May 28, 2010

The Job Hunt (I pull my hair out, just a little)

I wish I could paint a better picture of this process. Nick and I sit in a dusty, dignified library, spinning a globe and letting our fingers land on random spots. "Let's go tooo..... Corsica!" "How aboouuut..... Hanoi!"

It doesn't really work like that.

My sensible job-application photo, complete with choirgirl hair and a modest Fraulein Maria looking blouse.

We've decided that Japan will be our next destination, which is suuuperexciting - back to East Asia! After all, East Asia jobs are the honeypots, right? Big salaries, furnished apartments, hardworking, disciplined students. I can loll around under the cherry blossoms, eating sheets of seaweed as though they were Pringles. 

But it's 2010, grasshopper, and you have to sing for your supper these days. Gone is the era of "you're North American? White? Not grotesque? When can you start?!" East Asia's "anyone with a pulse" teaching rep is fast becoming outdated. Now,  there are hoops to jump. 

My application-writing face. In my jammies. Why do I overshare?

I remember when peers in South Korea would apply for new jobs, and moan about the new requirement; a police check from your hometown, which takes about an hour's worth of effort to obtain. Pshaw, I say in hindsight. Japanese companies want references! Essays! All-day group interviews! Japan-based ESL discussion boards are full of comments like "after working so hard on my sample lesson plan, I never got a call back!" 

I think we have good qualifications; teaching certificates and a few years' experience. Though there's talk of the Japanese market being saturated, I'm sure we can find something. Still, we sure aren't cherry-picking in this market.

Granted, this process is probably a good one. After all, the amount of sheer effort required in these applications may very well weed out the "I hear sake is cheaper than water" crowd.  I understand that employers have to hedge their bets before investing in a teacher. You want to make sure you're not ending up with a dud/alcoholic/perv after bankrolling all the visas/apartments/airport pickups in your foreign teacher's contract. If I ran a language school, I'd screen and screen my out-of-country applicants too.

So with respect for the process, I'm back to the essay-writing. Wish me luck, blogworld. 


  1. JAPAN! My brother was there for like 3 years and he still talks about how much he misses it. How long will you go for?

  2. Japan would be silly not to take on Fraulein Anne! Luck! Luck, luck, luck!

  3. As jobs dry up or just fail to appear in North America, the numbers of fresh-faced graduates looking for work in South Korea or Japan are overwhelming. However, out of the 100 or so foreign teachers in my small city, there only 5 of us planning to stay for another year. I'm not sure how that compares to Japan, but in my opinion, applicants like you would be snapped up. What? Experience! TESL! Youth! Beauty! Multiple languages (or parts thereof)! Tolerance of ambiguity! No sweat Anne - you're in. See you in Japan or Busan.

  4. Haha - application-writing face! I don't think this is oversharing. It's entertainment.

  5. You should just move to Japan and find a job once you get there! There are a lot more jobs to be found if you move there first. That's what I did in 2008 and found a job within two days. Check out if you haven't yet already.

    But you'll find a're female! They're dying for women teachers over there. DYING.

    Where in Japan were you thinking of going?