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2009年懸賞エッセイ:奨励賞作品 「仕事と私」藤野和恵さん


Work and Me
                        Graduated in 1989 (LE850245) Kazue Fujino

One scene from an old TV drama has always stuck in my mind. A young woman working as a nurse calls her mother. “Mom, I am thinking of quitting my job.” She was at a stalemate in her career, gradually finding that her job was rather different from what she had dreamed of. Listening to the daughter complaining for a while, the mother encourages her in a gentle tone. “You know, there are very few who can work in a job that they had always wanted to do. You are lucky to have been able to get the job you desired straight after school.”

I was watching the drama empathetically. At that time, I was working at a department store in sales. Waiting on customers was not my desired job. Indeed, it was the complete opposite of what I had wanted. What I had hoped as a student was to take on a clerical job where I could make use of the English skills I learned at college, so when I heard that a department store had just started up a trading section, I decided to apply. I made it to the interview and said that I would like to make use of my English skills in the job. The board of directors tuned in to my appeal but suggested me to serve behind the counter first so that I could understand the whole structure of the department store.

Therefore, soon after graduating, I started working at the department store. Since I was rather reluctant to talk to complete strangers as a student, it took me a while to get used to the job of serving customers. I was gradually getting used to it but at the same time, I was always wondering how long I would have to continue in the task. Unfortunately, due to the recession, opportunities in the trading section I had wanted to work for were curtailed and eventually it closed completely. Still, I could not give up my dream of using English in my career. So I determined to go back to college to study English for more professional purposes and was admitted to a postgraduate course at a college in England where I took a course for English teachers and received a masters’ degree.

After returning to Japan, I worked for a few more years at the department store to fulfill my obligation for the time off they had given me to study abroad. I then found a position as an English teacher at a vocational college in Fukuoka. I thought, this is going to be my vocation — I had finally got the job I wanted!

At the college, I needed to take charge of a class of about 40 students. I taught the English course. However, at a vocational college, the job of an English teacher was not only teaching English. Besides taking care of each student in terms of their study, a homeroom teacher had so much more to do such as job placement for the students after graduation, teaching and helping them pass many certificate exams, as well as attending to high school students hoping to study there. Teaching English per se accounted for only a small percentage of the job. It was much harder than I expected and gradually it affected my health.

Yes, it was different from what I had dreamed of — but I then remembered the scene in the TV drama. Although I had to leave the college, looking back, I found I had had a good relationship with students and was rather surprised to have found myself fond of a job that involved working with many various types of people using my communication skills. After a while, I noticed that I myself had changed a lot after having experienced the job at the department store. If I had started teaching straight from school, what would it have been like? Perhaps I would not have been able to cope.

After a few years of recuperation at home, I got better enough to work again. However, due to regular hospital visits I needed during daytime, it was impossible for me to work full-time from Monday to Friday. The next job I chose was translation which, I thought, I could do any time at home. Since I like desk work and moreover, I could use English in the work, I felt as if I finally found an ideal job. This way, I got better and better and as I extended my range of activities, an acquaintance of mine one day offered me a chance to teach again. The person knew my teaching experience in the past and that I had a degree in teaching English. And this time, the teaching position was at a university. It was a now-or-never chance, but I could not get it out of my mind that “teaching is such a hard job.”

However, the vacancy was for a part-time teacher which coincidentally suited my daily schedule. I decided to accept the offer. What I was supposed to teach was reading authentic English writing. In my teaching, I was recommended to use newspaper articles which I had read and often translated in my translation job. Here, I found that all my experiences in my previous jobs came together as one. Communicating with customers at the department store helped me to be more outgoing which pushed me to get a teaching position at a vocational school. Then I started a new job of translation which gave me an opening to teach a new subject as my second teaching experience. Now I enjoy teaching highly-motivated students who are eager to learn English and I can also do some translating at home and at an office.

Looking back at my career history, one thing for sure is that I always kept it in mind that some day I would definitely get a job in which I could use my English skills. In my current life with a translation and teaching job, I would therefore say all the work experiences in my past have nourished me and helped me to reach my present position.

The utmost purpose for all working people should be to make a living doing a job one really likes. However, I have learned that although it is important to keep the purpose in mind, it does not always come true so soon. Indeed, a job one has long dreamed of might turn out to be rather different from what one imagined. Still, I believe that working, in any form possible, will polish your character as long as you adopt a serious stance towards the task at hand. This, ultimately, will lead to experiences that can make your future job a genuine ‘dream job’.