eftax Corporate Planning Department ｜ Haruki Morikawa
I am in charge of team management and the client counterparts in entrusted system development projects.
My responsibility is to talk to the person in charge of the Japanese company, our client and define their requirements. It requires me to understand and reconcile the business-side needs and the plan of the engineer. These reconciled requirements are then broken down into tasks for each team member so that the overall progress of the project can be managed.
I often work on projects remotely with overseas engineers and designers. Thus, it is necessary to create an environment where members can concentrate on actual work. That’s why communication planning and task assignment are important jobs for me.
I am also collaborating with Japanese interns and overseas members to run ‘SUGEE Kansai’, which supports overseas highly-skilled digital professionals to work and start their businesses in Japan.
I got to know the eftax’s representative director, Mr. Nakai, through extracurricular activity during my university days. One day, he invited me to join his new service team, saying, “I want to develop services for overseas highly-skilled digital human resources and entrepreneurs. Shall we work together?”
I have been interested in foreign cultures and working globally since I was a kid. When I was in university, I belonged to a non-profit organization that introduced overseas students to Japanese companies. I was engaged in activities that connected Japanese companies with students from all over the world, supporting them through interviews.
Working globally has always been a dream of mine, and I also had the desire to test my abilities in society while I was still a student. I was active in NPOs, but I could not be fully satisfied with these activities because, as a student, my responsibilities were limited. Hence, I felt working at eftax as an intern was an attractive opportunity for me to test my abilities in society while I was still a student.
As soon as I started my internship, I started working with people from various countries, including Indonesian employees living in Japan and Thai, Turkish, and Brazilian employees participating remotely. Their occupations were also different, ranging from designers, engineers, project managers to marketers and many more. Through working with them, I was able to experience diverse working styles.
During my internship, I started a new service called ‘SUGEE Kansai’, an overseas human resource support service, which is still in operation today. By developing this service, I acquired knowledge of the service planning process, website development, operations, and management.
I majored in literature at the university, and previously, all I could do with the computer was using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint for my classes. Of course, my knowledge of IT was questionable when I started working at eftax. But through my work, I could learn how to develop with WordPress, HTML, CSS, GitHub, ReactJS, and acquired other technical knowledge.
In addition to SUGEE Kansai, I was involved in several new projects. I went on a business trip to Indonesia to launch an offshore development support service. These projects gave me amazing motivations.
There is frankness in the diverse team of eftax, and in a good sense, the members do not care about seniority or one’s position. Also, eftax is constantly changing, and there are always new challenges somewhere. I was attracted to this corporate environment, which made me want to join the company.
I easily get bored of things. When I was a university student, I changed my part-time job about ten times. But with eftax, I felt that I could do many things without getting bored.
Since I was able to communicate with the clients and perform practical work during my internship, I also gained a new perspective: how it is important in the future to be able to utilize IT and data science in one’s daily work. Being able to learn this on the front line was one of the deciding factors for my joining eftax.
I mainly work on bridge project management work for entrusted system development projects, and I usually work remotely with overseas engineers and designers. In a sense, I could say that “I work in a global environment,” which is something I had wished for since I was a student.
I am also involved in several other in-house services, but I am almost always the only Japanese person on each team. Since we are working with many foreign members, the official language of the company is English, and Japanese is hardly used. One of the benefits of communicating in this way is that we can talk with each other frankly. Communicating in Japanese could sometimes be stressful, as there are detailed grammatical and communication styles and norms and keigo form to express different levels of politeness.
I often work on unprecedented things within the company, and I am constantly searching for the best way to do things by myself without textbooks or guidance. In retrospect, I kept stumbling over things that I feel now I could have avoided. However, I feel that the process of learning by reading and from external examples and establishing a method from scratch is worthwhile.
What I like about working in eftax is the wide range of responsibilities each member has. You have to find your way from 1 to 100 toward the goal and move the project forward. In order to do this, you need to learn and establish your own workflow and work style. I believe eftax is a comfortable environment for people with an inquisitive mind and those who want to do things their own way.
Also, even if you cannot program advanced technology by yourself, being able to think of how it can be used in business and daily life is an essential skill for everyone in the future. It is an advantage for everyone to get involved in the advanced technical field, learn what we can do with it, and how it can be applied in various situations in our life.
Besides, as we are required to work independently, our ideas and suggestions are welcomed and supported by the company. I feel that this is a great environment for a young person like me since we get to be told, “That’s a good idea, let’s do it!” regardless of our position.
I have been good at English tests since I was a student, probably due to the influence of my father, who traveled overseas for business, and my mother, who taught English conversation classes. The local library, which I used to go to every Saturday when I was a kid, helped me too. The shelves located close to the entrance was a section for translated foreign literature. I remember that the “Sherlock Holmes” series were the first books I came across when I entered the library. I read most of the books on those shelves.
My love for foreign literature led me to major in English and American literature at the university. I was fascinated by the theatrical genre of musicals. In the process of serious exploration in my study, I gained the experience of setting my own agenda and finding my own path, which is probably similar to the way I work now.
Outside of the university, I spent my time on activities outside of Japan, such as working as a live-in worker at an orphanage in Nepal.
As can be seen, I have had some experience using English, such as interacting with people overseas and writing dissertations in English. However, when I first started working in eftax as an intern, I was not very good at speaking and communicating in English in business situations. I often found myself shying away from discussions.
Currently, 80 to 90% of the language used in meetings and internal Slack of eftax is English, and I feel comfortable with it. Not only “speaking” and “listening,” but also dealing with relationships with other people and how to proceed with things with a global mindset――I believe I took these steps because communication and making decisions in English have become a part of my daily life.
It is also interesting to work with interns and freelancers worldwide participating in our company’s short- or long-term projects. My global connection is becoming bigger as our company grows. By just comparing our lunches, you can find something interesting about each culture (laughs). I think one of the advantages of working in an English standard is that I can work with these people without any barriers.
Although we are a small company, we have many unique people. Some are veterans with rich social experience, while others are interns, university students, international students, and foreign employees. We also have a variety of work styles to fit the various backgrounds of our employees, such as employees working part-time or working 100% remotely. I basically work remotely, but when I go to the office sometimes, I can hear many different languages. We have such a wide diversity of people, and in a good way, we don’t care about others too much. That’s why I feel that eftax is an inclusive environment where each individual’s personality is recognized and respected.
eftax is a very practical place to work where you can be entrusted with a project from start to finish according to your abilities. We have many internship students actively contributing to the company and society. I myself feel that my internship at eftax was an important learning experience for working as a member of society. You can learn and gain practical experience that you cannot get just by studying at a university. If you are interested in starting an internship with us, we welcome your application.