Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Walking Away from the Not So Good

Change can be a scary thing at times. Other times it can be en extremely good thing. Sometimes change is a very necessary thing.

I have been through many changes so far this year. Some have been wonderful; the birth of my second child; some have not been o wonderful.

Employment-wise, this has been a rocky year for me. I have been in Japan, living and working as an international school teacher since 2008. Earlier this year I completed my final contract with the only employer I knew since coming to Japan. They wanted me to stay on and continue working there, but I felt it was time for a change. I needed a change and wanted to break away from the secure and somewhat predictable existence that had become my work life there.

I searched for jobs online and realized a few things (things I had actually realized long before). The two things I learned:

       1. There are not so many jobs for teachers in Japan.
       2. The pay schools offer teachers really sucks!

The standard par for a language school teacher or international kindergarten teacher in Japan is only about 250,000Yen per month. With current exchange rates, that adds up to about $31,000 per year. By Canadian standards, with a family my size living in a city as large as the one I do, that’s about $6000.00 below the poverty line according to Statistic’s Canada. Some teaching jobs in Japan pay even less than that. If I were teaching in Canada right now (with my years experience), I’d be making more than double that salary.

I was able to find a new job quickly (benefit of having a teaching credential) and was promised a lot. The pay was to be decent and there were to be other perks. Once I began working at my new company I quickly realized that many of the things promised to me during the interview and contract signing process were fabrications. I also quickly learned that things weren’t going to change for me.

I suppose I really only had two options. I could do things the Japanese way and just suck it up and complete my year contract or I could doing something bolder and make a change. I decided to do the latter. There’s no point in putting your blood, sweat and tears into a job when you’re not receiving the things promised; even more so, when you have a family to support.

My wife and I searched for another opportunity. I focused on jobs in Canada (really hard to get one when you are not in Canada I discovered) and she looked for ones in Japan. She came across what looked to be a good opportunity for me. 

I pursued it and…SUCCESS!

I found a new job and then gave my notice at the company that had “promised” me so much.

Today is my last day of work at my old company and tomorrow I start a new and exciting challenge. Things will be very different. I will have more pay, shorter working hours, less responsibility and more time to work on improving my Japanese.

Today is a good day.

Tomorrow will be an even better day I think.

Someday, when I am no longer living in Japan, I will tell you about this in more detail.

Follow me on Twitter: @jlandkev

A Day in Osaka

Just a couple of pictures I took yesterday in Osaka (where I work). A small butterfly enjoying a flower and a cool little alleyway.