Uncertainty Goes Viral: HR MD on Tackling Tumultuous Times
Chris Parker – Managing Director, Tokyo
When Chris Parker took a new job in Sydney, the Global Financial Crisis hit. When he moved to Tokyo a few years later, he found himself amidst the chaos that followed Japan’s horrific Earthquake and Tsunami.
The timing of events – clearly beyond the control of the MD of Tardis Group’s Japanese operations – created uncertainties that proved the greatest challenges of his career, so far.
Right now around the world, so many people, families and the businesses they depend upon, are facing unprecedented uncertainty as the impacts of the covid-19 (Coronavirus) ripple around the world. Supply chains have been disrupted, staff have been in quarantine, travel plans and flights have been suspended and significant events have been cancelled.
‘Both the GFC and the earthquake couldn’t have come at a worse time for me and both presented a feeling of great uncertainty,’ Chris said.
‘My wife and I’d moved from Japan to Sydney and when the GFC hit, I’d just stepped up the ranks from Japanese speaking researcher, to Consultant.
‘I was lucky to have a manager who reassured us. Also, Neil MacLean, our CEO kept updating us on the situation and was very transparent with us. His transparency helped me to realise that it would be best to do what we could with the cards being dealt, rather than feel sorry for ourselves. I realised I wasn’t the only one, we were all in it together – not being alone made things easier.’
A few years went by and baby number one was on the way. With family support networks in Japan, it made sense for Chris and his wife to head back to Tokyo.
They made the move in March 2011, two weeks prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
‘It shook big time in Tokyo, you could feel seasick seeing the buildings going from side-to-side,’ he said.
‘We were in the thick of a big earthquake, transport was dead, the phones were dead, but it took us a while to realise that a massive tsunami had hit the country’s coastline and the extent of damage at Fukushima and the nuclear power plant.
‘We considered heading back to Australia, but there were no flights back. Tardis sponsored its Tokyo-based team in getting to Kyoto – a city a few hours further away from Fukushima for several days. We worked to try and get back to normal as quickly as we could, but no one was hiring. Tokyo was in shock.’
Recruitment slowed so dramatically that Chris returned to the PR agency where he’d previously worked, quite some years before.
‘It’s a good reminder that when you leave a company, you leave on good terms because you just never know what’s ahead,’ he said.
And, sure enough, in the same way, Chris later returned to Tardis Group!
‘I have worked in two companies, two times,’ he said.
‘I’m glad we stayed here (Tokyo) despite the 2011 turmoil. We took one day at a time. We kept talking to clients and candidates because after any disaster, the process of rebuilding starts.’
Tardis Group in Tokyo serves banking and finance sectors, as well as clients in Healthcare, and the commercial industry.