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Should I keep doing the work I’m not good at?

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company worker in my 20s. I graduated from a university’s foreign language department earlier this year and started working for an information technology company. I’m taking training to be a computer system designer. I’m not confident about staying in this line of work as it is full of things I can’t understand.

I wanted to work for a trading company to use my English ability, but failed. So I chose my current workplace. Although I was inexperienced in this field, the company convinced me there was no problem as it provides a training program. In fact, some senior colleagues underwent such a program.

Once I started working, I was at a loss as I found the work was totally new to me. I’m a little better now, but I’m just trying not to drop out as I’m required to learn more difficult things day by day. What is worse, one of my supervisors is so intimidating that I hesitate to ask questions. In fact, the other day I was reprimanded more severely than usual. I’m distressed now.

It’s so hard for me to go to work every day. I sometimes can’t help but cry on my way home. Should I switch to a job that I feel I can do well, rather than continue doing work that I’m not good at? I can’t decide.

G, Tokyo

Dear Ms. G:

Answering your question might be much easier if companies did not simultaneously recruit new graduates and changing jobs were quite ordinary. If so, nobody would ask this column for advice on this kind of matter.

In Japan, new graduates are in an advantageous position when job hunting. Changing jobs isn’t commended very much, so people need to be cautious about doing so. However, after reading your letter I’m aware that your workplace is not suited to you in terms of the job description and work environment. If you keep pushing yourself to work, you may ruin your health.

It’s risky to leave your company without any prospects for a new job. Fortunately, more companies today seem to hire people who are not new graduates and treat them similarly. I suggest you contact your alma mater or friends to get employment information about these companies.

I have one thing to tell you. Having English ability and being serious-minded alone can’t be selling points in the job market. You should have additional values. I advise you to learn at a vocational school in the field of your interest, if you can afford it.

While making these efforts, try to convince yourself that you won’t leave your work because it is so hard, but that you will change your job to seek new possibilities.

You can gain depth as a human by failing once or twice when you are still young — just by thinking this way, you can pave a new path in life.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from Oct. 27, 2016, issue)Speech

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