New Job & New Life

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New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:18 am

Most people in IRC probably know what I'm getting up to these days, but lots of us seem to be making "new job" posts here when we move on with our lives so I thought I'd let you all know.

I withdrew from my Japanese/Teaching English course at University. Theres a handful of things that contributed to this decision, all you need to know is I'm a lot happier now.

What I did learn at University though is that my future is in language teaching. I joined the largest private language school in the world (Education First) in September and have just finished a month of intensive full-time training to get some recognised qualifications. In passing, I also set the new highest score for the recruitment centre which means I'm full of win. :D

I'll now be taking up employment with them. They're going to organise my visa, flights, accomodation, and induction and pay them all for me. I'll be earning the equivalent of £400/$800 a month (+ accomodation) for 40 hours work, which is total shit by western standards, but an extremely comfortable management-level salary in China. Of course it means I'll be priced out of retrurning to the UK, but my interest is in Asia and I can't see myself moving back the other way unless a job takes me. I know lots of people take up language teaching as a gap year / easy way to travel, but I'm taking it up as a long-term career choice. I've had plenty of experience and have loved every minute of it.

Anyway, I've accepted a job in Qinhuangdao, a coastal city of ~3million 3 hours drive East of Beijing. I was worried when I signed up for China that I'd end up in one of the industrial cities drowning in pollution, but where I'll be living is a popular Chinese tourist city known for its great beaches (apparently 10mins bike-ride from my apartment), clean air and the Eastern start of the Great Wall.

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Aside from that there's clubs, pubs, bars, resaurants, malls, McDonalds, Starbucks, KFC, Walmart etc. so I won't be too cut off from the West once the honeymoon period inevitably wears off. I'll still be round here too. Definitely getting broadband in my apartment ASAP. Oh, also my new boss is a guy from Manchester, and one of his questions was "We all go get drunk 3 or 4 times a week, can you take the pace?" So...it should be fun! I'll probably be leaving in a couple of weeks.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by APE » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:51 am

Just gotta deal with the crappy Chinese government and the inability to say almost anything on your mind.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:55 am

APE wrote:Just gotta deal with the crappy Chinese government and the inability to say almost anything on your mind.
Doesn't really bother me to be honest. I'm politically inactive, and actually weirdly looking forward to waking up every morning without being subjected to endless news about how my country and government suck.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by DaMadFiddler » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:17 am

BoneyCork wrote:
APE wrote:Just gotta deal with the crappy Chinese government and the inability to say almost anything on your mind.
Doesn't really bother me to be honest. I'm politically inactive, and actually weirdly looking forward to waking up every morning without being subjected to endless news about how my country and government suck.
It doesn't mean they'll suck any less...just that you won't be as informed on what's going on.

Nevertheless, congrats on the job!
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by JuddWack » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:23 am

Cool man congrats. If you really want to make a career out of this I recommend getting the highest degree in English you can achieve. You can make a killer salary in China, even by western standards. Some people study for these in the school year and take summers off teaching in countries of their choice. When you get experience you will learn the system and can actually save a significant amount of money in a summer.

Just curious but how many of those 40 hours are teaching hours? If it's in the range of 20/25 it would be an acceptable salary because I know you will take it serious and spend the other 20 preparing lessons. If you tell me 40 it will be very hard to be an effective English teacher considering you will likely be teaching to several different levels, possibly over 10, meaning that's 10 lesson plans each time you see them.

Have fun and enjoy it though. Hopefully you'll have enough free time to enjoy your life in China.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:36 am

Out of the 40 hours, about 20 of those will actually be teaching. At peak-time (summer break) that goes up to around 26 hours. Depending on classes though you can fall be low that and make up the rest of your hours doing marketing etc, plus there is paid overtime for when teachers are sick/take vacation. I get 2 days off per week, 2 weeks paid holiday per year, all the Chinese national holidays and 2 western ones (Christmas & New Years) which isn't so bad I guess.

As for University, it is dissapointing that I left without a degree, but I have certificates for everything I have completed which can usually be used in the UK to gain access to courses a couple of years in. I'll see how far I can get without one. Some people have said they're pretty necessary later on, while others have told me not having a degree has helped them become a better teacher as they've had to try harder for every position/promotion. If I do get stuck though, I'll have no problems with going back to education. This last year of Uni was total crap though and I really need some time away from all that.
DaMadFiddler wrote:It doesn't mean they'll suck any less...just that you won't be as informed on what's going on.
And that's great. I'm a really passive person so I just don't care for politics. Just seems like this really annoying eternal argument which I'd rather not be a part of. One of the great things for me about traveling is getting "out of the loop" with stuff like that.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by JuddWack » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:57 am

You may want the perks that come with the good teaching jobs later in life. Great health benefits with western hospitals, housing reimbursement, relocation for you AND your family, more than 2 weeks off a year, tuition reimbursement for your children, and other stuff. It's great fun when you're young and single but you'll soon realize that it's very difficult to make a career without further education. I'm not saying it's impossible but the degree will make things easier. Plus you will get easier teaching gigs and actually be able to discipline children, schedule meetings with parents, better schools, etc.

Typically the salary you're getting is expected of 20-25 hours of teaching, however most people wing the lesson plans and will consider that a poor salary. Really though it's expected that you spend equal time preparing your lessons. A lot of people will tell you it's a terrible salary so just keep in mind they are probably not doing their job or forgetting you got to start at the bottom to reach the top.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:10 pm

Yeah. I've lost count of the amount of people I've seen moaning about ESL working conditions, but it becomes clear from their second sentence that they have no intention of doing it as a career and were expecting to treat the whole thing as a working holiday rather than a fulltime job.

I am under no delusions about what is expected of me. I know I'm starting at the bottom, I know it's a fulltime job, and I'm ready to put in the hard work. I won't be whining after a month that I've had no time to travel. What I'm looking forward to most is the teaching.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by DaMadFiddler » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:16 pm

BoneyCork wrote:
DaMadFiddler wrote:It doesn't mean they'll suck any less...just that you won't be as informed on what's going on.
And that's great. I'm a really passive person so I just don't care for politics. Just seems like this really annoying eternal argument which I'd rather not be a part of. One of the great things for me about traveling is getting "out of the loop" with stuff like that.
I don't want to hijack the topic, so this is all I'll say about it:

Politics is frustrating, and often stupid, but it's important. It's important because it's not just its own isolated realm; it affects EVERYTHING. Some of the lines of effect are indirect or complex, like the so-called "butterfly effect" (for example: the weakened dollar) and some are quite easy to follow (for example: same-sex couples do not have the same rights and privileges as male-female couples, because legislation was passed specifically restricting them from the trappings of marriage for ideological reasons).

Not being involved is not avoiding choice. It *IS* choosing...to let other people's desires and goals and ideology walk all over yours. Willful ignorance is a shameful thing.

Okay, that's my rant. I do hope you enjoy your new job; it sounds like a pretty good match for you, and like you've managed to find the right thing. My friend Emily also struggled with a Japanese major in college, with the goal of getting involved with JET and teaching English in Japan. She did manage to finish the degree, but it was a very disappointing experience for her, and she ended up working in game journalism instead. Too convoluted a process, and she didn't feel she was getting what she needed from her college Japanese department.

So, best of luck with the move, and with life in general. Hopefully the Great Firewall of China won't cramp your style too much ;). As far as general life advice, just remember the saying:

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:38 pm

It *IS* choosing...to let other people's desires and goals and ideology walk all over yours.
But you can't walk over mine because I don't have any. I'm an indifferent centrist. :P
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by mankrip » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:37 pm

Good luck, Boney :).
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Roofus » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:21 pm

Congrats and good luck. :) Just remember, stay away from the street food. :wink:
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Joestar » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:55 pm

Good luck dude.

I can't wait till the day I leave this country, the weather (and many other things) in the UK is just so fucking depressing to see.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by CupNoodle » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:28 pm

Roofus wrote:Congrats and good luck. :) Just remember, stay away from the street food. :wink:
This came up in our Chinese History class. The story is bunk and the journalist who initially reported it is now serving a year in prison for printing falsehoods or something of that nature.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:43 pm

The advice I've heard with streetfood is just to use your instincts. The problem is, (as with most of Asia) some of the best value and tastiest authentic food can be found at grotty hole-in-the-wall type places. I'll probably just rely on the Chinese staff and the teachers who are already there. If there's anywhere well-known to steer clear of I'm sure they'll let me know.

Also my flights are all confirmed now. I'll be leaving on Thursday 15th to Beijing, arrive on Friday, go out and get completely wrecked to break the ice with the staff, then on Saturday they're sending me to Hong Kong* to upgrade my Visa, all at their expense. Not bad at all. :D

*After visiting Yokosuka in Japan a couple of years back, getting to HK will mark the second stage of my secretly imposed geeky Shenmue fanboy pilgrimage. I'll definitely be making a trip to Guilin within the next 2 years for great successes!
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Roofus » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:55 pm

CupNoodle wrote:
Roofus wrote:Congrats and good luck. :) Just remember, stay away from the street food. :wink:
This came up in our Chinese History class. The story is bunk and the journalist who initially reported it is now serving a year in prison for printing falsehoods or something of that nature.
I'm sure you'll agree that the Chinese press denying a story unflattering to China is hardly surprising or reassuring.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by JuddWack » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:49 am

Dude that breaking the ice party is going to be awesome! There's going to be so much good food there. You'll probably get a lot of compliments on how well you use chop sticks too.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Jeeba Jabba » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:30 pm

Do you mean only 40 hours a month? Or 40 hours a week? Because that would be pretty bad for only $800 a month.
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Skynet » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:23 am

BoneyCork wrote:*After visiting Yokosuka in Japan a couple of years back, getting to HK will mark the second stage of my secretly imposed geeky Shenmue fanboy pilgrimage. I'll definitely be making a trip to Guilin within the next 2 years for great successes!
Me and my gf were looking at trips to China and such, the lady at the travel agent brought up Kowloon. As soon as she said that I went "Kowloon!?" and my gf asked why, I told her it was in Shenmue. She rolled her eyes at me. :lol:
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Re: New Job & New Life

Post by Specially Cork » Thu Nov 08, 2007 3:23 am

Jeeba Jabba wrote:Do you mean only 40 hours a month? Or 40 hours a week? Because that would be pretty bad for only $800 a month.
40 hours a week. I'm living and working in China, so what my money equates to in the west is fairly irrelevant. By Chinese standards $800/month + accommodation allowance + 2 big bonuses a year + 2 weeks paid holiday is enough to let me live a really good lifestyle. Chinese people generally get closer to <$200/month, and they have to pay for their own accommodation out of that and get no extra paid holiday. I'll have a high living standard with almost all my money being disposable. I should still be able to keep my National Insurance contributions up in the UK to keep a state pension for myself, but I really don't like this country any more and have no real intention of living here permanently again.

That's not dreamy escapist "grass is always greener" talk either. I've done enough extended travelling over the past few years to learn one thing about myself: I'm a happier and better person when I'm not living in Britain.
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BoneyCork wrote:*After visiting Yokosuka in Japan a couple of years back, getting to HK will mark the second stage of my secretly imposed geeky Shenmue fanboy pilgrimage. I'll definitely be making a trip to Guilin within the next 2 years for great successes!
Me and my gf were looking at trips to China and such, the lady at the travel agent brought up Kowloon. As soon as she said that I went "Kowloon!?" and my gf asked why, I told her it was in Shenmue. She rolled her eyes at me. :lol:
:D Sadly since the 80s Kowloon seems to be the one place that has changed the most. They pretty much levelled most of the place and built a lot of skyscrapers. I would have loved to walk around those oldschool apartment blocks, but most of them have gone. :(
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