Some Japanese companies like to transfer or post their staff to different sections and departments every now and again. For one very large car manufacturer in Japan, I heard the average was every three years which makes my situation slightly above average (a very scientific comparison). Having been employed for 9 years by the current Japanese company I’ve been transferred four times.
2006 June, entered company and started work at the Nara-Ken R&D centre
2008 April, Tokyo R&D centre
2011 April, Nara-Ken R&D centre
2012 May, Sendai, Tohoku University
2015 April, Nara-Ken R&D centre
Traditionally, March, being transfer season, is a very hectic month as those that have to transfer must prepare, in some way, for a new start. Postings can be domestic or overseas but employment in Japan is already considered overseas, at least by me, if not by my employers. By union rules, the company must give me a month’s notice for domestic postings and three months for overseas postings. As always, rules are made to be broken and I rarely get the time to brace myself for the next move.
Some of the things that I must do
• Find a new flat within the strict limitations as laid out by human resources
• Make arrangements with a removal company to pick up and deliver my furniture and belongings
• Inform the local municipality of my intended move
• Inform banks, post office, police (driver’s licence) of a change of address
• Inform the new municipality of my arrival within two weeks or face some penalisation
It is rather simplified as it omits details such as a time limit for packing, the actual move and unpacking, the time spent on the telephone arranging and co-ordinating the move, the running about to the various offices before and after the move. The most upsetting part is leaving a life and friends that were established during that period. It is very stressful and it takes time to settle in and then re-establish a new life and new friends only to go through the rigmarole again two or three years later.
I belong to a group picked on for postings, but why such frequency. Don’t know the answer to that. Instead, here is a short list of advantages
• Get to live in different areas of Japan
• Increases opportunities for networking
• Amass new experiences within the company
• Expand repertoire of marketable skills and experience for the next career move
• Makes me physically and mentally stronger
What can one do except to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride or look else where.