyday.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Oct 12, 2013
Messages
1,507
Ratings
292
Look at the probation period as a two-way street. The company wants to know if you are a good fit for them, and you need to know if the company/job is a good fit for you. If the job doesn't suit you, then you should move on, and don't worry about who to blame. It is not really relevant. And, it is not very helpful for you to be thinking about the legalities of the probationary period right now. I think it would be a distraction for you to be looking at the calendar and thinking about the legal time limit for them to fire you. This way of thinking isn't going to help you. (14 days is one interpretation of the law, but Japanese labor law highly favors worker's rights over employer's rights, so you have certain rights just by joining the company, no matter if it is still withink the probation period. But labor law is an area that is only useful for you if you are considering lawyering up and taking your company to court. Like I said, this line of thinking really isn't going to help you in your situation).

If you feel you could grow into the job, and you really want to keep it, show the company you are making an effort to improve, and ask them if they will help you until you can do it by yourself to their satisfaction. It sounds like you just need someone native who can proofread your output. It shouldn't be too hard of a task. But if the job doesn't suit you and the boss is a tyrant, be careful of fighting too hard for this job. It doesn't necessarily sound like a keeper to me.
 

Mike Cash

骨も命も皆此の土地に埋めよう
Joined
Mar 15, 2002
Messages
16,454
Ratings
1,568
Any update?
 
Top