I was born in Poland, and my first contact with Sony came when I was a child and my father brought a Walkman® back from Japan, where he was working. I remember listening over and over to an album by Whitney Houston, the only cassette tape I owned. I came to live in Japan around the time I was in my second year in elementary school, and attended Japanese school through high school. I then went to Edinburgh University in Scotland, but in my third year there, I returned to Japan as an exchange student. In Japan, university students start looking for jobs in their third year of the standard four-year course, and I decided to apply to Sony for a job after friends I had made at the time suggested that it looked like an interesting company.
When I actually attended the interviews, I was astonished at how friendly the interviewers were. The interviews also gave me the impression that the atmosphere at Sony promised it would be an interesting workplace. I received an informal job offer as a result of the interview, but I honestly had a difficult time making up my mind because I also had the choice of working in Poland, my home country, and in the UK, where I was studying. In the end, I made my decision because I believed Sony, which manufactures so many products, would give me the chance to test my potential while bringing me into touch with a world that I had not yet known.
When I joined the company, I was assigned to the Business Planning Section in the Home Audio/Video Marketing Department. The department oversees Sony's worldwide business in foreign markets such as North America, Asia and South America. While working there, I acquired basic knowledge about audio in general and about the characteristics of products by region. Perhaps because of the nature of the department, the workplace was full of people of various nationalities and employees with experience of studying overseas, so I was never particularly aware of being a foreigner. More than that, however, my first impression was that there were many people with different ways of thinking. In addition, the environment allowed employees to voice their opinions freely irrespective of position, so that a variety of views emerged naturally, and since communications with superiors were open, the mood in the workplace was great. Today, my relationships with colleagues outside the workplace have strengthened. For example, I go rafting with them on holidays.
Today, I'm in charge of audio marketing in the South American region. When it was initially decided I would be in charge, I wondered why I was assigned to South America when I could not speak Spanish nor Portuguese. Now, I believe I was given the opportunity to grow even further. While I cannot make direct use of Polish or British cultures and ways of thinking in my work, my experience of interacting with people from various countries has proved to be very useful at various points in my career. While I had absolutely no knowledge about the Japanese culture to start with, my experience of plunging into it from an early age may have helped me to develop a relatively flexible attitude towards foreign cultures.
One of my jobs is to support staff at foreign sales companies, and I'm always delighted when local people in charge express their gratitude to me for being helpful to them. I currently work at Sony City Osaki with people who were actually involved in the planning and designing of the products, so I can actually speak to them directly. That puts me in a unique position to obtain product information and inside stories. The people in charge overseas are delighted when I can pass on this information to them. Another important job of mine is to serve as a skilful conduit so that people from foreign sales companies can understand head office business policies. I think the main point is that I can make the most of my strengths because I know the cultural differences between Japan and overseas. I feel the job of acting as a bridge between the people who make the products in Japan and the people who sell them overseas is truly worthwhile.
The people working at Sony are really varied. It is not just their country of origin, but even more the fact that they all have so many different ways of thinking. Since this is normal in daily operations as well as the working environment, experience different divisions and handle a wide variety of products, not just in one country. Instead of limiting myself to belonging to one department or handling just a few products, I want to take up new challenges to find out just how much more I can do. I think this is possible with Sony because there are various people working here and it makes so many different products.