How Bloomberg’s job swap helped one journalist move forward
Aki Ito, currently the digital editor for the Bloomberg News global technology team in San Francisco, talks about going to the Tokyo bureau for three months as part of a job swap.
Ito writes, “The newsroom in Tokyo was so gracious to me. When I asked for things, hesitantly and apologetically at first, they never gave me a hard time. And as I started to get the hang of things, I found that there were a few things I could uniquely bring to the table as a young, female, gay journalist in a profession in Japan that’s ruled by seniority and dominated by straight men. I guided reporters through a couple of really interesting stories. Even the older journalists sometimes came to me for advice. And I was proud to speak at a company event about being a Japanese lesbian, in a country where the gay community is forced to be so closeted that even I had kept my identity a secret to many of my colleagues for years.
“Toward the end of my time in Tokyo, I was approached with another opportunity that was opening up back at home, in our San Francisco newsroom — to help lead the launch of a revamped online technology hub for Bloomberg. Once again it was a job for which I felt completely unqualified and unprepared. I almost declined it. But I remembered the three months I had just spent in Tokyo, how I eventually figured things out and how it made me think that I might be good at leading something.
“So I applied, and I’ve been in that role for almost two years now. For the first few months I was constantly overwhelmed and regularly mad at my manager for thinking that I was capable of handling so much responsibility. But now, I’m so proud of the work I’ve done to amplify the efforts of the incredible journalists we have on our team. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I’m a better journalist today than I was two years ago.”
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