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


Zee said...

Good luck with the new job Kevin. Bigger and brighter futures for your family. What sucks is how much I look forward to hearing more of the detail but having to wait till you move away from Japan which is something I dont look forward to. I really enjoy your Japan vids. When I really start missing Japan I go a rewatch your vids as well as a couple other Jvloggers. Anyway Glad to hear you were able to find a job job. Once again Good luck.

Sue Angelwriter said...


Jasmine T. Blossom said...

Very interesting.
I've also been an English teacher since early 2008, but that's pretty much the only things we have in common.

I'm not a native speaker of English. I'm female, I'm not married and I live alone.

I changed jobs once after 4 years. Although my Japanese is pretty good, I decided to go for another English teaching job.
It's what I enjoy doing and I saw that the pay for other jobs was even lower. So, why should I do something I'm not sure I'd enjoy for a lower salary?

It's interesting that you say you'd earn so much more in Canada. I heard a lot of American saying the same thing.
I'm envious!
In my home country (Germany) I might earn more, but after taxes almost half of that money is gone, so I would NEVER earn more money back home (earn as in actually receiving that money).

I see that you have plans of leaving Japan in the future.
You sound really happy with your new job ahead, so I wish you all the best and good luck! :)

Victor said...

Congratulations to you Kevin on following through and finding good results!