SEATTLE, WA, May 14, 2018 By LARRY LANGE
At the moment accounting tutor Yumi Burg has her dream job. Maybe some day she’ll also teach karate.
Burg has been a tutor at the NSC Accounting & Business Learning Center for two years, inspired to do so by a teacher. It allows her to be paid while she completes her associate’s degree in accounting.
A more important reason, though, is “that I wanted to work for helping people,” she said. As an immigrant applying for residence in Seattle, “both interviewers asked me what I want to do in America. I answered them that I didn’t have a specific occupation name for my future job, but I wanted to help someone if I can it. Through the tutoring job, I’m helping students (and)…partly fulfilling a dream.”
Born and raised in Kashiwa, Japan, near Tokyo, Burg came to the U.S. after she met her husband. She’s done a fair amount of traveling. “Although I’ve never lived in other countries except the United States, I used to visit Germany, Austria, Italy, Singapore, and South Korea. I liked Korean food and culture, so I went to Seoul, Korea six times for enjoying a vacation.”
She’s also had experience in business, something that will help her students as well as her own career. She learned things at work. At a small merchandising company in Tokyo she served as an assistant sales representative and as secretary to executives. But she also managed accounts payable and receivable by herself because there was no accounting staff.
At that point, “I’d never learned the accounting skills but I needed to accomplish them as an extra task. That was my first experience with an accounting job,” she said.
She also had to be creative. Working later as a receptionist and clerk for a Honda dealership, “I had to manage not only creating various documents for employees and customers but also creating the financial statements, including papers for paychecks,” she said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have a coworker who helped me, including a manager, so I had to resolve all problems of the job by myself at the office. At that time, I’d still never studied the accounting, so I bought a book for learning bookkeeping so that I could resolve any issues for my job. That is my second working experience of the accounting job.”
In these ways, she helped herself navigate her earlier jobs.” I learned that even if I lacked knowledge, I could open a door, or find a way, depending on my own efforts,” she said. “In other words, it was not impossible to change my life.”
“I have experiences of working at the accounting section, but my degree which I earned in Japan doesn’t match to my job history,” she confessed. “If I want to get a job with good benefits, I need to take higher education in the U.S. In addition, I liked bookkeeping and I have good ability and skills with numbers. This is the reason for choosing accounting work.”
Good feelings now come when she helps students make progress learning business and accounting principles.
“When a student understands or figure out his or her issues with my help, it makes me happy,” she said. “Some of them were helped by my tutoring, and then we became friends. I’m learning something new, which does not relate to accounting classes, from them. That is my best part of the tutoring job.”
She advises students to focus on the issues in their courses that they have trouble with, to make sure they understand them when they end their educations and begin careers.
“Everybody begins with one step for building a career, even a specialist,” she said. “If you ignore a small issue, it might be getting bigger later. To ask a question is not embarrassing, so please tell us what now you are stuck in.”
Burg’s off-the-job passion is karate, which started when she watched Hong Kong action movies. “At the time, my hero was Jet Li,” she recalled. She earned a black belt as a high-school senior, abandoned the sport for a while, then resumed it after moving to Seattle.
“Karate is part of my relaxation,” she said. “Karate teaches me to be a strong person not only physically but also mentally.”
Now every Saturday she practices her sport, trying to improve and teach it. To do this “I need to promote myself to at least one higher grade of black belt. Teaching skills are necessary to be a karate instructor, so the tutoring job is useful to learn how to help students.”
Once she earns her degree she hopes to get a bookkeeping job “and work until my retirement. After I retire …I want to start a tutoring job again. By that time, I hope I will become a karate instructor.”
She isn’t sure where she’ll eventually live. She and her husband may return Japan to care for her parents, or they “might move to Iowa, his home state, to enjoy our retirement life. If he wants to move to a third country, of course I will go to there with him, because everywhere will be our hometown.”