Interview with Jason Lim

Jason LimExcelling in a sales career requires a different kind of personality. You either have it or you don’t. As Sales Manager of the 5-star Hilton Hotel in Osaka, Japan for the past eight years, Bruneian born Jason Lim has faced and conquered many challenges in this fast-paced, ever changing industry.

How did you end up in Japan?
I got a three year scholarship to study in Japan from the Japanese government in April 2003 and I’ve been here ever since.

What can you tell us about Osaka?
Osaka is in some ways similar to Brunei but slower than Tokyo; it is compact and relaxing. Most importantly, there are lots of kind and friendly people here.

What are you doing now in Osaka?
I am a Sales Manager for International Sales at Hilton Osaka. I am the only other non-Japanese in the Sales office besides my director. My other full time job is looking after my two girls, 5 and 3 on weekends (smile).

How did you get this position at the hotel?
After my three year scholarship, I had the choice of going back to Brunei but I really wanted to get my university degree so I decided to put myself through university in Japan with some help from my family, my Japanese friend and three part time jobs. One of these jobs was working at a restaurant and that’s where I met my boss. He was having dinner with his family at the restaurant, we spoke, and after just one interview I got the job. I’ve been with the Hilton for almost eight years.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
Where should I start? There are just so many great parts but for a start, I can eat Japanese Teppanyaki every day and eat at fine dining restaurants in the hotel every night (but that wouldn’t be too healthy). The truth is, the most positive aspect of this job is that I get to meet a lot of people from so many countries, with different cultures and thoughts. And for me, it’s especially fun when I meet Bruneians staying at my hotel because I know that we will be connected somehow in Brunei and we’ll have a good laugh about it.

What have you learnt from the Japanese work ethic?
The Japanese work ethic is something that many people will be very surprised at. You may have heard stories that the Japanese work like they know rule books character by character; they are hard to bend, etc. I cannot say that this is not true as I’ve done my time, but what I can say is that Japanese people are one of the best people to work for and with. They are diligent and straight forward, and I learned that you have to learn the culture to work with them.

What is your advice to local Bruneians wanting to achieve extraordinary careers?
I think a lot of Bruneians want to explore what’s outside of Brunei. I would recommend that you talk with someone who is already involved in the career that you’re considering. Get their advice; see if their situation matches yours; and figure out if you can see yourself doing that job. Sometimes I think, it might be easier to move back to Brunei than to live in Osaka – but on the other hand, the experience I get here is incomparable to anywhere I’ve ever been.

This article was published in the Oct-Dec 2015 Issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!