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Grant Habgood

Managing Director
SThree Japan

Date of birth: Jan. 1, 1982

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 15 (as of July 2019)

Grant Habgood
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

My first exposure to Japanese culture was through homestay students who stayed in my family home growing up. I subsequently joined a school trip in high school to Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka; that’s when I gained a deeper interest in the country and culture.
I was never an anime fan but would listen to J-pop and try my best reading novels by Natsume Soseki and Haruki Murakami.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” That quote has always resonated with me. No matter the industry there are a lot of variables that are out of one’s control and can block the path to success. However, in my experience, you can put the probabilities to succeed in your favor through hard work and perseverance.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

It’s still a work in progress, but I’m proud of the people working in my current company and their passion they display in the process of delivering their services. I genuinely believe we are building a best in class business. We call it “Bringing skilled people together to build the future.”

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

My goals have been changing and evolving as my time goes on in Japan. When I first got here it was to pass level N1 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. I settled for N2 and changed my focus to professional goals. Nowadays my goal is to “Make my team famous.” You’ll have to ask me what I mean by that.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Stay positive, focus on the positives and accept that Japan is different. On occasion I hear “Japan bashing” in the expat community, when I do I feel it doesn’t lead to any productive outcomes.
Archaic working environments, social attitudes toward foreigners, women and the LGBT community aren’t changing in a hurry, which is frustrating. Putting it all into perspective though and considering how deeply ingrained attitudes are, it’s good to see some progress, albeit slow.

Last updated: Jul 1, 2019