Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life is not a belt conveyor

Believe it or not, Japanese University students start the activity of searching for a company to work for ("Shukatsu") more than one year before graduation.

Students start searching for their jobs in December of their third year. Graduation would be still one year and three months away (which takes place in March here), and the academic activities are at their peak. And yet, the students would be obliged to start the job searching right in the middle of the academic year.

The companies, on the other hand, do not usually consider those who have already graduated, or have spent some time away from an institution such as a university, as potential recruits. As a result, there is a tremendous pressure on the students to "stay on course". A gap year is not allowed. For example, if you want to work as a volunteer abroad after graduating from a university, it would usually signify that you would not be able to work for a company as a "regular employee" ("Seishain"), because only the freshly graduating students can be considered for that status.

Personally, I think all this is RIDICULOUS with a capital R.

Life is not a belt conveyor. People make random walks, and are well advised to do so, as they would learn lots of valuable things in wandering around. If you are managing the recruiting process of a company, it would be only sensible to look for people with various different backgrounds, as the survival in the competitive market today would require a diversity of talents, including those who are able to potentially support themselves independent of an institution.
The current Japanese custom, where the big companies consider only fresh graduates as candidates for employment, is not only foolish from economical point of view, but also, needless to say, constitutes a serious infringement of basic human rights. It should be rectified ASAP.


Anonymous said...

When I read your journal, I remembered my job hunting in my college days.We need to think flexibly to live this changeable society, and this is the key to keep the country.

Claire said...

Mr Mogi,
I agree. This is a ridiculous system. I hope you can use your influence to change things.

砂山鉄夫(Tetsu Sunayama) said...

If the rigid companies remain in this system like a belt conveyor, why not all students withdraw from the job market like Google?

Am I anarchistic? Yes,a little recently. Ryoma's "Dappan" spirit makes me think so.

On the other hand, I love music CDs, books and milk chocolate made by big companies. Hmm...difficult question.

Anonymous said...

Fully concur. Mogi-sensei, I am certain many would strongly agree with your view and therefore ask that you kindly raise your voice a little more and make good use of your high popularity and exposure on issues like this (the topic regarding our college education system should certainly be raised as well, being a fundamentally similar matter). We are all about to start panicking on the same ship. Please do something about this. Please.

(ma)gog said...

As my son will be obliged to start job hunting in winter this year, today's topic makes me feel uneasy. While I completely agree to what you say, I can't help feeling guilty and getting annoyed by the fact that the situation surrounding recruiting students hasn’t changed since we were students. I regret that I have not tried to speak out to change things for the better like you, and that just selfishly ran away from all of it and settled outside of Japan. Now my own child is facing the same situation, I honestly hope he will have the courage to be one of the rebels against this quite unique absurd system, and find happiness in what he will be doing in his career.

Asami said...

I agree with you strongly.
I can't also understand the Japanese job hunting.
Most of students must be afraid of missing their just ONE chances in their lives. I was also like them when I was a university student.
Students need enough time to think about theirselves. Now they have no time to do that, because they can't help missing the wave.
The Japanese students have just one or two years to stop to think.
It's impossible to find theirselves in the years.
We should live at each pace.

I have been a teacher for a year.
I took a lot of interviews in my }Shukatsu days. Fortunately, I could hear my real voice in the process.
I don't want our generation to lose their will to work by doing Shukatsu.

shinichi ikeda said...

I agree with you Mr. Mogi, but Shukatu is just a part of problem. The Problem is whether each of Japanese is independent or not.
I hate those who do Shukatu without thinking, and other who recommend you to change the system with your popularity, because both of them are dependent.

Some companies said not to hire college graduate with Shukatu system this year, allegedly wanting students to think about the system.(we know this is because they simply can't afford to it due to economic downturn) This attempt has little impact on the problem. It seems employers are unable to change it. The change of the system must be finally achieved by each college student.

As one of Shukatu students, I search for a job every day. Explanatory meetings of many companies are full within 10 minutes. Yes,this is RIDICULOUS.

I can no longer stand Japanese totalitarian mindset. but independence does not mean to oppose it. I need to find a way to live.