The deadly side of job hunting

Regarding Tomoko Otake’s Oct. 18 article, “Job hunt stressing students, making them suicidal (poll)“: Is that true? It is beyond tragic that an estimated 149 young people in their early 20s took their own lives because of job-hunting frustrations.

Where are the counselors, psychologists, the employment agency job-hunting experts and the professors who should be there to support and advise any young person standing on the threshold of his or her adult life?

Job hunting can indeed be frustrating, but it should never trigger thoughts of suicide. It’s deeply troubling that [one in five college students in a survey of 122 students contemplate suicide during the job-hunting process] and that students say they “have a strong distrust of firms in Japan and Japanese society overall.”

No one should have to put up with anything to hold onto a job. With a declining birthrate and a shrinking pool of young workers, Japanese corporations and companies should be doing all they can to promote trust and understanding among new employees. The labor pool is going to get very shallow in the next 20 to 30 years when it comes to younger employees.

I would advise any young job seeker to accept rejection as a part of one’s life experience and not take it too harshly. Flexibility in career exploration should be the new law of the jungle. Allow younger employees to seek alternative opportunities if their initial employment offers prove to be less than fulfilling.

Young people tend to know very little about the grind of a “regular” job. Matching the right person to the right job would make Japan’s economy more productive and reduce considerable stress in the workplace.

Make job hunting an adventure, not an ordeal. There are far worse things in life than not having the ideal job.

Certainly younger workers today in Japan have 21st-century expectations about their place in a company and their rights as employees. The old farts running these highly distrusted firms had better pay attention to such discontent.

Hopefully many of these young people will eventually start their own businesses and become independent entrepreneurs.

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.