Welcome to another Japanese word of the day entry. Today’s word is a bit more straightforward considering the time of year, spring! But, that’s not the word we are learning(春/はる/haru - if you’re curious). Contrary to the west, the fiscal year in Japan starts in April; which also marks the hiring season. Around this time you will see scores of new graduates traveling from company to company, interviewing for a job they probably don’t have an interest in, to spend the rest of their lives at a company that will probably treat them like trash. We call this activity, 就活/しゅうかつ/shūkatsu. Ok, so maybe I’m a little pessimistic about that. To be fair, not all companies are like that...just...most. My friends are welcome to refute my claim and share their own experiences below.
Anyway, what is 就活/shūkatsu?
Shūkatsu simply means “job hunting”. And job hunting in Japan is a grueling undertaking. Ideally most people would have a job lined up before they graduate, similar to the west. Others that may not be so lucky, are forced to continue their search well after graduation(in March), until they land their “first” and, in some cases, “last” job. Most companies typically find the talent they are looking for by mid May. Others straggle on until June. The very latest I’ve ever heard anyone being hired is in August, but at that point, you’re scratching the bottom of the barrel for companies that hire with benefits and decent pay. More often than not you may have to consider waiting for the very next hiring season. And since most Japanese people live with their parents, seemingly forever, this is very doable but maybe ill-advised. I’m not sure what’s considered worse, not working for a year and having a gap on your resume, or only working for a year to change jobs later. It’s probably the latter. Regardless, good luck to all the folks doing their 就活 this year! I hope you get hired by the company you truly want.
That’s all for today, what was your first job? Would you consider working at the same company for the rest of your life? Feel free to leave a comment and share.
Until next time,