Annie Chang

Georges HassamOccupation:
President/Computer training...
Time in Japan:
16 years

I came to Japan sixteen years ago from Taiwan for adventure, but mostly to expand my abilities. Work-wise, I didn' have too many options, since I could neither speak Japanese nor English. I faced a tremendous amount of difficulties, especially in the beginning particularly as an Asian woman but I reminded myself that my efforts were bound to pay off eventually. Because it was difficult for me, I worked much harder than many others and became a stronger person. Obviously, life in Japan for foreigners can vary vastly, but I believe that basically, it's what you make of it.

I came here by myself, not speaking the language or knowing anyone, and my primary concern was survival. I worked long hours for this, and then as different opportunities presented themselves, I learned to move on. I've found through the years that there are lots of great opportunities out there; it's just a matter of seizing them, knowing what you want, and focusing.

Everybody has a hidden talent. I was able to explore mine, as I had aimed to do, much more effectively by coming to Japan. When you arrive in a foreign country the way I did, you're forced to inspect yourself for any hidden capabilities that can help you survive. I made sure I grabbed whatever opportunity that appealed to me, and fortunately they came at the right times.

To prove my point, when I arrived in Japan, I was not a "computer person." I was a junior high school teacher in Taiwan, with no technical background. My involvement in this computer-related industry began when I took a part-time job in a computer store. During that period, I saw the rapid growth of the technology, and the fact that I had to learn quickly and constantly attracted me.

After working for a Japanese company for eight years where I had no freedom, facing many difficulties and being treated with disrespect like a Japanese woman, I decided that I wanted to start my own business. My founding a computer training and recruitment consultancy eight years ago is the product of all the opportunities I took and my experience as an educator combined. Education is still close to my heart, and that's why one of our services at AC Solutions is computer training.

Having said that, though, I also learned to enjoy life here. I was able to meet many interesting people with many distinct backgrounds. I like the way you can find all sorts of people congregating in one restaurant or bar in Tokyo. This opens up a lot of opportunities for learning.

Now, with my company, I am able to be on the giving end of opportunities. I enjoy my job very much, because I can educate people, open up doors for them, and at the same time help companies define their needs. I see myself as a sort of matchmaker, finding the right match and making both parties happy.

Annie Chang spoke to Chang-Ran Kim (Chan!)

Info: AC Solutions Ltd. Tel: 3588-0831/ Fax: 3588-6310

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