様々な分野でグローバルに活躍する「普通の人々」が体験を語り、次世代の普通の人々のお役に立てればと思っているサイトです。

日本在住歴約40年のRon McFarlandと外資系勤務が長い齋藤信幸が、それぞれの海外体験を語ります。

Global Interaction & Understanding - A Personal Journey : No.9  運命のレイオフ!?歯車は回転を始める!!

2020-01-28 22:36:01 | Ron's Life Story
以下は、ロンさんが1977年に訪日する少し前の話です。1977年は、私にとっても大きな転換期でした。オイルショックの余波で就職が難しい時期ではありましたが、英会話学校に通うなど英語の勉強をしていたお陰で、外資系のUNIVACとIBMに内定。最終的にはIBMに行くことになりました。藤沢工場に配属になり、最初の3か月は現場実習。その後、磁気ディスク装置の開発に従事することになりました。年末には、その年のヒット曲、石川さゆりの「津軽海峡冬景色」をいやいや歌ったのを覚えています。

ロンさん、人生初めてのレイオフ、しかし、それが日本への気持ちを加速させる!すべての歯車が、日本に向けて回り始める!!

As I was only getting income from that part-time work and the Army Reserves, my bank account was steadily going down, and I needed more income, so I took a factory job over in San Francisco working in a putty and caulking compound manufacturer, called Goss & Goss. There were only four employees, an 80-year-old lady who owned the company and did the accounting, a general manager and two factory workers, of which I was one.



Working at Goss & Goss



Going to Japanese movies(サンフランシスコのジャパンタウン)


The other factory worker, Olin Cossairt, was in his early 60’s and about to retire. We were together during the work day, and he was a father figure to me. I’d been in contact with him ever since that time, and he even attended my wedding in Sacramento many years later.

I enjoyed working in that factory, as my mind was free to study right on the job while I produced the products in the factory.

Life at that time was going to my factory work, studying Japanese in the evenings at least twice a week, going to Japanese movies in Japan Town and going to my reserve meetings.

Then, one day the boss came to me and said I was laid off! I know the company was not that healthy, and the competition was far superior in just about every way possible. It was simply living on old customers the original founder, Mr. Goss had built up over the years before he died. At the time, being laid off was painful, but it turned out to be extremely good for me. I was out of a job and living on unemployment insurance and a little Army Reserve money.

On one occasion going to Sacramento to attend my Army Reserve meetings, my mother introduced me to a man who just came back from Japan. He was on a 1-year English teaching assignment and was looking for a replacement, but the job would not be available for six months. That was perfect, as my 6-year term in Army Reserve was to end about at that time. So, there was my chance to get to Japan. I took the assignment and decided to devote all of my time to study Japanese while on unemployment insurance.

Being laid off was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I got full unemployment insurance and studied full time. As I was learning for personal growth only, I decided to go to the nearest University with a Japanese class and simply sit in the class.

Who says education is expensive! If you want the knowledge, and not the degree, it can be very close to free. In those days, the popular language was Chinese, as President Nixon just opened diplomatic relations with China (around 1976). The Chinese classes were packed while the Japanese classes couldn’t gather even 10 students. Even though I was not even enrolled in the school, the teachers allowed me to sit in the class, do the drills in class and use the language lab anytime I liked! It was all free, was a very productive time in my life and gave me what was to be one of the most powerful skills I have used throughout my career. When I hit Japan, I was off and running with skills to learn the Japanese language.

Those years were early in my development for my life’s purpose. They were small steps toward interacting within the international community.

次章、いよいよRonさんは日本に行きます。日本文化にどう適応していったのか?
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Global Interaction & Understanding - A Personal Journey : No.8 ウールワースの仕事で見つけたものは?

2020-01-21 10:44:39 | Ron's Life Story
自分はどんな仕事に向いているのか、意外と分からないものです。
大学でたまたま磁気記録関係の研究を行い、たまたま採用されたIBMで磁気記憶装置の設計部門に配属されました。
そもそも磁気記録や技術者の道が自分に合っていたのでしょうか。
自分の将来を真剣に考え始めたのは、米国に赴任して、向上心豊かな人々との交流があってからでした。
そういう意味で、米国での生活は、私にとって大変、意味のあるものでした。

さて、サンノゼ州立大学を卒業したロンさん、仕事や他の活動から学び、自分を見つめ、将来を模索していきます。日本語とも格闘しています。

After boot camp, I returned to my reserve unit as a company clerk, which angered the commander. So, I was assigned to drill sergeant school for two years. Believe it or not, by going through drill sergeant school and acting as a drill sergeant for about two and a half years, I learned how to teach. I didn’t like it, and I was not a very good drill sergeant, but I did learn some things, particularly how to stand up in front of a group and teach.

In those days, my life was managing the store at Woolworth’s and going to Army Reserve meetings. I noticed at that time I still had a great desire to get into international business in any way I could. I always found myself in the stock room reading the origins of the merchandise Woolworth’s was bringing in from Asia, particularly Japan, Korea and Hong Kong in those days. I was continuing to read business magazines and what the United States was importing and exporting worldwide. With the huge figures of products being imported from Japan, I decided to start studying Japanese. I was around 26 years old at that time.

I signed up for an adult education Japanese class right in San Jose. That was an interesting experience, because here I was in a class mostly of third and fourth generation American Japanese who wanted to (or was pressured to by their direct parents) learn the language to be able to talk to relatives back in Japan. They all kind of wondered why I was putting myself through some much pain to learn that extremely difficult language. In those days, I too found the language extremely difficult. As I was not doing it for anyone except myself, I decided to flunk myself two times in the entry level Japanese classes. I finally got an understanding of the material after the third time around.

As Japanese is not an easy language, people really appreciated my effort, particularly the Japanese people who were poor English speakers. They regularly gave me encouragement while my own American friends and my own family thought I was crazy.

In order to visit my mother in Sacramento more regularly, I changed Army Reserve units to one in Sacramento. Then, I would go to Sacramento once a month to attend the weekend meetings.

With working at Woolworth’s 48 hours a week, going to the Army Reserves and taking Japanese classes, I found it all a bit much. As I paid off all the college debts I had built up when I was a student and was still single at the time, I decided to quit working for Woolworth’s and moved up to Oakland, California.

Sam Fisk, whom I lived with in the Roger Williams house in San Jose, was living in Oakland and going to school in San Francisco. His house there had a spare room I could rent. So, off I went to Oakland.

In Oakland, I set up Japanese language classes over in San Francisco and worked part-time for another person who lived in the house and had his own business selling computer data input services. Basically, it was asking companies if they needed help getting various data into their computers. He hired ladies to punch in the data and charged for the services he could sell. I did that direct selling for him too for a short time. I learned I enjoyed outside selling even though over a four-month period, I only brought in one account, Macy Department Store in San Francisco.

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Global Interaction & Understanding - A Personal Journey : No.7 帰国後、Ron-sanは就職活動をするが。

2020-01-12 00:49:37 | Ron's Life Story
正月明けの一週間は結構、仕事の密度の濃い5日間になりました。

支援先に外資系企業が多いため、クリスマスの前あたりから顧客の反応がスローになり、年末は少し楽になりました。
しかし、逆に年始、海外の企業は2日から始まっているので、メールも溜まっていますし、エンジン全開の人もいます。
こちらも年始の挨拶もそこそこにほぼエンジン全開でした。

この三連休はありがたい。旧正月、早く来てくれ(アジア地域の会社が休みになるところが多いので)。

さて、いよいよ第四章です。ヨーロッパの旅から帰ったRonさんは、グローバルビジネスを目指しますが、。。。。
この章も、3回に分けて掲載します。

Chapter #4: TURNS AND TWISTS EARLY IN THE CAREER

Coming back from Europe I knew I wanted to get into the international business community in some capacity. I sent out resumes to every American multinational corporation I could think of, from international carriers to corporations with investments and partners worldwide.

My Father, having worked for Bank of America for many years, set up appointments for job interviews throughout the bank in San Francisco. In one of those interviews the interviewer was very mean to me. He kept repeating that I do not nearly have the background to qualify for the type of position I was looking for. He said I would at least need a masters’ degree, a second language or specialty in a given country or region to even be slightly considered. So, I had no hope at that time and would have to explore how to move forward. I went back to San Jose to my rooming house completely dejected.

After some deliberation, I decided to take the first management job I could find as business management was my major at San Jose State University, and for the time being I would have to give up on all the change of any career in international business.

In San Jose, F.W. Woolworth’s needed store managers, and I was employed as a store manager trainee.

I started out in the stock room checking in merchandise and putting them into stock or taking them to the showroom floor. I learned how to receive goods, compare them with purchase orders, and stock them in the most ideal location and how to monitor inventory control.

From there, I moved to the store sales floor. At that time, I was promoted to assistant store manager, and I managed half the store sales floor and another assistant manager had the other half. I learned on the sales floor how to keep the merchandise out on display and meet customers. For most of the time I was at FW Woolworth’s, I had to cover the entire showroom floor, as the assistant managers kept quitting.

Several things I learned at Woolworth’s. One is I that enjoyed working with the public and interacting with a lot of different people. I also learned I had a knack with managing people particularly women for some reason. I guess it was because I grew up with women, my mother and sister. The more I learned the better manager I became and the more respect I commanded in the store, in some cases more than the store manager himself.

During those years, I was still in the Army Reserves. Therefore, I was not only learning management skills at Woolworth’s, I was learning management and teaching skills in the Reserves as well. Right in boot camp I learned the management and motivational techniques of competition among groups and team pride. My company had three platoons with four squads each. One squad has made up of about seven people, and I was a squad leader. I learned that a leader has to participate just as much as the rest of the quad. He cannot sit back and let everyone else do all the work, as respect will be lost. That is something that has held true in every company I managed in. Our squads would continually compete against each other in a wide range of very detailed activities and each platoon generated its own pride. With those techniques, we were all highly motivated even though none of us wanted to be there! About 90% of that company was reservist trying to stay out of the Vietnam War.


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Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with peace, joy and love

2020-01-01 03:00:13 | お知らせ
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