The following article was written by Saya Adachi (top left) and Rena Temma (top right), two incoming 2021 Rakuten new graduate employees. Both are also taking part in Rakuten’s program for part-time prospective employees, working part-time in the Corporate Communications Department on social and corporate media projects.
In a few months, we will officially begin our Rakuten careers as new university graduates. With everything that has been happening in the world lately, it is an interesting time to be joining the workforce. In response to the ongoing changes brought about by the pandemic, Rakuten’s Group Human Resources Department has been offering prospective employees access to a program that aims to give them on-the-job experience and interaction with current Rakuten employees.
We were excited to get a head start on our career and expand our perspectives, so we applied for this program as soon as we heard about it. Neither of us knew much about the working style at Rakuten, nor what team we’d be a part of once we officially joined the company.
Despite being a bit anxious at first, our concerns melted away once we received our acceptance emails. Now, though we are located in two different prefectures (Temma in Aichi and Adachi in Tokyo), we have taken the leap and are working from home as prospective part-time Rakuten employees.
Working from home for the first time
We were very nervous for our first day. Since the program takes place entirely online, it was hard to imagine what was waiting for us. Not only did we have a combined total of zero experience in working remotely, neither of us had ever even been to Rakuten Crimson House, Rakuten’s corporate headquarters in Tokyo, nor seen our future colleagues’ working environment.
Our first day started with an online huddle, where everyone in the Corporate Communications Department’s Global Communications team gets together and talks about the coming day’s schedule. Going in, we were apprehensive, but the team made us feel at home. From the first week, we were able to quickly get up to speed on projects and contribute effectively.
Despite that strong start, there were still challenges. Collaborating on projects virtually was something brand new for us. Since we had never met each other in person, it took us time to break the ice. The virtual internship gave us no extra time to get to know each other as individuals. However, we figured out that communication would be the key to good teamwork, so we carved out time to get to know each other better, and we are now online buddies. After sharing this experience, we wanted to document what we’ve learned so far and share our thoughts in video form.
Pitching and producing a video series to share tips for new hires
We aim to continue sharing our working experiences through a series of videos. Our hope is that, in doing so, we will empower viewers and also empower ourselves as we form our identities at Rakuten. One thing is for sure: This opportunity has already broadened our horizons by bringing us us new perspectives and building our confidence.