Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I didn't get the job at the restaurant, after all. The guy called me this morning and told me that they hired someone else.
Oh, well, life goes on and I'm heading for the local employment agency named "Hello Work." Nice name, huh?
posted by obachan, 1/29/2008 12:47:00 PM | link | 3 comments |

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I had a job interview this morning at the small office of a restaurant chain in town. It was a cold, rainy morning, and riding my bike for more than 30 minutes to get there was already quite discouraging.

But the interview went well. There were only two people there in the office: a middle-aged guy and a young female assistant, and they were both really nice. The assistant even gave me a cup of nice, hot green tea. (Maybe I looked so frozen and miserable from the bike ride.) The guy who interviewed me sounded very empathetic throughout the interview. He must be quite experienced -- he understood the content of my resume correctly at first glance. (You know how some interviewers are; they repeatedly ask you things that are clearly mentioned on your resume which they just went through.) Though they were not the kitchen staff, I had a good impression of the restaurant. Yes, I really want to get this job. I'm sick of writing resumes!! :O

Are you wondering why I "write" resumes instead of typing them up on my PC and making as many printouts as I want? Well, here in this small city, that's something you do only when you are applying for a full-time position at a big, "innovative" company, and/or when you are applying for IT jobs. But the majority of the time -- almost 100% if applying for a blue-collar job -- people in the personnel department expect to receive resumes handwritten on store-bought blank resume forms. (And regarding blue-collar jobs, I think the situation is almost the same in other prefectures, too.) Printed-out resumes do not give a good impression in this case, because it can make you seem aloof, and look like an overqualified person OR someone who is lacking in sincerity and politeness.

In my past observations, when applying for a blue-collar job, printed-out resume is likely to induce biases (or "assumptions," to be more neutral) like: "Such a (snobby white-collar) person won't be able to get along well with others at a blue-collar job", "(S)he won't be able to stand dirty and physically demanding work like this", "(S)he must be still looking for a white-collar job, too, and will get one soon and quit this place right away" and so on. Of course, ideally, the employers shouldn't make decisions based on such assumptions, but well, I have no control over that. And I N-E-E-D a job ASAP.

As for the sincerity and politeness issue, you might feel this is strange because in many countries typed-up documents are considered "official," while handwritten ones are "unofficial" or "casual" or possibly even "low-level," I believe. Well, it's mostly the same here in Japan even at blue-collar jobs, too, but I must say that a resume is an exception.

To explain that, maybe first I should mention the difference in people's expectation about handwriting, and how much they relate it to a personality issue here. In where I live now, it is not so taken for granted that handwriting is always hardly legible. Even in this Internet era, the bottom line still seems to be, "You should try to write neatly, or at least make an effort to write carefully and legibly. Completely abandoning the effort tells us something about your personality." And numerous how-to books and websites on "successful resume" advise, "You don't have to write like a penmanship teacher, but show your sincerity by showing your effort to write carefully and legibly. Don't give a sloppy or irresponsible impression by scribbling your resume."

Now, believe me, it's a real hard work to handwrite a resume and use correct Chinese characters all the way through, especially when you are over forty years old and have a long career background!! And you are not supposed to use white-out or correction tape, because it is an "official" document. For me it's nothing but torture! It is as if we are required to show our sincerity and politeness to the employers by going through the agony of completing a handwritten resume. So do you know how the employers at blue-collar jobs would react if you give them a printout which could have been possibly typed-up by someone else? They might think you are impolite, or there is something you want to hide (like you don't have enough concentration and eye-hand coordination to handwrite a resume, or you don't know Chinese characters at all or something). It could be worse than giving them a scribbled resume.

I'm not totally happy with the way it is here about resumes. And I know that handwriting does not really reflect one's personality, because I have met total bitches who wrote a BEAUTIFUL hand. But for now I need a job more than I need to change the local business custom. So if I don't get the job at the above mentioned restaurant, I will "write" a resume again, tearing one up every time I make a mistake. AHHHh!! ... To be honest, the mere sight of a blank resume form is making me sick now...

But I have noticed a positive change in Japanese official resume forms. About 20 years ago, they used to have a section to write the names of your family members. No one said it aloud but we knew that some employers used the information to avoid the children of single parent families. I'm happy that that section is gone now. The next step would be eliminating the requirement of a photo on a resume, maybe? ;)
posted by obachan, 1/22/2008 11:43:00 PM | link | 4 comments |

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Prayer...

We will nev
er forget that morning of January 17th, 1995.

posted by obachan, 1/17/2008 12:27:00 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, January 14, 2008


In Japan, you see the same type of news programs on most channels in the morning, and most of them have “your fortune for today” segment. I used to hate seeing it, because it can be pretty discouraging. Who would want to start a day with a prediction, “You are going to have a bad luck today?” So when it was time for a fortune-telling segment, I would zap the channel.

But now, job hunting at the start of the new year, I find myself visiting those fortune-telling websites almost every day. It’s interesting that the Western astrology and ancient Chinese fortune-telling basically tell me the same thing, which is good because they look reliable. They both tell me that 2008 will be a year of progress, and the efforts I made in the past years will be rewarded.

... This is how I'm getting the strength and energy to go to an employment agency recently...

BTW, I changed the clipart in the background. (Scroll down to see a cute little bunny made with snow.)

posted by obachan, 1/14/2008 10:12:00 AM | link | 2 comments |