Saturday, September 22, 2007

Interesting Times

Since last Friday, work has taken on a sort of despondent feel. The company, which has been in trouble for a long time, seems to have entered a death spiral. It started last Friday when most of the teachers were not paid on time. At around 5 pm (after the banks had closed) a fax was sent out to most branches saying that there was a processing problem that meant that it was impossible to complete the deposit of salaries, and that payments would be made on the following Tuesday or Wednesday (Monday was a public holiday), depending on where in Japan you were. This followed an incident two months ago where the salaries of the Japanese staff (they are on a different cycle for pay. Teachers are paid on the 15th, staff on the 27th) was about 5 days late.

At the same time NOVA is closing a large number of branches (I keep hearing about new branches closing). A lot of the closures seem to be kids schools, which honestly can be nothing but a money sink, but nonetheless I quite liked my kids schools and will miss the kids I have taught there (that reminds me, I have photos from my other kids school to post). Were this just a rationalisation of the business, this wouldn't be so bad. But some of the schools closing are quite large, and some smaller schools are staying open. And of course there is the rumour that the closures are due to NOVA being evicted due to unpaid rent. The fact that the list of closures keeps growing seems to suggest that this isn't part of a master plan.

Pretty much everyone is looking for other jobs. None of the teachers expect to be working next month. No one is optimistic about being paid for this month, let alone next month. No one is really motivated to work. I've heard teachers say that they're just coming in because they have nothing to do and don't want to just sit at home. I think I'm going in out of misplaced loyalty and a significant dose of denial.

I've started looking for other jobs (not that seriously, I've applied for one job working in either China or Russia). I'm also reassured by the fact that I can get unemployment benefits for three months. I could try to live cheaply for three months, try and save what I can before bugging out as soon as I get the final payment. Also handy is the fact that a ticket home for me is a mere 35000 yen (about $350 dollars (a whole fucking lot less than what I paid to get over here, although I'm willing to bet the luggage allowance is a lot less)). Right now I'm aiming to just live as cheap as I can until I either find my new job or bug out.

One thing I haven't really considered is that maybe the announcement on Tuesday is some sort of miracle cure for NOVA's problems. If it is, then I will hang around, until early next year, and save as much as I can. But that would be the easy way out, and the odds are beyond unlikely, and approaching the impossible.

I would like to be able to just hang around and keep cruising through life in Japan, but it looks like I'm going to have to put some effort into this for a little while before resuming my cruising ways.

End Post
Writing time: 39 minutes
Time since last post: 4 days
Current media: Battlestar Galactica 3x07

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