Corporate culture, revisited

About half a year ago, I wrote about corporate culture; in some companies like Toyota, different teams share a system, and I wondered whether those engineers communicate well unlike typical engineers, or someone established a system so that they can share information without willing to communicate with others. In another previous post, a few weeks ago, I wrote about customs; I wondered why Toyota style activities to improve manufacturing processes are called kaizen, which originally only means “improvement”. I wondered why plant workers are not considered to be “users”. Recently I had a good experience to have a glimpse of Toyota corporate culture. It adequately answered my questions.

A senior Japanese engineer was providing a seminar to Canadian supervisors about improving manufacturing processes in the Toyota style, and practiced it with Japanese engineers to see how it would work. He generously invited me to the practice session. In the seminar, he uses Lego blocks to play a “game” in order to show how different manufacturing processes bring different results, which is impressive and way more efficient than giving a lecture. To make a long story short, once a sophisticated system is established to run manufacturing processes efficiently, plant workers only need to focus on their section with one condition, which is to think of the people of the subsequent section. In that system, the entire manufacturing process runs smoothly and efficiently even though workers in every section do not have a big picture. Once a sophisticated system is established by someone smart, they only need to think of the workers of the subsequent section as “users of their interim products”. Isn’t this great?

Of course this is easy to say, so hard to do. A fact is that some people actually do it, which makes their company outstanding. This fact is discouraging in a way because the company I work for now is very different from them. On the other hand, it is very encouraging because it tells me that what I wondered and imagined can be reality.

June 22, 2013Permalink

Job interview

I had a job interview yesterday. Why do I write about it today? Because I was exhausted yesterday. It was not because I drove to Missisauga and came back during the rush hour. The interviewer asked many tough questions, and I answered all questions smoothly. Time flew. I thought it was about half an hour, but it was actually nearly one hour. When I left the office building, I found I was exhausted. Luckily I drove home safely.

I can say the interview went well. Can I relax now? No. They just started a hiring process, and will have interviews with some other candidates, and will contact me around the end of this month or the beginning of next month if I can proceed to the next step. I will have a few more anxious weeks. Probably other candidates will feel the same.

Through the interview, I have found some things about me. First of all, I did not know I could talk that much confidently in English during a job interview. When I had an interview to get the current job, I had an interview with a Japanese manager and briefly talked with a Canadian HR manager to show my English speaking skill. Yesterday’s interview was my first “serious” face-to-face job interview in English. I know my confidence comes from my experiences. Whatever question the interviewer asked, I looked for a real example from a wide variety of experiences. My experience at the Faculty of Environmental Design helped me a lot, too. Professors there love to ask harsh questions, and I had been trained by them. The interviewer’s questions were tough but not as harsh as the EVDS professors’ questions. Another contributing factor is this blog. Of course there is a big difference between written expressions and oral communication, but it helps me to organize my thoughts and prepare for expressing them.

I hope I will not need to have a job interview with other companies. But I may need to, and now I should think how I can improve my oral communication skill. Yesterday’s interview was “good”, but could have been better for sure. For now, I hope the few anxious weeks will pass by fast.

June 12, 2013Permalink

Different perspective, another case

Why are many people afraid of ghost? Why do they think a graveyard is a scary place?

Since my early childhood, I have felt supernatural beings at home. When I talk about it, like hearing footsteps from an empty room which happened to be my bedroom, many people are scared. But it was just natural for me. Because I, my mom and brother felt it but my dad didn’t, we assume it is my mom’s ancestor. Now I often see “something” away from home, something that is not a creature of “this” world. It looks like the thing that I saw at home, and when I see it, I feel safe; it is something I am familiar with. I don’t know if it is a supernatural being or a type of “ghost”, but it does not matter. Even if it is a kind of ghost, good people may become ghost after their death, and we don’t have to be scared of every ghost. But I know this is difficult for many people to understand.

Graveyard for me has been a place where relatives get together to meet our ancestors. It is still connected with the memory of my grandma; I used to visit there with her, and now I visit there to meet her. Every grave should be like that for other people, and I have no reason to be scared of other people’s ancestors’ grave.

Now I work night shift and often drive by a graveyard when it is dark. At night, a candle or something (LED?) is lit at many graves, and it looks beautiful to me. But some people say it is scary. Whether it is a candle or a ghost, it does not matter to me. But people have different perspectives.

As I wrote in a previous post about different perspectives, I want to retain the sensibility no matter what happens to me. Many people are instinctively afraid of darkness. But, I guess, many people are scared of ghost and graveyard partially because people in the past have created a scary image of them. Whatever it is, I want to retain non-biased perspective.

June 3, 2013Permalink