The context is you're casually telling a person where you've worked in the past.

I was thinking something like: IBMで働いた or IBMで仕事した.

But it didn't seem right. In English, the conversation would go something like:

A: Where did you used to work?

B: I've worked for IBM. And also, I've worked at Best Buy.

2 Answers 2


〜で働いた is fine for literally "worked at". But I more often hear 〜に[勤]{つと}める meaning "employed for/by 〜"; usually in the 〜ている form ("am currently employed for/by 〜"). In this case, I think you'd just use the simple past tense.


Also, see this post about a unique employment situation: Employed by one institution but work for another.

  • Is there a difference between using で働いた or に働いた? Any nuances? And you could use で勤つとめる or would that be strange sounding?
    – dotnetN00b
    May 8, 2014 at 17:06
  • 1
    "IBMで働いた", "IBMに勤めた", and "IBMで勤めた" are all correct, but "IBMに働いた" is wrong. (don't ask me why, please).
    – naruto
    May 8, 2014 at 17:12
  • 1
    I've never heard 〜で勤める, and it sounds incorrect to my ear, but that's not to say it is.
    – istrasci
    May 8, 2014 at 17:14
  • Googling gives many good examples of "~で勤める", though I agree it's less common than "~に勤める".
    – naruto
    May 8, 2014 at 17:49

In casual conversation I think you can say:

A: (前は)どこ(orどこの会社)にいたの?/いたんですか。
B: ((ずっと)前(は))IBMにいた/いました。あと、BestBuyにもいた/いました/いたことがあります。etc.

... using the verb いる(居る), or

A: (前は)どこに(orどこの会社に/どこに仕事(に)/仕事(は)どこ(に))行ってたの?/行ってたんですか。
B: ((ずっと)前(は))IBMに行ってた/行ってました。あと、BestBuyにも行ってた/行ってました/行ってたことがあります。etc.

... using the verb 行く.
Of course you can say:

A: どこに勤めてたの?/勤めてたんですか。
B: IBMに勤めてた/勤めてました/勤めてたことがあります。etc.

A: どこで働いてたの?/働いてたんですか。
B: IBMで働いてた/働いてました/働いてたことがあります。etc.

... using 勤める/働く. I think using いる/行く would be more colloquial.

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