15 May 2007

after half a year

Just six months have passed since I started working for the current practice. I think it is fantastic that I could continue till now having got the work permit smoothly. I can also recognise some of my own improvement. However, I must admit that it is far behind from the extent that I’ve expected at the beginning.

When I started, I was planning to have a review with my bosses and ask them to raise my salary after three month or so when I realise it is time. But, the time is yet to come. I’m still working with a salary for the ones at around 25 years old. I myself still can’t think that I’m contributing more than that. I might be doing better than I’m realising in every bit of work with my ‘confident’ experiences, especially technically. But, at least my contribution is not recognisable.

So, what is a problem? It is apparent. I don’t really want to say this again and again, but the problem is literally my communication skill. It was much harder than I thought. Without beating this, I wouldn’t be able to go further ahead. Moreover, due to the lack of confidence in my English skill I still seem to be feeling inferior to others. I think Japanese people latently have inferiority to European people. Even some Japanese residents in London use the word ‘Gaijin’, meaning foreigner, to any non-Japanese people. I would say to them “Oi, it’s you Gaijin!” The word ‘Gaijin’ often means only Europeans, but not Indian nor Chinese. Anyway, I still haven’t managed to take that kind of feeling out of myself after all. Nobody in the office would think I am 38.

Last Friday, I heard shocking news. One of my colleagues has become a new associate. In an architectural practice, this is the common name for senior project architects. I knew she has been doing very well, but I was so surprised as she is still in her early 30’s, which is very young as an associate. I am, in fact, a bit interested in her. I was not only disappointed with the huge difference between us but also felt like she’s gone too far away from me.

I don’t mean my communication skill hasn’t changed at all. Though this is not only by the improvement of my English, now I’m basically relaxed at the office – I used to be very nervous at the beginning. I think this is the best improvement of me so far. I believe I’ve been making most possible efforts for this, like attending the office’s social events as possible - drink, dinner, film outing, tennis, cricket, and even snowball fight! This English blog is of course one of my efforts.

It seems the only thing I can do for my English is to continue. But, at the same time, it seems there’s more I can do as a part of my communication development. It is unclear, but I may need to think about ‘dignity’, particularly as a Japanese. The goal of my stay in England, to work as a project architect, has never been changed. Next time, after another six months, what would I be able to write here?

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