Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Changed jobs… FINALLY!

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Note: I fiddled with the publishing dates just for my own sake of keeping a proper timeline of events. The fish tank entry of March 30, 2013 is the first of a handful up till this entry. I really should have written this around the same time as the fish tank entry in March. Oh well. It’s done now yay!

No, I’m not dead and I didn’t go back to California with my tail between my legs. I actually found a new job and have been living it up pretty good since April. So let’s find out what’s been going on in the past 4 months this blog has been dead for… I’m going to sprinkle this entry with some photographs of the schools I used to work at to keep things interesting for the reading impaired.

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I’ve always had this though in the back of my mind that I really need to get a better job in Japan. While my somewhat stable job of nearly 5 consecutive years treated me well enough, it always was in the gray side of the law and knew they were taking their staff for all they were worth. After a long 5 years of waiting and a lot of luck, I finally took the plunge and put out some serious resumes. I got an interview thanks to one of my good local friends and within a week I had a new teaching job. The timing couldn’t have worked out better for me as my current contract was days from ending and I had no obligation to continue with the company I previously worked for. I was really sad and nervous to let go of the schools that treated me well and gave me a good 4 years of my life but I knew that if I stayed under the same company that provided the schools, I’d never be able to save any money and have any meaningful future here in Japan or elsewhere.

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I still do miss the schools I worked at for the past 4 years and still have connections with the staff there but for the most part things seem to be working out fine. The teachers I used to work with miss being able to just operate in full Japanese but understand not every teacher that comes in can even speak a lick of Japanese let alone make such an impression on the kids that they were totally shocked I was leaving so abruptly. But I wasn’t being paid for my Japanese ability or social skills, I was paid because I was a warm body and didn’t rock the boat. I got paid beans for my work, although it was very easy, but I knew that my skills were being wasted on such a low paying job. Now I’ve got even better schools than I could’ve imagined with a much more generous salary paired with the same benefits that a Japanese national would expect in a similar full time position (pension and social insurance). No more paying for healthcare and pension directly out of pocket, now I get help and enough money that it doesn’t completely kill any income I may have been able to set aside for savings.

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I don’t expect to stick with this line of work much longer but it will give me an extra couple more years to enjoy the freedoms of an English teacher’s life in Japan. I’ll also have a couple more years to brush up on my skills before I finally give a serious crack at N1 and put the final nail in my formal Japanese language education. I look forward to the day when I can work in an air-conditioned office or even from home using my skills I built up while dinking around in Japan as an English teacher… not the teaching ‘skills’ but rather all the communication and cultural experiences that have helped improve my Japanese to a more than functional level in the office.


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So, why did it take so long to write this? It’s been months since April and this is a pretty big life event… I really wanted to write about this sooner but a lot in my personal life kept me from taking enough time to sit down in front of the computer and write something worth reading. Now that it’s summer, and I’ve got nearly a month off thanks to being a full time teacher, I can hike and take tons of interesting pictures for the blog.

I left some good kids behind. I shaped most of their image of what an American is like and their idea of what an English class can be for better or worse. I think I did a good job. It’s a shame I won’t be the one sending them off to junior high. But I had to draw the line somewhere and I’m very glad I did.