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November 24, 2006



I'm pretty much on my 3rd chance right now, having opted out of the standard career path on two occasions. I'd say Australia, which I think prides itself on being egalitarian (a 'fair go' is how we put it), is about as far from Japan in this respect as it could be. Ironically my employer here, Toyota Australia, is a prime example of giving people a 'fair go' within the employment system. A female coleague ho joined at the same time as I did (the first time around in 99 - she was just 21), and who I then worked with for my first 3 years before I went overseas, is now at the same middle management level as I, and this is someone who left school at 16 and had only completed a kind of womens college course where they actually taught 'deportment' - whatever that is (books on heads I think). Nevertheless she was intelligent, logical and dedicated to work, and while I was away for 4 years was able to work her way up to marketing manager. Many of the big bosses here lack a formal education of the type I've had, and although it's less common nowadays, my colleague and I show that neither a formal education nor a typical career path are entirely essential in this country. I imagine this type of story would be unheard of in Japan. How do you think America would compare on this point?


Oops, the word 'ho' was meant to be 'who' - don't want anyone to get the wrong idea.


Hmm I always thought of America as the place where anyone can succeed and where people can many second acts and second chances. Bill gates dropped out of Harvard to start his college-many of America's most wealthiest are from humble backgrounds rather than from privileged upbringings-however Bill gates isn't one of them-but there are a lot. It seems to me England used to be like Japan that if you didn't get into the university prep courses you were doomed to servile blue collar jobs .

It's my point about older more experienced students can be seen in Community College and University classrooms and they are more motivated than most of the college kids because they aren't trying find themselves or partying what ever they are focused. Most people would see living abroad or trying something else before university a good thing -in Japan you are punished for it. I went to junior college before transferring to the main public university in my state. (Mainly to save money but also because I didn't apply to mare than one college and decided not to go there). I felt that I was more motivated than a lot of my friends since I had to work harder to get in, so I wanted to make the most of it once I was there.

One of my most interesting student took a year off and worked and traveled the world before enrolling in college. He was upset at how passive and unmotivated his classmates were. Here it's much harder to work outside the system, and be rewarded in a conventional way.


Yes, I think England's a bit closer to Japan in this way - it's simply more conservative, and so if you try and go outside the system then I think people are less likely to accept you. Mind you, this is based on my limited experience there as an adult.

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