Otsuka People Talk

June 2017

Headquarters of Clinical Development Office of Project Management

Work is not about whether you are a mom, or whether you are male or female. It is about doing the work that you think is best given your current circumstances.

An interview with a mom who went to work in America with a two-year-old child, had another child, and has now returned to Japan.

Meaningful work that benefits society

I currently manage the schedules and budgets of clinical trials. My workday starts at 8.30am and ends at 5pm; these are family working hours, unlike normal working hours which are from 9am to 5.30pm.
When job-hunting I knew that I wanted to do something that would benefit both society and the company that I worked for. At that time, many of the Otsuka employees who I spoke to talked about the freedom the company gives you, and how employees were given the chance to try new things. These points helped me decide that this was the company for me.

Working in America with a two-year-old child

My child was two when I was given the opportunity to work at an American subsidiary. As a female employee with a young child, I was surprised to be offered this chance to work abroad, but was encouraged by my colleagues to consider taking it if I thought I could. This experience confirmed for me that the company does indeed offer opportunities equally. Before entering Otsuka I'd attended graduate school in America, and had always wanted to try working outside of Japan, so I was delighted to accept the offer and head back to the States.

I think that it's difficult to be a working parent, no matter where you are living. Having said that, America makes more provisions for working moms compared to Japan; for example, each office had a nursing room. Also, most people commute by car, so it is easier to drop off and pick up children from nursery than it is in Japan, where you have to deal with crowded trains.
Around half of the people in the group I work in are women. It's a comfortable environment to work in because there is a good level of understanding of the needs of working moms, and everyone's differing working styles.

Setting priorities at work

There are only 24 hours in a day, so there is a limit to how much one person can do. I think it is important to prioritize the work that you need to do, and to make sure that you tell other people when you are struggling, as they may be able to help.

First time moms will always worry about a lot of things, but worrying too much just wears you out and ultimately makes life more difficult. I hope other new moms will be able to have a more relaxed attitude and feel confident that everything will work out okay somehow. When I had my first child there were very few moms with young children in my department-perhaps only two or three of us. At the time, we tried our best to meet up regularly, exchange information and reach out to pregnant women and moms who had just returned to work. However, now there are a lot of working moms, so there is more consideration given to creating a good environment for both pregnant women and women with young children. If you're on the fence, I would advise you to go for it, have a baby, become a mom, and everything will work out somehow!

Considering how to be most effective

Everyone has other things going on in their lives outside of work. I believe that it's important not to focus on whether you are a mom, married, male or female, and instead think about what you can do to make it possible to be the most effective in your work. That's what I try to do: think about how I can work to the best of my abilities given my current situation.

The project I am currently in charge of is a crucial one for the company, and I am grateful that it was assigned to me. The most important part of my job as a project manager is to make sure that the clinical trials proceed according to schedule, so my main goal at the moment is to make sure the trials start and finish on time, and achieve good results.