After sakura season comes “ido” season, which I experienced for the first time this year.
“Ido” means ‘change’, which is a fitting word to describe April, as both the fiscal year and the school year actually start in April, unlike back home where the school year starts in September. This is why in a lot of anime or manga, at graduation or school entrance time for the characters, there’ll be cherry blossoms everywhere, rather than autumn leaves.
So, April is a month of new beginnings for both children and adults, with children starting a new school year, or depending on their age, starting at a new school entirely, and for adults, a lot of companies have their new employees (especially newly-graduated new employees) start in April. For the already established employees, there’s “jinji ido” (人事異動), which can be translated as the “personnel reshuffle” or “staff reassignment”.
Since Japan is a country where people still don’t move around much once they have a job, jinji ido is used to keep things fresh and stop employees from stagnating in their jobs. It is generally planned out by the human resources department, and people aren’t just reassigned within their department, but can be moved to anywhere in the building, any department (in my city hall’s case). Imagine you were working in the pensions department and suddenly got told that this year you’ll be working in child support!
For CIRs like me, this period can be one of worry or uncertainty even though we’re not the ones being moved (we’re generally tied to a specific department), as the coworkers we’ve got to know so well and established friendships with could be moved to a totally different department with (to us) no prior warning. Then, in their place, we could end up with someone who doesn’t understand what our work entails, doesn’t give us much work or the right kind of work, is sexist or racist or just generally not very understanding, etc. so it’s kind of scary.
This year, I was lucky. The rugby sub-division in our department became a department of its own, so we kept all of our employees and gained 5 more, who are all very nice people. Our own division didn’t have anyone transferred out so the only person we lost was our Chinese translator and interpreter (this position is normally filled by university students, so they tend to only work here for a year before they graduate), whose position was filled by a student from the year below her, who’s also friendly and nice to talk to. Our kacho (section chief) got promoted to the head of the new rugby department, so he’s still in the same office, and likewise another of the employees in my division got promoted to become the new kacho, so almost everyone’s still here and I didn’t gain any problematic employees.
I hope next year will be the same!