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Ty spent 6 months in Japan with Uber

February 27 / Global

Ty Charoensuk fulfilled a lifelong dream of living and working in Japan last year as part of a short-term assignment (STA) with Uber. Based in Sydney as a Principal Recruiter on our ANZ Talent Acquisition team, Ty quickly raised her hand when a 6-month opportunity to join the local recruiting team in Tokyo came up. She climbed Mount Fuji, helped host the first ever “Get To Know Uber Japan – Women in Tech” event, and is now bringing her learnings from Japan back to her home team. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

“I’ve been part of Uber’s Australia & New Zealand Talent Acquisition team for the last 4 years. I grew up in New Zealand and have been fortunate enough to travel and live overseas since graduating university. If you don’t know where New Zealand is, we are a little country down in the southern hemisphere and no, we’re not part of Australia.

I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love everything outdoors and am very passionate about hiking, scuba diving and skydiving. One fun fact about me is that I used to work at a theme park in Orlando; I was hired as a lifeguard for one of the water parks.” 

You recently spent 6 months in Japan with Uber. Tell us about it.

“Where to start! Living and working in Tokyo was a dream come true. I learned a lot, had heaps of fun, and made so many great memories. Shout out to the Japan team for their warm welcome and for helping me adjust to life in Japan. 

What is a short term assignment you might ask? At Uber, STAs are part of a global program that provides employees an opportunity to work in a different Uber location for 3-12 months. Assignments are typically driven by business need or serve as opportunities for development. In my case, the goal was to be on ground with the team in Japan, help with processes and training, and offer support to the team when needed as some of the members were still quite new at that time. 

Uber made the move to Japan super smooth. I had a dedicated travel advisor who helped book my flights and put me up in a service apartment within walking distance to the office. 

Being on the ground in Japan meant I was part of the North Asia Talent Acquisition team, which includes Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. I had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, develop my leadership skills and broaden my scope as I worked on roles outside of ANZ. I learned that North Asia is such a unique market and it’s not one size fits all. You have to adapt to the cultural nuances and find creative ways to identify and attract top talent.” 

Any highlights from working with the Japan team?

“I have so many, but if I can only pick a few, my top highlights include climbing Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan with an elevation of 3,776m. I somehow managed to convince 3 of my coworkers to climb to the summit with me. I’m proud to say we all made it up in one piece and one of my coworkers even took an Uber Eats delivery bag as his backpack. 

Second, hosting the first ever ‘Get To Know Uber Japan – Women in Tech’ event. I was a member of the local DEI project team and we invited female talent to our Tokyo office. The goal was to elevate Uber’s brand in Japan and educate prospective talent on Uber and our culture. The event was a success and we had over 60 female participants who attended!”

What was the best part about living in Japan?

“Getting to know the Japan team on a personal level and eating local food! Being on the ground meant I had the ability to get to know the team on a deeper level and realize how important it is to connect in person rather than just online. 

I’m guilty to say that I didn’t cook or use my kitchen once in the 6 months I lived in Japan. I remember in my first week of arriving I bought a bottle of cooking oil thinking I’ll cook a couple of meals here and there. Once my assignment ended, I had to pack up my apartment and move out, disappointed to say the bottle of oil was still sitting there collecting dust on my kitchen bench, completely untouched.

There’re so many restaurants to eat around Tokyo and you can find meals for less than $10, so eating out is super convenient and can be cheaper than cooking.”

How are you continuing to grow now that you’re back in Sydney?

“One thing that I love about Uber is that we do an amazing job investing in our internal talent and there’re so many opportunities for you to grow within the company. 

Last year in APAC we launched Talent Tribe, a program facilitating internal mobility and creating a more engaging employee experience. The goal is to streamline our internal interview process and support internal applications, which means internal candidates have a higher chance of being successful in getting a new role. The launch of this program showcases that Uber lives and breathes its value of Do the right thing. Uber wants to see you continue to grow and develop your career within the company. 

Now that I’m back in Sydney I plan to apply and share key learnings from Japan with the entire ANZ team. I believe the team can benefit a lot from understanding the challenges the North Asia team faces. For example, English is the second language for more than half of the candidate pool in North Asia, so adapting your communication and interviewing style becomes quite important.” 

Any tips for someone considering a short term assignment?

“If you have the opportunity to go on a short-term assignment, I 100% recommend it! You get to experience a new culture, learn a completely new market and share your knowledge and learnings with others. I can’t thank Uber and my manager enough for allowing me to spend time in Japan. I had the most amazing time and left Tokyo feeling energized.”

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