Paul Goldsmith

Paul GoldsmithOccupation:
Computer / Human Resources Consultant, Panache Corp.
Time in Japan:
7 years

I came here for the first time twelve years ago on very short notice. The British company I was working for said, "Go to Japan!" My response : where' Japan? They needed a native English speaker to set up marketing and human resources and I was the forward guard who came to help. Once the project was complete, I left Japan but I found, as many people do, that I had come to love it. When I returned again in 1987 for an American company, I ended up staying beyond my contract and I started my own company, Panache Corporation.

In Japan, I saw a clear opportunity. Since computing here is slightly behind that in the West, there was a niche to be carved from the bigger temporary agencies by supporting Japanese and foreign companies with specialist temporary staff. Advertising agencies and design companies are a large part of our business and I wanted them to gather employees they wouldn't have otherwise thought of hiring. A Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, for example, would typically require most companies to train someone in how to do it, but instead we supply highly-trained and specialized staff, many of which are bilingual Japanese.

For the foreseeable future my company is in two growth areas. With economic conditions improving, companies will use temps in a way they never did before. And the computer industry is almost recession-proof. The Ministry of Labor has been extremely supportive of what we're trying to do here. Still, I may be the only foreign President of a temporary staffing company here in Tokyo.

I work most every day of the week for 12-14 hours but I try to take Sunday off every now and then. I have a winter hobby and a summer hobby : skiing and off-road motorbiking. I love both because when you're doing them you have to concentrate completely on what you're doing ; it's a refreshing break from work. In Europe, if my friends want to go skiing, they have to go for an entire week but here I have the flexibility to get away for an odd weekend. I really like that aspect of life in Tokyo.

I like Tokyo especially, because even as a businessman I can go to art events and meet all sorts of creative people, and although I'm wearing a suit no one treats you like an imposter or an interloper ; you're just interested. I really enjoy being here and I plan to be around for a long time.

Info. Panache 5489-7633.

Paul spoke with Vincent Szopa.

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