Keiko Fukuzawa’s Career Counseling

Ms. Fukuzawa provides career support and information not only to female college graduates freshly out of universities, but for women of all ages who are contemplating about changing jobs. If you would like to challenge a new career or restart your career, feel free to request a consultation. Your age and career background will not be mentioned.
The following is a message sent to Ms. Fukuzawa for consultation on February 21, 2012:

File #5: “The company doesn’t give female employees a chance to exert their skills and abilities, but the pay and benefits are good.”
The company I work for is a well-known large corporation in this region, but there is only 1 female in the managerial position, and of course, there is none on the board of directors. Women around me are not very concern about male dominancy in the workplace and the men in my company say, “Women prefer general office work and do not wish to have a management position.” I realize there are some women like that, but the overall stance of the company tends to limit the range of women’s work in general. There are women who are changing their work mentality to accept their role of “supporting men’s jobs.”
The other day, I expressed to my boss (a male in his 50’s) that I would like to have a more responsible job requiring overseas business trips. His response was, “Women’s job is to stay home and protect the family, and the chance for them to work under the same condition as men in our company is almost nil. Company is not a place for you to realize your desires.”
I have lived in the U.S. for 7 years, graduated from an American university, and have a score of 980 on TOEIC test, but these skills are completely wasted. My boss says I should change jobs if I want to realize my desires, but I am satisfied with my salary, I am married and I do not want to consider changing jobs. My feeling is to have a sense of job fulfillment. What shall I do?


It sounds typical of managers working for big corporations, but I’m surprised because not many companies these days can spare to “waste good human resources”. Also, since you are “satisfied” with your salary, you must be whizzing through your work without challenges and satisfaction.
In this case, why don’t you consider making a drastic choice? For instance, which would you choose – “a job that’s challenging and give you satisfaction with little pay” or “unchallenging job that gives you satisfied income”? You mentioned that you are not considering changing jobs, which means your choice is the latter. If so, the realistic solution for now is “not to pursue challenges through work”. If you don’t need to exert 100% of your time and energy into you work, you will have plenty of them for studies and human networking, wouldn’t you?
Your boss will someday leave his position, and when he does, that’s the time you can show your ability which you had built over the years. Why not start preparing for that day. You can sign up for some courses to learn something or acquire qualifications or assist colleagues at the office who is doing the type of work you are interested in doing. (You may not be able to go abroad on business, but volunteering to assist someone in that position may give you some satisfaction.)            

Most jobs in this time and age are, “challenging, but with low pay” or “unchallenging and with low pay”. At least your work situation of having “unchallenging job, but with satisfied pay” is actually quite fortunate. You can be saving up your money and learning new skills to prepare yourself for the future. Perhaps when you are in your mid-forties and if the company stance still remain the same, you have an option to use your acquired skills and knowledge to start your own business with the money saved up. In any case, I highly recommend that you save up your money for your future endeavor!


Keiko Fukuzawa – Journalist, Guest Professor at Showa Women’s University in “Career Development Theory”
While an undergrad in Waseda University’s Economic Department, created and published with other female students, career information magazine called “Our Career Notes.” After graduating, entered Asahi Newspaper as a journalist, and in 1990 became a freelance journalist. With “Women and Work” as the main theme, Fukuzawa published and lectured on how to find jobs, start up businesses, and provide career support. In 1998, she established Tact Planning with columnist, Maki Fukazawa.

2003~    Associate Professor at Tokyo Home Economic University’s Human/Culture    Research Institute

2007~   Guest Professor at Japan Women’s University

2010~   Guest Professor at Showa Women’s University in “Career Development Theory”

2011~   Executive Director of NPO Women Labor Association
Her specialized field, “Women and Career” counseling, ranges from finding jobs for freshly-out-of-college - to re-entering the workplace after a break (for child-rearing) - to finding a second career after retirement in something different from the first one.

http://wan.or.jp/help/career/       Online Counseling in Japanese only

Translated and adapted by M. Doioka

Above Career Counseling and Counseling for the Heart is part of Help WAN program which provides women with free online counseling, unfortunately, in Japanese only at this time.
Another online counseling offered is Legal Counseling which has not been translated. In addition, there are lists of Women’s Center, Feminist Counselors, and Lawyers which are listed according to the regions in Japan.

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