07 May 2015

My Experience Working in Japan's Marketing Industry (1st year)

I'm currently having a short break back home in KL, and have a bit of time to write about my experience working in Japan so far. At the moment I'm 2 months away for my 1st working "anniversary".

I'd like to share it in few phases on working in Japan so far.


Home sweet home KL, somewhere I belong.

Just over a year ago, I arrived back home in KL 2 months after I've graduated in March. I was in the middle of job-hunting, it was an uncertain time and I wanted to unwind myself back home for awhile, before continuing job-hunting again soon.

After fully recharged back home, I headed back to Tokyo and successfully landed my first job.

Phase 1: Entering the Marketing Industry

View of Shinjuku from the office.

While I was hired as SEO consultant, my initial job scope was to manage a media website introducing life in Japan from the perspective of foreigners. That's my first encounter with content and search engine marketing.

The boss gave me the freedom to manage the site whatever ways that I want, and in return demanded the increase of unique user' session counts each month. All this while the industry has been emphasizing on creating original content, and we tried to employ it as part of our strategy. How's the verdict? To put things short, it didn't went as planned.

However, it was a valuable experience on trying to manage such a website from end-to-end, namely the maintenance of the platform (WordPress for this case), recruiting writers, update & fine-tune the blog posts, and finally spread it out on the social networks.

After working at the first company for few months, here comes an offer from the parent company who're looking for staffs to fill up the larger parent company. I took the chance and looking forward working at a different environment.

Phase 2: Shifting to the Bigger Arena

The parent company is a total different story and scale.

The number of employees in the Tokyo office is about 500 compared to 20 at the previous company.
As one of the top Internet marketing agency in Japan, the parent company handles quite a number of big-name clients' cases. It's SEO solution is one of the most sought-after services provided by the company.

During the initial 2 months, I've went through various training courses about the basics of Internet marketing, something I should've done it at the previous company. Good thing about company of this scale, is that there are opportunities to attend seminars hosted by big G and other major players in the industries. It's certainly helpful to keep myself updated with the latest trends happening in the industry. Sometimes this kind of talk is much effective in making a point than reading it online.

At that moment, I was trying to absorb as many knowledge as I can by doing things at my own pace. I didn't really understand the need of staying back til late night. Those days were the honeymoon period when I'm able to leave the office on time around 7pm.

Christmas cake sponsored by the boss.

Phase 3: Facing The Reality

One of my favourite pastime is take a stroll after lunch enjoying sakura bloom.

As I was a freshie in the company, I was eager to proof my worthiness to be in the company quickly by handling cases.

Over the next few months I was given the tasks of making proposal to clients on how can they improve their websites. I did struggled but that's normal as it was my first time doing it. After all, we learn the most by embracing mistakes that we've made along the way.

However, when the dateline presses on, it's not uncommon to leave the office after 10pm, and on extreme days, barely able to catch the last train of the day. When I reached my apartment, it's already passed the dateline (12am) and when I finally managed to settled down, it's already 1 or 2am. After sleeping for a few hours, I'm back in the office working just like zombie.

I don't mind to stay up late once in awhile, but I'm alarmed that this continues for weeks to come, to an extent that the unhealthy work-life balance has taken a toll on my own health. Plus, sleep deprive makes me a very different person than I'm usually is.

Fortunately, I've supportive supervisor and colleagues around to guide me when in need. I'm thankful for that, really.

Surprised to know that 2 other colleagues are sharing the same birthday as mine!

To Infinity, and Beyond!

Exploring an unknown territory in life.

I realized that I'm fortunate able to work at this current company because it's not be easy to be able to get into such a big agency.

When it comes to future prospects, there are a few points to ponder.

1) Over the few months or years to come, I wanna learn as many things as I can to become an independent marketing consultant. It takes time so I shouldn't rush for it.

2) If the work-life balance issue still persists, I may need to reconsider my plan in order to maintain myself to be able to work at the optimum rate most of the time.

3) For the next few years, I shall decide should I renew the working visa, or not. It's obvious where I'll be heading, should I didn't renew the visa.

I believe I have to make some key decisions sooner or later.
Life's having a little turbulence right now, but as I sort it out gradually, things will get better and I'm eager to announce it here, should there's any breakthrough progress.

Until then, thanks for reading this blog all this while. :)

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