What did I do?
Healthy Tokyo K.K. is the first and only membership community dedicated to enhancing the health and wellness of English speakers in Japan. We do this by providing real-time support and appointments to any of our partnered medical facilities. As well as having a shop full of products dedicated to health and wellness, we keep an up to date blog to inform all readers of any beneficial news related to our business. We operate from Tokyo and have partners all over Japan. We are dedicated to helping anyone needing our services regardless of where they reside. This is a start-up company which has many implications in terms of the dynamic of the business but also the relationship between colleagues.
My daily routine
My life as a placement student was relatively straightforward. Although the working culture of Japan would usually expect workers, especially interns, to work late after their superiors leave to clean up and finish their tasks I worked five days a week from 9 to 6 with a 30 min to 1-hour break for lunch (a benefit of a start-up company). Having said that, a start-up can be very volatile and with a small team you can be relaxing, updating posts on the blog one minute and the next minute having to manage logistics for half a dozen new products from new business ventures coming in that we want to add to our site, the faster the better.
As an intern, I expected relatively low responsibility, however, when there was work to be done I was the first they relied on. For the most part, I was a fully fledged member of the team. I firmly believe they took my opinions to heart and listened to what I had to say. Something that could be hard to accomplish in a large company with a well-defined hierarchy. Another benefit of a small start up company is that the atmosphere is very casual. Coming in wearing a business suit on my first day, when everyone else was in jeans and t-shirts was a bit… well, unexpected. As for the work I did, it included a multitude of things, although I primarily did marketing related tasks (my degree) but with only five members on the team we had to help each other in every way we could.
The main challenge I faced was when one of the five members of our company left without any notice, the volatility of a small company at play. Finding a replacement to hire was not easy. I took it upon myself to offer my services in any way I could. This increased my workload tremendously but with it my sense of accomplishment at work.
My main achievements include my adaptability in new situations which was invaluable when faced with new tasks on a daily basis. I was also able to put some of my hobbies to use, which I did not expect. For example, after a failed attempt at hiring someone to do some graphic design work for us, I used my limited knowledge of Photoshop to, in the words of my boss “do a better job” than who they had originally hired, and for no extra cost to them. All future design work became part of my responsibility as a result.
I have learned a lot from my placement year and would recommend anyone to do this if they get the opportunity.
Find out more about BA in Marketing and Management with a placement year at Durham University.
Learn more about Durhan University Business School.