第33 Work Abroad Interview with Security Engineer Niall Ireland Japan

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email: leonardo.martin@pm.me

Transcript

welcome to this new episode of work on and abroad today I am with Neil that is a security in software engineer and he is going to talk about his experience and ire Irish he’s been living abroad in places out Germany Japan and in the UK so welcome you know how you’re doing Thank You leo very good thank you and thanks for the opportunity for talking with you my pleasure and working with you yeah yes yes it’s great to have you in the in the in the show and maybe you we can start by talking a little bit about yourself yeah um I’m here currently working as a security engineer and I have enough security operation center here that I manage on a global basis here for pretty organization and we primarily you know protect that the environment against malicious or cyber intrusions and as you know when you can appreciate it’s it’s pretty prevalent these days the the level of attack that the quality and the skills are improving and these are the skills of attack and and the artistry associated with the attacks are really kind of diverse or wide and diverse and this is a very it gives a an interesting component of to my work I kind of when I come to work in the morning I jump out of bed to come to work and I I like that and I naturally have a curious brain and mind as to how these these um these vectors of attack are being kind of shipped and deployed so this is part of my you know my research area that I like to kind of do in work and outside of work I knew and that Korea can a curious mind that you have was one of the things that have triggered your idea to go and work abroad so and when the do it why did you do it yeah that that’s it that’s a very good point there leo actually and and part of part of the Irish that the Irish person’s DNA is that they have migrated a lot okay down to the years and down to the centuries they’ve they’ve never stayed put and this might be from from political reasons it could be for food reasons or poverty reasons yeah Irish people by and large it’s in their DNA that they travel and and I’m no different and and this coupled with a with a curiosity made me travel to foreign countries Germany UK and in particular Japan and my it might my interest in Japan started off with you know from the cultural and and and the entertainment aspects of it you know and deep cultural aspects that would you would associate with Japanese culture you know for example the Kabuki then even sumo wrestling is quite unique the sport is different their geisha their whole performance art is quite unique to what we experienced in the Western world did you start to get these the interest when you were in high school or where you were the college level a bit of both leo a bit of both even true through the eyes of of movies and I remember Kurosawa oh yeah yeah yeah great movies brilliant movies you know that still to this day that they’re ageless lassic they’re classics and this is really what kind of spiked my interest in Japan in particular and I wanted to see where these what what the motivation for these movies were was if was this a typical Japanese man’s way of thinking of life are what was behind this so this was what motivated me along with my curious mind that he said that I wanted that I said it and personally on my agenda and my itinerary that I have to go and travel to Japan so you you were through these mind process about going to Japan so when actually you decided and how that comes to be how that company that’s yeah that’s this was always in my mind and even you know after high school I went to university I studied as a as a mechanical engineer starting off and that was my undergraduate degree and when I was finished on my final year I saw it being advertised in one of the the college centers in winners college bars and cafes would you like to work in Japan would you like to even engage herself with an exchange program you know if you are a graduate and would you like to be exchanged with another Japanese graduate for that Japanese graduate to be placed in it in the Irish industry and for you as an Irish graduate to be placed in Japanese industry would you like this and I saw this and I could not believe my eyes and I said that’s it I’m going I’m going to apply for a job and there was there was I did I submitted an application and I waited and I waited for the application to be acknowledged and then suddenly out of the blue when I wasn’t expecting it I was called to an interview a couple of months it was it was it was yeah a couple of months a couple of months all right so you’re gonna another job going on oh yeah it’s all you you work an oh yeah my Matt go to Japan but I’m good not to get this job as well I I was hoping and I was praying that this would materialize and so much so that I kind of put pressure on the under the authority that was advertising for the job when would we hear back if it was successful or not and and that kind of put put pressure and urgency and why why while waiting I was I kind of wanted to do nothing because you were convinced I’m going exactly I was I was going to go by hook or by crook yeah but they got back and I got an interview and it so happened that the president of the Japanese organization was visiting Ireland and he was doing some business which would Enterprise Ireland and Enterprise Ireland Enterprise Ireland set up the interview with with the president and you know I said to and I spoke to him that listen I really want to go to Japan this is my skill set I can I can go to Japan with a with a with a degree with knowledge of how industry works with mechanical engineering give me a job it is harder any openings there and the interview itself would with this man he could speak English very very fluently and I had no Japanese I had zero Japanese I had a few phrases that I would have picked up from the Japanese movies yes like the Seven Samurai like this hour but and I didn’t think they were appropriate at the time and we did the interview in English and he was a very charming man and he said he would get back to me with with with a decision okay would give me a job or not and later that day I got a phone call from Enterprise Ireland saying that mr. Yamagata would like you to join the organization great and that was that was the start of the rest of my life in my eyes obviously I had some papers to get together yeah you know visas had to be sorted a contracts had to be sorted out there was a bit of anxiety about okay now that I’ve made my my interest be clear how will I protect my interest yeah you know and and pretty soon you know there was an agreement on the table the contract was written in English reflecting their expectation of me of yeah of what I should do in a Japanese organization and that I was completely happy with that okay and once I got the contract I signed it and I looked over and I looked over tonight I was so happy with myself with that with my new life beginning and if you want to fast forward then you know I yeah but wait a minute you you got the contract you got the contract signed then you got papers you proposed got sorted and then at some point you got the tickets right and at some point yeah tickets so there’s this question that I do here is like we know that when we go through this process going abroad at some point you you’re like you you you’re travel to the place or getting to the place or being at the place where you actually get this big moment of action here I’m doing this what am i doing well and when this happened to you uh-huh how do you feel how do you cope with it yeah yeah and and once those documents were signed every night I went to bed and before I went to sleep I was there oh my god am i doing the right thing yeah I mean the other thing I’m going so far away from everybody I know I don’t speak the language but this is what I wanted to do I wanted to test myself I wanted to see how I’d react if I could learn the language if I could integrate into the culture of Japanese and I remember if you fast forward your men you’re talking about the tickets I remember sitting on an airplane yeah japanese airline yeah charlie yeah flying into tokyo in the air it was it’s a it’s a at least at seven 14 hour flight and i remember seven hours into the flight kind of halfway there and I was saying to myself I cannot return yes I have to keep going and I remember the food was coming out how are you and the food that’s the food is brilliant we’re here is our chance I’d yellowed was amazing yes I had all this sushi I had this teriyaki yeah I had lots of sake had lots of jump oh yeah got the profiler liqueurs yeah yes yes and and the food the rice I thought this is it I’m going to be okay yeah at least I can eat the food and when I landed yes it was a complete culture shock it was like oh it was visually very different because if you’re in the city you see all the neon neon signs in in in Limerick where I come from in Ireland neon signs only you know was a dream yeah I never saw a neon sign in Limerick and until recently but at the time back in in 1995 that’s when I went to Japan and landed in Tokyo and we were meet we were met and we were thereby members of the after that the organization he was very well organized we were put up in hotels we were they really were they did they were a very hospitable they their their their generosity was was was boundless was limitless and and you were where you were you going to be working and then okay so we flew into Tokyo and the organisation that I worked for it was in Osaka okay and so once we arrived there we stayed for a night we were met by people here that from the organisation there and they gave us further flight tickets down to Osaka oh you went we flew down to Osaka the next day at this point everything was in English and it was fine everything was in English everything was fine okay so you still didn’t have that because I in my case the first night that I arrived into Japan we were taken to a hotel and then you know you’re a foreigner you’re in a new country you want to splay so I just went to the corner the company’s story at the corner and everything was in Japanese and I was like yeah Japan you need to speak Japanese definitely we had that moment I had that moment Tulio because when we were in Osaka and once we started going to our 9:00 to 5:00 my not my nine-to-five job it was all Japanese because the guys that we were that greeted us from the airport yeah we’re hardly went in English yes I mean that happens to me yeah yeah yeah and and but the people the very important people that keep the organization going the the guys and girls that come in 95 Monday to Friday and Saturdays yes yes yeah they they don’t speak English and and and they don’t speak English at all so it was up to me to start learning Japanese are at least start trying they were they tried as well they they use whatever English they had to help along the process but if it was incumbent I was expected to start learning and to start practicing and at least trying yeah and I suspected that triangle is a thing that they expect they from you they expect that yeah they expect that and if you try they will help ya but if you don’t ya constantly expect them to kind of provide with them yeah then they’ll just please are going to be shot down they’re going to be shot down exactly what one thing that happens to to in my case then English is not my native language so we usually when we go to learn English we think that we need to be perfect in English so one of the fear the first walls that we get to is that I need to be perfect so we get a lot of R is the resistance to the language because I don’t know how to say this I might sound like a self as a fool and so once you go through all this and then you just start to be free about the language and you start to actually to embrace the language and cause for you in your case because English is your native language of now you’re going to Japanese that is a completely different language that’sthat’s really that’sthat’s very insightful of you actually leo because I was like that I was going on my English has to be perfect here my English has to be perfect and and I’m not going to talk until you’re Japanese you mean yeah and I soon found out that this wasn’t gonna work yeah and I was conscious I have to say I was conscious because I wanted to say things properly and I wanted to represent I felt I needed to represent myself yes yes and the country because there and the country yes yeah exactly yeah no and and and in hindsight looking back I put myself through too much pressure you know and and it was okay to have pidgin it was okay to have bad Japanese because bad Japanese was better than no no Japanese exact yes yeah and on that basis that’s how I communicate it and and the Japanese people and especially the people did the Japanese people living in Osaka they’re naturally comedians they love yeah they’ll yeah have fun yeah and me here talking pidgin Japan he’s really bad source of amusement yes so that was my kind of role yeah to provide entertainment yes yes but but by interacting with them they they brought me in and they understood my difficulties and they did help me along with learning my Japanese they would in a very friendly and instructive way say oh maybe you should say something like this issue should say it this way instead of that way and maybe you can join two sentences together by using certain words and and this this was monumental this was huge and pivotal in in the way that that I started learning Japanese and I just stopped trying to be perfect and started being more human and enjoying the plays and the people and and enjoying the place and the people and sometimes what we did and through this process you might you might have heard this phrase as well no vacation communication yeah true drinking yeah and no mimo no yes is what the Japanese called drink our Nami mas yeah is the verb to drink yeah and if you can drink and communicate I know I don’t mean to be promoting alcohol here but but that’s what the Japanese they actually emphasized on vacation and no normal drinking could be drinking tea it would be drinking coffee yeah it could be drinking juice it could be drinking beer it could be drinking sake it’s very in that moment they they really enjoy and kind of look for that it’s actually if you are from abroad because they they ask you want to learn they want to learn they want to learn they want to learn as well and suddenly I realized through this process of naam occasion you know bound dreams and fears and conscientiousness conscientiousness disappeared from me and I felt I went from having no Japanese too bad japanese to having good japanese to having good japanese to a level that okay i want to know how good I am how bad I am so I went and I did the Japanese noryeok which yeah yeah you know the test yes and that was a kind of a marker that um a proficiency test yes I could measure myself I could study for because the the curriculum the material was there and then I could understand where I was yeah and and I felt that once I studied for that I passed it then I was able to you know so I went from zero Japanese to having this level of Japanese that I could actually go to university in Japan and study further so this was to me gave me great confidence yeah you know gave me great confidence and integrating into Japanese and you know I’ve well there we got people from several countries listening to the TV show people from the states from Mexico Peru and Taiwan even some from India so just save some of the countries that they might be thinking about going abroad and maybe Japan is one of the destination that they might choose or even Germany so what would be an advice for them if they’re there thinking alike it doesn’t something bad and it actually like the Japanese culture – pop culture DJ pop culture right the j-pop yeah yeah so what could be our advice to get a job in Japan or to get a job in the in Europe we can go either wasted yeah like yeah no no that’s that’s a really valid question as well and and I think it comes down to the individual and what they want out of life as well and whether it’s Japan Korea or China you know to experience a new culture that the curiosity to experience a new culture and the openness to experience a new culture because every culture comes with good and bad you know and understanding that that that fundamental difference but what makes things very very interesting is is the food you know the food and it’s its culture within that kind of society but in order to get in there into society and start integrating into that kind of society if you’re visiting there casually or if you’re visiting there where you want to develop a career develop a career understand what you can contribute that society and if it’s a software engineering role if it’s a if it’s an artistic role or something whatever you have have the confidence to build an experience new cultures with that and if it is in my case it was my engineering experience whatever is re to interrupt what advice if you’re doing interviews or trying to approach its people there what could mean good into that maybe copper later or in an interview to demonstrate your willingness and your interest in that recipient culture in my case it was Japan I had an inherent interest in the culture due to the movies and and and kabuki and all this kind of stuff and I had an interest and make sure you convey that interest in your cover letter besides the technical skills the that but that theater is important that bit is very important because it’s not just a job you’re looking for it’s actually it’s a lifestyle you’re looking for and the job actually he the irony is the job is secondary okay you know and it’s your interest in the culture it’s your interest in the food it’s the interest for integrating yourself into that culture and I think if you have that interest along with your curiosity you will be a success because maybe there’s a shift in how we approach a job hunting maybe other countries if we take take Japan into a bin our gold rights hunting goal yeah yeah yeah and and that’s maybe one of the cultural shocks that you might mean I mean might be our business how they do business so more even further than the technical skills being part of the group or being part of the interior into the society integral the culture is it is important it leo it is very important and it is a different culture from the way they do business and this is part of their culture as well how they go about business and subsequently working and if you look at the nature of the history of Japan it’s a feudal country based on feudalism back to the medieval times back to that various Emperor’s and the Shogun’s to the Shogun Shogunate arizim to this day you can see feudal elements to the way they do business there’s one appointed person that makes all the decisions that’s good and bad yeah you know when it comes to getting if you want a decision made quickly it will take time because it has to go to the right people okay this is very feudal and this goes back centuries this hasn’t changed and in spite of how modern and home on how the latest technology that Japanese organizations might employ that thinking can be quite feudal but if you embrace that and understand it and have patience and tolerance you will flourish you will if you fight that that existence of a known business model you will flourish there are certain kind of things there that I found a bit odd that um if the bar stays late in the office you’re kind of narrow Exeter yeah yeah you’re nearly expected to do that yeah but I found a very kind of good high I hacked the system I find I found that I had hobbies I did Kendall for example you know I was part of a kendo Club which was part of the Japanese organization so I always used the excuse because it was legit I said sorry boss I gotta leave now it’s five o’clock because I got to do Kendall yeah and they ceded well because I do the same yeah yeah so yeah things that actually is not like that and don’t want to be here is you know I I got something else to do that is related to your country as well yes they they embrace again this they embrace that they embrace that and and if you can think like that on your feet of how you can work your lifestyle and what you want to get out of it the Japanese culture is would be very very consistent with whatever you want and you can make it work that way for example by joining those clubs you know exploring other elements of the of the Japanese culture and that is respected because I remember a friend who used to working in the heat a company they they used to say that they two of the guys in their scrum team of ten were just specific for the football team just because they needed to be good outside the company and they were not working as they were expected to me because they were just good but that was the way that they were providing to the company a good name and exposure that’s that’s it and that’s it that from from us for from my point of view is like well they are not working but that’s that yeah it’s some other way to think about business as well and Leo that’s a very important point as well that you bring up that whole perception of corporate Japan and and whatever corporate organization you’re a member of you are indeed a member of the family it is a family thing you’re treated like a family you know you are treated like a family and this is all part of that whether you agree or disagree part of the expectation of spending a lot of time at work and but you are treated like a family member and you are that the the pay in the salary is is decent yeah pretty good yeah I know that when I compared my salary that I was receiving in Japan with my counterparts in Ireland it was a lot more you know and I know it was an exchange yeah a foreign see foreign exchange currency thing going on there as well but the whole expectation if you’re if you behave appropriately in the family quote/unquote yeah you want to be that you be rewarded equally so and and I found this one when when when things went weren’t so good rosy I got sick for example I could I got this natsu birthday they call it and that’s the heart of summer the summer gets so hot and intense oh yes thank you you get dehydrators and it’s it’s quite bad sianis and even Japanese people suffer from this if you don’t treat your body properly if you don’t hydrate properly if you don’t eat the right food the right nourishing food because in in the oppression of a Japanese summer you tend to just eat scream our drink cold liquids and this is catastrophic yeah for the body yeah Anaya had natsu birthday and I saw that all my colleagues from Japan were coming to my house bringing me bento boxes of food bento boxes of rice and nice food yes take care and they they cared because they saw me as a family member even though I was from Ireland and not necessarily a Japanese person per se but they saw me as part of the family and they treated me so and even though I couldn’t speak fluent Japanese I was learning Japanese and I thought that to me was a very endearing moment where when I was down in a week they actually brought food and things and make sure I was okay and that was good and this this actually promoted me are prompted need to be better yeah better for them whether I can’t be understanding one day yes offer there there there Dominus if you like for for any last advice for people that are listening to the show they might want to go abroad you know what can you say to them I think it’s very important to get your documents right and get your travel documents right without that and again I’m going to go back to the Japanese experience without that and I and I saw as well other people are our foreigners that were in Japan from from India from Germany from Ireland from England from Costa Rica from Spain from Mexico you know I could see that they hadn’t got their contracts right all obvious they had contracts but they might have expired you know Kay and there was no kind of set kind of you know renewal process and I saw some some colleagues of mine that they they should have gone down to what they call dashi actual which is the town yeah the town hall and and it’s quite important that you even though you’re a foreigner and even though you have your visas and even though your papers are in order that you check in with them on a regular basis I’m here my name is Neil my name is Leo yeah I’m living here this is my address what do I need to do to ensure you know then I mean yeah legally be here at the country that I’m here legally that I’m recognized and that I might get some tax concessions yes you know so it works both ways yes and and they said oh okay well now put you on the system can you fill out this form you know and now there’s now you’re formally in the register of the local government yeah not the Japanese national government but the local regional area you’re now in the Town Hall and they’re you’re part of the register they’ll even send you out special bags that you can use to to our weekly places to put your bins out yeah you know things like this that are very important because the Japanese been collections it is very important and it’s very regiment they have brown bins yeah I have green bins that have all of this combustible stuff it’s very regimented and if you don’t have the right bags they you can be charged you can be charged yeah you can get fines and so all of this can be fixed if you register on the miniature in the country and the miniature your legal touch base which our local Town Hall the she actual and they will start the process and they will and they leave and send you documentation when it’s coming up to maybe two months prior to your renewal process your contract that they’ll send your reminders and you get letters and they’re nice they’re nice letters and yep reminding you yeah now they’ll send you emails you know and they even send you little presents as well the first time I ever want to when I got went to Japan I got a free box of tissues yeah through and even when you walk the streets of Japan when they’re advertised and they give you free tissues very interesting very interesting indeed oh great ah it’s a great advice and yeah highly recommended as well because yes I got the good experience through have been registered with the Town Hall and ishaq show well thank you so much for you for your time and thank you Leone and thank you everyone and if someone wants to get in touch in touch with you instead away or whatever yeah I’m on LinkedIn I’m on as as the Irish might say no immigrant but it’s Neal McGraw and iCard they work in the security operations center of workday great okay so I am forgetting contact with me will be your Nardo Don Martin at p.m. dot and E and thank you so much for you Thank You leo pleasure bye-bye

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