Monday, October 22, 2007

Recent Events

Lately, life has not been so good. Or more specifically, work has not been so good. Even more specifically, the pay has been not so good. Well, not not so good, but absent, non-existent, late, yet to be paid, etc, etc.

The company is going down the tubes. Last month the teachers pay was 4 days late for most teachers. The Japanese staff are still waiting for their pay from last month. I don't really believe the promise that we'll be paid on the 25th, because that promise came after they failed to pay us on the 19th as they promised.

The actual work is not so bad. Most days have been pretty light of late. This is because the staff have been anticipating teachers not turning up and not filling the schedule, so when everyone does turn up, we all get free lessons.

Yesterday was a different story. There were meant to be five teachers working, but only two turned up. Guess who was one of those two. Yup. Me. My schedule for the day was almost completely full. The maximum size of a class is four students. My first class had three students, my last class was a man to man class where the student pays extra to be the only student, and the rest were four student classes. A few students didn't turn up, so that made it a little easier but it was a daunting schedule to look at. The staff have said they'll try and give me an easy schedule today if it's possible, so that's something to look forward to.

The Japanese staff are having a really rough time. Branches are closing all the time, teachers are not coming in and quitting at massive rates, and students are trying to get as many lessons as they can before it all comes crashing down. Combined with no real leadership from above, it seems that the branch level staff are all working together to try and keep things going. On Friday I ended up going to three different schools, as other schools were so desperate for teachers that they were willing to have someone come out to teach just one lesson, then travel to the next school for one lesson, then back to my regular branch for the rest of the day. I have to say they're doing a good job, but eventually they're going to run out of options.

Another issue is the rate at which branches are being closed. At first it was just some kids schools and small schools, but now more and more schools are closing, and it's more and more obvious that there is no planning going on. Last month some schools closed and the students were offered a transfer to another school. Then early this month they announced that school would close at the end of the month. So now the students have to transfer again, or more likely are going to quit. My school has yet to close, and word is the owner of the building is out of the country so doesn't know what's going on. We've been getting lots of transfer students, and hopefully we'll be getting some teachers from the schools that are closing, but there's no information so far. Apparently there's meant to be training for new teachers at my school today, but the head teacher hasn't got any information about the new guys, so it's pretty likely there not coming. I know I wouldn't come over now if I knew what was going on.

My reaction to all of this was at the beginning denial, but in the last month has gone to a fatalistic panic. After last months late pay, I initially thought they wouldn't be late twice, because they knew it would piss of the teachers, and with no teachers there's no business. But late the pay is, and now I'm looking for other work. I had an interview in Tokyo last week which was good and bad. Good in that they were willing to let me start training straight away, bad in that the training is unpaid, the pay is purely on a commission basis, and although the work is investment based, you have to get your own clients whose money you invest. This is not the sort of thing I can uproot and move to Tokyo for. I've also had a phone interview for teaching in China, but the pay is again good and bad. It's about what a manager in China receives, so you can live like a king over there, but it works out to about $1000 a month, so you can't really save any money. Tomorrow I have a phone interview for a job in South Korea, which is a lot better. I'd also much rather live in Korea than in China. No Great Firewall to start with, and the pay is a lot better (actually a bit better than what I get in Japan. It's about the same amount of money, but they also pay your rent and half your health insurance, plus pay for a return airfare, so that would be pretty good). We'll see how that goes.

This has also had a detrimental effect on my limited social life. The usual Monday night outing has been postponed indefinitely, pending getting some money. My diet is also suffering. For most of the last three weeks, dinner has been instant ramen. Breakfast is a pastry and some juice, or if I'm feeling luxurious, MacDonalds. The activities I've taken to fill the gap are online poker and watching the entirety of the original series of Star Trek.

End Post
Writing time: 41 minutes
Time since last post: 12 days
Current media: Newstopia

No comments: