Receiving energy from the people I meet creates new excitement

Receiving energy from the people I meet creates new excitement

Mariko Kimura
Sony Music Labels Inc.

My boss told me that this job was "a passionate game of Telephone"

In my university days, I spent most of my spare time as a part timer at a radio program production company. Promoters from various record companies visited the production studios, including several from Sony Music. I always thought that I would love to join a company where people like that worked, so I applied to Sony Music when I started looking for a job. That said, I thought that the work of a promoter would be difficult for me at such an early stage of my career because it seemed to be so busy. As a result, I sought work in artist management without really understanding what the job involved.

In the end, however, I was hired as a promoter, and assigned to the Promotion Department. The work of a promoter was indeed hectic, as I spent my time rushing around from one media company to another carrying record samples and materials. I even went so far as to prepare and distribute handwritten leaflets to ensure I attracted just a little more attention. I gradually developed relationships with the people in charge, and felt a great sense of achievement when magazine placements were done or songs were played on the radio. On one occasion, my boss told me that "This job is a passionate game of telephone." A promoter's work involves persuading as many people as possible in the media that they want to listen to good music. Conveying the excitement of listening to a particular song for the first time to many people and experiencing first-hand its spread around the world is the moment when this job seemed worthwhile. When friends told me that they loved listening to a certain recent song, I felt at the bottom of my heart that everything was worthwhile despite the hard work.

Creating new excitement together with the artists

I transferred to the Production Department after 13 years in the Promotion Department. As the name suggests, the Production Department produces overall musical activities for artists, including sound source production and developing promotion strategies. The most rewarding aspect of the job is cooperating face-to-face with artists to create new works while occasionally sparring with them. Even the same artists compose different works each time, which means that production never involves the same things twice. I worked in the Production Department for over 10 years, but one of its main attractions was that I encounter different new types of excitement every day.

Now that I am in a management position, I have fewer opportunities to get involved in detailed matters directly, but I am still invited to meetings where ideas are presented and discussed. From my managerial position, I am always aware of the importance of communications. I do everything possible to reach out to my staff to ascertain whether they are in good shape or bad. Since quite a few staff have recently taken up new jobs, I try to discover their strong points and areas of expertise, and endeavor to ensure they can make the most of them. If anything, however, I learn a great deal myself from the knowledge and stimulation provided by the people around me, leaving me with the impression that they are actually helping me grow.

Record companies, offices and artists work together to send their music out to the world

Even since I became a mother, I have put everything into the work I want to do

In my private life, I married a colleague ten years ago. We were soon blessed with a child, and I was able to take seven months' childcare leave. It turned out that I felt lonely being separated from my work, and found myself wanting to speak with my colleagues and even made contact with them during my childcare leave.

When I returned to work, I was once again assigned to the Production Department. I was offered the option of moving to another department or working shorter hours, but I wanted to work in the same environment as before if possible. To do this, an environment that would provide childcare support was essential. I therefore started the search for capable babysitters before I returned to work. Right up to the last minute, I interviewed several babysitters, and managed to select someone to whom I could entrust my child without any worries. Initially, I was anxious about leaving my child with someone else, but I now believe it provided a great opportunity for my child to come into contact with people other than family members. It is quite difficult to find time to spend with my child because the nature of my work means I often get home quite late, so I greatly value the times we spend together on weekday mornings and holidays.

I use notes for maintaining close communication with our babysitters. I can relax when I understand what my child is doing every day

Empowered by the energy of my work and people, I confronted illness

Five years ago, the physical check-up I received at the company revealed that I had breast cancer. As might be expected, I took two weeks' holiday because I had to have an operation. I wrongly assumed that treatment would end after my operation, but on the recommendation of my doctor, I decided to undergo chemotherapy. The side effects of the anticancer drugs made me feel nauseous from time to time, but I continued working. For most of the time I felt pretty well, perhaps because work took my mind off my illness. Looking back, I suspect that I was able to confront the illness because of my desire to continue working.

I constantly feel that coming into contact with people through my work provides me with energy. I believe the energy I received from the many people through my work provided me with the support needed to battle my illness.

I am grateful for respecting my willingness to work continually

Various types of employees work at Sony Music, and I get the impression that the company values each and every one of them. I believe the identity engendered by respect for various styles of work and living provides the driving force that creates entertainment. Working is the most agreeable lifestyle for me. When I learned I was pregnant or discovered I had breast cancer, it never occurred to me to give up work. I am extremely grateful for the fact that I have been able to continue working despite my situation.

I love the gemba(site) and have been managing it with the feeling that I would work at Gemba for a lifetime. However, the times are changing dramatically. Looking ahead, I think we have to change our ways of thinking and the angles from which we look at things, but the starting point remains the fact that we must communicate everything with passion. Even though the things that we have to communicate are becoming increasingly diverse, I want to continue my work of producing many of the exciting things that people create. I will be happy when I look back five or ten years from now if I can pass the time remembering that I did everything I could to complete what I wanted to do.

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