Thursday, July 26, 2012

Kyoko, A Story of Japanese Business Woman

Her name is "Kyoko". She joined in one of leading insurance company in April 1985. When she started her career, there were not so many women managers in Japanese companies. She graduated from a women's college. In late 1980's, many Japanese companies measured women's college graduates to be "two years after high-school graduation". Companies did not respect women college graduates regarded as high-school graduates.

She was a hard-working, smart, friendly, and flexible employee. After five years of working as an insurance planning specialist, her supervisor gave her an opportunity to take an examination for becoming a management candidate. She studied hard and passed the exam. She was then, officially, one of management candidates among five men and two other women. She was the second woman promoted to be an assistant manager.

10 years have passed. One of two other management candidates' women married and resigned the company. Kyoko and the other woman married, too. They did not quit their job. They kept working. Both of them became section managers. The other management candidate woman decided to leave the company when she became pregnant. Kyoko had a baby, but she kept working.

Kyoko's husband was an X-ray engineer in a medial institute in Tokyo. When Kyoko's husband studied abroad for one year, Kyoko decided to stay in Japan for her work and career. She was very close to being promoted to Department Manager.

Her company gave Kyoko promotion to be a department manager just right before the year 2000. She was then working with 30 people in her department. Her staff consisted of men, women, university graduates, college graduates, and high-school graduates. She was happy and comfortable with her business career. She worked even harder than before. Her department kept growing. She became the candidate of a division manager. People started to talk about her being even a candidate of director, executive director, or vice president.

It was summer in 2005. Kyoko's mother became ill. Kyoko was the one who took her mother to the hospital nearby. After intensive health examination, doctors diagnosed her mother type-one diabetes. Her mother needed intensive care and attention around the clock. Kyoko's father has been passed a long time ago. She was the only child of her mother. Her mother's illness shocked Kyoko badly. Her mother was extremely important for her. Kyoko was very close to her mother.

Business career was equally important for Kyoko. She wanted to reach as high as possible in her company management. She could not choose one, her career or her mother. Her husband offered her that he could leave his company and take care of her mother. When her mother asked her not to abandon her career for her sickness, Kyoko decided. Kyoko resigned her company 2006. She is concentrating on taking care of her mother hoping her mother's full recovery soon.

Life is a full of hard decisions. Japanese society must be more liberalized so that a businesswoman like Kyoko does not have to sacrifice her business career for private affairs.

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