This is Ted O'Neill, joining Manager Tools from Tokyo, Japan. I'll try to answer that question below.

I'm from the States, mostly New England, with a brief stint in the Bay Area. I lived in Boston for many years and attended UMASS/Boston for a BA in History and MA in Bilingual and ESL Education. While not exactly the best preparation for management, it is pretty typical in my surroundings.

After 10 years of university teaching here in Japan in Nagoya and Tokyo, I find myself pretty well on the management side of things in a highly coordinated English program with a great bunch of colleagues. I am an assistant professor at Obirin University--a private institution located in the western suburbs of Tokyo with just over 8,000 undergraduates . I've also been very active in NPO work with the Japan Association for Language Teaching as a chapter president and journal editor.

It was only three years ago that I was teaching 25 hours a week and attended meetings once or twice a year. Now I teach about 7-8 hours a week, but am even busier than ever trying to keep an eye on all of the stuff that helps make the teaching happen. Two years ago, I first coordinated 5 directs in one of three teams for curriculum development, Last year, I moved into my "boss's" position coordinating all first year English education at the university. From later this month, I'll have 8 actual directs in creating, maintaining, and managing delivery of the English curriculum for 2,100 students. I've had to become a manager, but I believe my only actual management training was when somebody put me in charge of the archery range at Boy Scout Camp almost 30 years ago. At least nobody got hurt that summer.

Good thing I stumbled across M-T on iTunes. Thanks M&M!

The long Tokyo commutes have given me plenty of time to catch up on past podcasts this spring, and I think I'll start going through a period of review of some key points. The recent "Rolling out the Trinity" series is just in time. I'm going to get started with O3s this semester with my new team when we all return from summer break.

Although many of the actions, relationships, and typical business "stuff" that is the setting of the podcasts are very different in a Japanese university, I see no point in getting bogged down in those surface differences. There are still roles and relationships, and if anything, relationship power is probably even more important in my situation.

All of that is a long way of explaining why I'm here. The podcasts have been very helpful as I review some of my successes and failures of the past two years and get ready for the next set of projects. Many Homer-like "D'Oh!" headslaps I listened with a few knowing nods mixed in here and there. Neighbors on the train may have been scared.

I only wish more teachers didn't consider management as somehow "beneath" them. We've got a whole lot of politics, but need more management. But, I'm doing my part and have passed the link on to a few folks who seem open to these ideas.

Anyway, I've already got plenty of questions, and I look forward to seeing how everyone might respond to what I run into with M-T in such a different setting.

When not working, my wife and I do a lot travel. (University jobs do have their perks, like long holidays.) Tokyo is great place for anyone who loves food as much as I do. Hiking, camping, and scuba diving are a few of the things I like to do when I have the time. I tend to get in a hot spring whenever I get the chance. And, probably like others here, I tend to spend way too much time looking at, moving, or making pixels.

Thanks and see you around the forums,


HMac's picture

Welcome to the forums, Ted!

mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge

Welcome, Ted. Great to have you here!


bug_girl's picture

There are other academics that wandered into management here too :)

jhack's picture


Welcome to the forums!

Even a management degree doesn't actually prepare you for management - those programs are more like business theory. That's why MT is like a cool glass of water in the desert.

And if academia lacks interest in the managerial arts, it's your opportunity to be great.