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The Japan Times on the end of GEOS

The Japan Times ran a curious post mortem on GEOS. After reading it, I'm left with the sense that everybody is disappointed the company didn't implode like Nova. If you've been following the bankruptcy, the articles doesn't add a lot of new information. It's a fairly long read, so let's look at it.

I agree with Ken Worsely's assessment of the factors in GEOS's end:

"Asymmetry in supply and demand (help explain the bankruptcy)," says Worsley. "The number of new students registering at conversation schools has declined in five of the past six years, and fell by 35.7 percent last year. At the same time, revenue at such schools has fallen by somewhere around 40 percent in the past four years."

"The demand for these services is shrinking due to a number of factors, including economic conditions, public perception of the industry . . . stricter consumer protection laws, the decreasing effectiveness of relying on sales of large contracts as a business model, and others," he adds.

The article then gets into a G.communication memo that shows that it agreed with GEOS to take over its operations four days before the bankruptcy was announced. To that, Adam Richards adds:

"Geos seems to have done relatively well by students and teachers by finding a backer before announcing the bankruptcy," he says. "That said, Nova's messy bankruptcy was such a nightmare Geos can't help but look better by comparison."

G.communication President Hideo Sugimoto pretty much said the same thing--that he took on GEOS to protect the students. I think Adam has it wrong here. GEOS didn't find a backer. Management was divided as to whether it should file for bankruptcy to the point that ex-GEOS president, Tsuneo Kusunoki is contesting the bankruptcy. Rather than finding a backer, G.communication saw an opportunity to take over a failing company.

No sooner does Adam say that things have turned out well for students and teachers, the article contradicts him:

After the bankruptcy, confusion among staff ensued.

"At this point, the GCI has been completely decimated," Junichiro Kase of GCI, Geos' corporate arm, wrote to teachers in an e-mail leaked to The Japan Times. "Our clients are outraged and our teachers left on standby."

In another mail, a member of the Geos human resources team wrote: "All of us in our division were dismissed. . . . At this moment, we don't know who will take over these positions (in HR), but someone in G.education or someone from our division will continue (to manage teachers' schedules)."

The worker also said that in the initial days of administration, no HR employees were allowed to talk to staff or access their offices without special permission.

For teachers, the situation was equally grim: The Kobayashi memo explained that employees' wages for hours already worked were not guaranteed to be paid, and that all staff were dismissed as of April 21. While some of those teachers now work for the reopened company under G.communication, 99 schools — employing 483 people — were closed down by Geos.

"The company said it was proud to have me working there, as an example of just how much students could achieve through study," says Ricardo Paes, a fluent English-speaking Geos teacher from Portugal. "That didn't change the way I was treated during the bankruptcy, though."

And this:

"In the days after the bankruptcy, we have been kept in the dark, we were stalled, and that seems to have been to keep control," he says. Despite this, he opted to sign the new three-month contract with G.communication. Hong did not.

"After the meeting with the new company, I felt the terms G.communication was offering were very vague," Hong says. "It felt like too big a risk to stay with them."

The article also goes on to describe the vague, one-page contract GEOS teachers were given. Combined with the above, it doesn't sound like things have turned out well for teachers.

I thought this was an insightful observation:

"There are two massive problems with eikaiwa policies: tie-ins (which commit students to staying at the same school for long lengths of time) and a complete lack of pricing transparency," says 39-year-old Patrick Sheriff, the founder of Tower English, a conversation school in Abiko, Chiba Prefecture. "It's ironic because they demand long-term commitment from their customers but, as many of our students have told us, they can't keep hold of their native English teachers."

That is eikaiwa in a nutshell--take the money up front and demand long-term commitment from students while treating the teachers as disposable employees.

Japan Economy News' Worsley agrees that the eikaiwa schools need to change to survive.

"The industry itself will continue to shrink as does the population and number of younger people in Japan. In order to avoid disappearing, language school operators are going to have to embrace new technologies, diversify their products and services, and appeal to new market segments," he says.

I have no idea what Ken is talking about here. This is the standard throw away comment you get from the talking heads on cable news. Embrace new technologies, diversify their products and service and appeal to new market segments? Baloney. The large eikaiwas have already been offering lessons over the Internet and appealing to different age groups has always been part of their renewal campaign strategies. Does Ken mean moving to Skype or a virtual classroom such as Moodle? The large eikaiwas have failed because of their greed and unscrupulous business practices. With Nova, it was the unfair refund policy and charging its customers outrageous prices for videophone systems they didn't necessarily want. More recently, with Fortress Japan, it was their pressure sales tactics and outright fraud. If the large eikaiwas are to change anything, they can start by having a more transparent pricing and refund policy, and try being honest with their staff and customers.

This, I don't get:

Despite criticisms leveled at G.communication on popular Web sites such as Let's Japan of disorganization and putting profit before quality and teachers rights, the demand for lessons remains, and the teachers The Japan Times spoke to about current conditions at Nova were generally satisfied.

What do all of the criticisms posted here on Let's Japan have to do with the demand for English lessons and job satisfaction? The answer is nothing, because the author is making a false equivalency. The fact that eikaiwa gets scrutinized here has nothing to do with demand or job satisfaction. When Chris and I created LJ 10 years, we did so to tell others the reality of eikaiwa. Sorry it's not all green tea and onsens. Is it possible, that people might actually enjoy their eikaiwa jobs? Absolutely.

This apparently is supposed to be an example of job satisfaction:

"The bankruptcy shook off a lot of the frat boys and the people just out of college looking to have fun for a year," said one teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing a reprimand. "The teaching at Nova has much improved because the staff that have remained tend to have a longer-term investment in this country.

"My salary is as good as it has ever been. In the days of Nova, there were too many people collecting high salaries but doing very little. It seemed that departments in the company such as HR were very bloated," he added.

I find this passage ironic. It also illustrates why eikaiwia get criticized here. The teacher may be well-paid, but his employer clearly has him under their thumb as he fears being reprimanded for speaking out. Eikaiwas depend on useful idiots like this teacher so they can offer vague contracts and working conditions that benefit the employer, not the employee.

"When Nova came down, it was a huge story, it seemed to be big in Japan and internationally," says Hong. "I remember embassies and other organizations offering help to those that lost their jobs. Geos has been a strange situation; nobody knows where they stand. Some people are in the same situation as the Nova teachers were, but they aren't receiving the same help."

So, in the end, there's this sense of a let-down. The GEOS bankruptcy hasn't been the media spectacle like Nova's collapse. Nobody is teaching for food in a park and the students haven't really lost their tuition fees. Perhaps the author was trying to offer a balanced view by conveying the message that things aren't so bad, but on the other hand, there's loads of information that suggests otherwise. One thing is clear, however: the old model of large schools demanding upfront payments is dead. Maybe that's where the confusion comes from. Nobody is really sure what the next incarnation of eikaiwa will be.

Comments

"My salary is as good as it has ever been".

Bullshit!!!

I neither personally know, or know of, a single person (J-staff, former management people, instructors) whose salary is as good as it was before.

Perhaps if you include the "incentives" and the 200 yen yakiniku coupons you might find some people who feel that they are doing "OK" but I don't know anyone who would say "My salary (cold, hard CASH) is as good as it has ever been".

Just my two cents worth.

Whoever said their salary was as good as it had ever been was either lying or not getting much money in the first place.

"My salary is as good as it has ever been. In the days of Nova, there were too many people collecting high salaries but doing very little. It seemed that departments in the company such as HR were very bloated,"

Nonsense, I worked for both old-NOVA and G. Communication. G. Communication is worse in alot of ways....with very few teacher managers in the company has resulted in poor supervision of the schools which in turn resulted in low quality lessons and low dress standards....which has resulted in a drop in student satisfaction. I mentioned before, in detail in another post about the student to teacher ratio at the school...if it gets too low....then a teacher has to leave or the school has no teachers and relies on a rotation of teachers..this also impacts student satisfaction. My old school in Mie had over 250 students and 5 teachers in early 2008..today there are no more than 50 paying students and no teachers...the school relies solely on a rotation of teachers from Nagoya and Gifu...I contribute the drop to low student satisfaction with cost cutting G. Communication management, low teacher morale, no teacher stability, cheap looking schools and classrooms which make students wonder if G. Com is a the right choice for them. The company cut costs soo deep and for soo long, that is has affected its growth potential and business model. You cant keep running your business on cost cutting...money made from cost cutting is NOT profit.

One thing I hate about G. Communication is the illegal clause in a G. Communication contract stipulating a 25,000yen penalty for missing a day work including another 12,000yen penalty which is the teachers daily pay...for almost 37,000yen...just for missing one day. You cannot use a vacation day for being sick. If anyone says they are Happy at G. Com is a paid liar and/or a big fool. Working at G. Com is like working in the dark...you never know what sneaky tricks G. Com will come up with to save money...its a real uncomfortable environment. You have to watch your back and watch your mouth in this company.
Its true, that at old-Nova some teachers who had been employed with the company for several years in the 1990s and early 2000s collected monthly raises and their salaries were high. I knew one teacher (non-management)at old-Nova who worked for the company more than 12 years was collecting more than 440,000yen a month before the bankruptcy...that was a bit ridiculous. At G. Communication...you get 250,000yen and that will never, ever change...ever...if anything the company is looking for ways to deduct money from your salary to save money.

There are quite a few teachers now taking on private students for food or rent money as our April salaries weren't paid.Who knows when we'll get paid next or if we'll still have a job in 3 months. Some of my students have been offering me food and housing while I wait to get some money. I got out a couple of weeks back and now I have a new job. You better ask a lot of questions like did your rent money get paid to Leos Palace? Nova teachers were scammed out of the same situation.Students know what is going on and mine will not renew.

To anyone stooping to teaching for food or other charity, there is nothing so wonderful about Japan that makes it worth that! For heaven's sake! Go home, China or somewhere else!

From description above, G comm does not sound like it is offering an environment that will attract new students. Are they really getting many people to sign up or are most of the students there those from the pre-gcomm days?

Does anyone know if and when ex and current teachers will be getting the paperwork they need to take to Hello Work?
Release letters and such things which I cannot remember how to spell in Japanese.

Does anyone know if and when ex and current teachers will be getting the paperwork they need to take to Hello Work?
Release letters and such things which I cannot remember how to spell in Japanese.

Are you waiting for your Letter of Release from GEOS?? That might be near impossible since G. Com took over. They are famous for with holding documentation...even though you have a legal right to those documents. When I worked for G. Com until last year... after 6 months of their BS I decided to quit...and gave them 6 weeks notice..thats more than the 30 days notice they ask you for...I sent to head office by fax by official resignation with a request for a Letter of Release and was told I would get the LOR 10 days after I leave...but they NEVER sent me the LOR...I had called them and emailed them dozens and dozens of time after I left...and my requests were ignored. I know I wasnt the only person to have this happen to by G. Com.

When I got my visa renewed with another company, immigration intially refused to renew my visa, because I didnt have a Letter of Release from my original sponser...G. Com. I NEVER got my Letter of Release from them and I had a J-friend write me a one page explanation in Japanese to immigartion as to why I didnt have a LOR ...and they grudgingly accepted my application after the lengthy explantion. Even though G. Com is legally required to give me a LOR within 10 days of my departure and immigration acted like that was my totally problem and my fault. I cant be held responsible if a company I work for doesnt fulfill its legal obligations.....but trying telling that to immigration.

   Good Luck getting anything out of G. Com...these bastards could care less about you and flaunt the law at the same time. Getting documents from them will be a major pain in the ass!!

My sincere advice, dont work for these assholes...you`ll regret it.

I don't work for them as I did not sign the contract. So I need a letter of release from GEOS.

The contract G.Com offered was too vague and I do not wish to work for a company that does not inspire trust. That and the students don't trust them either and I really think that the school I worked for will lose about 30% of the students in the coming months, and if G.Com is true to the "no one person classes that aren't private" then about one third of the initial classes would be axed anyway.
Anyway, I already have a part time fixed so now I'm just going to fill up my schedule... But I need/Want that release letter and any other documents to ask for part of my unpaid salary... Because when push comes to shove I've been working since the 21st of March for free, its a long time... Add commuting and meal expenses to that, I'd have been better off sleeping all day at home.

But as you stated, VISA issues: that exactly why I need my release letter, because of immigration. I still have a few months left on my visa but I will try to sponsor my own visa, I know people who have done it and it's not all that hard if you have your paperwork in order... I am very thorough with everything, I keep all my payslips (and copies...) and everything else.
I will need that letter, so I would really like to get my hands on it.
They told staff either someone from ex GEOS/the lawyer/G.Com would give me the letter... But then they said a lot of bull sh*t, so I don't really know what to expect.

Did you receive the letter with information regarding Housing, Document Requests and Unpaid Wages? I got it in the mail, dated April 30. In case you didn't, it says that "The Letter of Release is expected to be sent to all ex-employees by May 15th, at the latest."
But as for the "Separation Notice for Unemployment Insurance" (I'm assuming we need that for Hello Work...) "...will only be sent to those ex-employees who request it." We need to request it by sending a letter to:

GEOS General Affairs Department
Towa Miyamasuzaka Bldg. 10F
1-14-9 Shibuya
Shibya-ku, Tokyo
150-0002

Also, as stated in the letter, there will be a "Designated Telephone Line for Ex-Employees" open from May 6. The number is 03-5468-6592 (Weekdays 12:00-21:00 ...Until the Resignation Process is Completed)

There's also a bit about "Regarding Unpaid Wages":
"Currently, the administrative trustee is preparing the necessary documents for applying for the unpaid wages. There is a section on the documents that need to be filled out by the (ex-)employee and sent back. A sample of how to complete this section will be sent along with a deadline date of when the document needs to be sent back."

...I hope they get all this out to us ASAP. I mailed my request for the Separation Notice today. Let's see how long it'll take to receive it.

Thats funny.. I did the same thing a few weeks (request the same document) via email and have yet to get a response. The only reason I decided to do this was because I discovered recently that I did NOT receive it last year when I quit. And these guys have decided to take over yet another failed company... blows my mind. The BS and unlawful practices they can get away with are MINDBLOWING!

If you don't get your papers from Geos or Gcom you better go speak to the Labor ward. They will contact the respective parties and put the pressure on.

I was a bit disappointed to see Adam from mutant frog being quoted for that Japan Times piece. I like his blog and read it regularly but his couple of blog posts certainly don't make him qualified enough to be quoted as an expert.

If you don't get your papers from Geos or Gcom you better go speak to the Labor ward. They will contact the respective parties and put the pressure on.

You mean the Labor Standards Inspection Office?? These are the folks that investigate labor violations in Japan. They are a laughing stock. They wont even lift a finger to help anybody. They wont pressure or put so much as a strain on any company in Japan. The most they do is give warnings, which are ignored. Just google the illegal G. Com contracts which penalizes a worker out of 40,000yen...the General Union even has this fact on their website. The government and the Labor Standards Inspection Office has told G. Com that it violates Japan Labor Laws and its illegal, but nothing has ever happened and the illegal behavior still continues.

Last year, I went to Labor Standards Inspection Office in Nagoya to file a formal complaint about G. Com and how they refused to give me my legally entitled "Letter of Release"...they( Labor Standards Inspection Office )told me to call them and ask for it...I had to keep my temper in check with that retarded comment, but I proceded to tell the Labor Standards Inspection Office how I have called and emailed more than 30 times over the past 3 months and my requests were ignored...the workers at Labor Standards Inspection Office rolled their eyes and had an attitude of `I dont give a damn` and gave a me a form to fill out and told me it would take 6 weeks to investigate it...6 weeks later...I called them...they said they needed another 30 days...after 30 days I called again and was told the matter was given to another department, but they couldnt tell me the name of the department or the inspector....basically...my complaint was "LOST" or trashed. So, GOOD LUCK trying to get the Labor Standards Inspection Office to do anything for you...because they wont. Teachers are not the only people who get screwed over by their employers...J-people get ripped off and shit on by their employers and the Labor Standards Inspection Office wont do a damn thing about it. Thats because they CANT do anything...the laws are written in favor of the company and NOT the workers..the most the Labor Standards Inspection Office can do is issue a warning, but they usually give a polite phone call reminding the said company of the law....thats it.

I know this is hard to believe, but my salary under G.Comm went UP,as opposed to down, like.... oh probably 99% of instructors.

Perhaps the fact that I was late a couple times under old NOVA might have had something to do with my salary not increasing.... lol

Then what would be a good country to live in as an English teacher?

Anon:
Sure I am not an expert, but I was asked for my perspective and gave it. I think the author of the article would have done well to talk to Shawn.

If I may respond to the part that's specifically about my quote:
I don't think it's wrong to say the Geos fallout is ever-so-slightly less shitty than what happened with Nova, and is it really necessary to split hairs about whether Geos "found" a backer or whether G.Com is an opportunistic shark? In the end, it seems like the right call. As some of your commenters have attested, a soft landing at G.Com at least gives them an income while they consider their options.

But if I were in their position the last place I would want to go is China. I'd say try Thailand - I used to live there and it's a beautiful and energetic country with many of the comforts of the West- but you might want to wait until their political situation calms down a bit.

If you can live on $200 a month Thailand is good but if you need a salary then you gotta go where the money is.

Some of the labor wards don't give a rats, but some do. I guess it depends on the workers.
Ask your local ward's counselling service. They told me which labor wards to contact and they have been very helpful. The Japanese staff I know have also been going to the Labor ward.

A backer and an opportunistic shark aren't the same thing, so I don't think it's a matter of splitting hairs. Perhaps backer is the wrong word here. Had GEOS found a backer, it wouldn't have gone bankrupt, Kusunoki would still have his job, plus he would be gloating in front of the cameras about how he saved the company. Instead, the opposite has happened. The fact that Kusunoki is contesting the bankruptcy should tell you that management was divided and that there was probably some (a lot?) infighting going on behind the scenes.

That said, I agree that the outcome is a little better compared to Nova, but not by much.

Shawn
Let's Japan.org::Blog

To anyone stooping to teaching for food or other charity, there is nothing so wonderful about Japan that makes it worth that! For heaven's sake! Go home, China or somewhere else!

To be fair, some of these people teaching for food (and cans of chu-hi in some documented cases), in parks, etc - just like in the case of NOVA - simply cannot go back to their home countries. You would be surprised at the amount of teachers who basically HAVE to stay in Japan to avoid warrants for their arrest back home, bankruptcies, massive debt, student loans, family has disowned them etc. Many of these teachers are not staying due to a love of Japanese culture etc - but a fear of the consequences of going home.

My advice is simple: DON'T sign up for G-Cum - find a couple of part-time gigs, and supplement that with privates. Spread the risk around and earn most of your yen under the table.

Other than that, skip China or Korea - go to Thailand, people. It has great weather, Thai women, awesome food, Thai women, fantastic beaches, cheap living...and ummm Thai women. Things you can't get in Japan!

Then what would be a good country to live in as an English teacher?

Well, I will treat this as a serious question. All questions are good questions in the classroom, right?

If you ARE an English teacher, that is, educated and certified to teach the language, you have several options depending on the extent of your credentials - including, most likely, your own native country. Community colleges pay quite well, but typically require a Masters in TESL.

If you are not an actual teacher, and your experience is limited to reading from a textbook or doing a monologue in the classroom for an hour or so, your options are far more limited. Countries that are still accepting inexperienced and uncertified non-professionals include China, Taiwan and Korea. Saudi Arabian concerns consistently advertise ESL positions, but they typically require rather high standards. I seem to recall that GEOS had agents in Mexico and Brazil; perhaps, indicative that those countries might have home-grown English schools.

Letter from "GEOS General Affairs Dep't"?

Did you receive the letter with information regarding Housing, Document Requests and Unpaid Wages? I got it in the mail, dated April 30. In case you didn't, it says that "The Letter of Release is expected to be sent to all ex-employees by May 15th, at the latest."
But as for the "Separation Notice for Unemployment Insurance" (I'm assuming we need that for Hello Work...) "...will only be sent to those ex-employees who request it." We need to request it by sending a letter to:

GEOS General Affairs Department
Towa Miyamasuzaka Bldg. 10F
1-14-9 Shibuya
Shibya-ku, Tokyo
150-0002

Also, as stated in the letter, there will be a "Designated Telephone Line for Ex-Employees" open from May 6. The number is 03-5468-6592 (Weekdays 12:00-21:00 ...Until the Resignation Process is Completed)

There's also a bit about "Regarding Unpaid Wages":
"Currently, the administrative trustee is preparing the necessary documents for applying for the unpaid wages. There is a section on the documents that need to be filled out by the (ex-)employee and sent back. A sample of how to complete this section will be sent along with a deadline date of when the document needs to be sent back."

...I hope they get all this out to us ASAP. I mailed my request for the Separation Notice today. Let's see how long it'll take to receive it.

That is the number of old GEOS and the building they moved to recently...
Has anyone managed to get through or get any other info?

Everything they say... I just don't know, all I can think about is that these are the same people who told me less than 24 hours before I was fired that everything was OK. And maybe they didn't know or were pressured, but hell, how is the current info any different? What stops them from throwing me out tomorrow on my (already) bare ass?

intersting thread on kuchikomi

seems to be naming names

http://search.knowledgecommunication.jp/kuchikomi/s1050/#20056

I suppose that the perceived agenda here is to bash GEOS, its antecedents, and/or successors. If, unlike all blog sites in which I have participated, Let's Japan moderates or deletes any posts which express a view contrary to that of the blog owner then it is not a true blog at all. That being said, I have seen absolutely no evidence of these things happening at Let's Japan.

On the other hand, there is a venomous demeanor among the site's participants that clearly shows a lack of tolerance for any view at all different from one's own views. I find it pathetic and telling that so many here resort to argumentum ad hominem (that is, attacking the person rather than his opinions).

In any event, in this the postmortem era of GEOS, it could very well be, unless Let's Japan reinvents itself, that it does not matter. If there is no one, no business entity called GEOS to attack then what? Many would have little cause to visit this site if the perceived agenda is to pray for the fall of GEOS. Well, it has happened. That begs the question, "What now?" Perhaps, in this period of confusion and stagnation, we can better appreciate the rush to find new GEOS proxies to criticize, to spew with venom and disdain. Thus, we attack G-Com, or even reach back into history and recount the passing of Nova. As eikaiwa targets pass into oblivion, many here simply resort to attacking each other. And so, we see the almost daily ranting and verbal fist fights between the perceived victims of Japan and the perceived victims of GEOS NA. How silly that we find we must argue how we suffer more than the other or are superior somehow to the other.

Ah, such is pathos. Perhaps, it is the time to let a horse be dead, and go on. What do you say?

2:19 What are you ranting about? Seriously, that had to be one of the most vague posts I have ever seen on here? Your view or purpose for posting was not clear at all.

On state I do take issue with one of your statements: "the perceived victims of Japan and the perceived victims of GEOS NA." Perceived? Sorry, but the victims were the teachers who lost there jobs and pay; the students who were scammed pre-paid tuition by unscrupulous GEOS management even when they knew the sky was falling; and an industry's reputation that was further tarnished. And the fall of GEOS North America is right around the corner...Sorry, but that is not perceived.

My post at 2:19 now looks out of context. Here is why. I was responding to two post above mine that had mentioned or accused Let's Japan of deleting posts that it did not like. I mentioned that "I have seen absolutely no evidence of these things happening at Let's Japan."

I now recant. The reason is simple. The posts which accused Let's Japan of "a secret agenda" were deleted. However, it is still clear that people on either side of the Pacific do, in fact, go at each other mercilessly. You don't agree? You are free to disagree, but I think you are guilty of some hyperbole when you accuse me of ranting.

rant (intransitive verb) - to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory way.

10:20 Obviously, from the silence on the board about "deleted posts", no one cares about this topic. Sorry, but I think it was settled a few days ago.

Actually, all a person mentioned was some posts got deleted and they were right...Shawn said he cleaned up the board. There were others that were deleted a while ago, and some that should have been deleted (repetitive writing ones) that did not get deleted...But in the end, Shawn admitted to deleting certain ones and everything was fine and we moved on...

Hope that helps clarify your confusion.

To Anonymous at 9:25: About perception. you misunderstood me. I used the word "perception" in the context of North Americans perceiving that they were somehow MORE of a victim than those in Japan (and vice versa). I never said categorically that anyone, on either side of the Pacific were not victims.

Here is what I said, "How silly that we find we must argue how we suffer more than the other or are superior somehow to the other."

Hope this clears things up for you.

There was one post that accused Let's Japan of having a "secret agenda". Thus, I wrote a post in defense of Let's Japan.

You did not clear up anything for me as I was never confused about anything. Thanks anyway.

Who cares? Seriously, no one on here.

I've been on plenty of fully moderated professional forums, where people complain about any little failing in ettiquette. This site is a nice mix of useful info and entertaining fluff. Keep up the good work.

GEOS has gone, Nova went, nobody gives two shits about GEOS NA. Looks like this site (or at least my interest in it) has run its course. So long GEOS, it was fun while it lasted. Thank you for some of the best, worst and downright craziest years of my twenties.

Good luck to everyone, so long and thanks for all the fish!

Yes - it is over. Has been fun. Goodbye. Back to something more constructive and sorry to all the NA staff and students who, barring a miracle are about to be displaced. Echo the hitchhiker sentiment as the dolphins departed the earth. So long and thanks for all the fish too

GEOS has gone, Nova went, nobody gives two shits about GEOS NA. Looks like this site (or at least my interest in it) has run its course. So long GEOS, it was fun while it lasted.

Yep, I'm outta here too. Pretty much all the big Eikaiwa chains have gone down, and this site has now sadly lost it's relevance and Raison d'être. The site is now kind of redundant - sorry to break the news to you Shawn.

I have throughly enjoyed the ride - watching the big Eikaiwas go down in flames. It was pure entertainment, and I thank Shawn and all the contributors for this.

I guess the only thing left now would be for Shawn to start ripping into the small "mom and pop" schools and name and shame them? That would be nice!

Thanks for the memories,

Lord Phlegming

Pretty much all the big Eikaiwa chains have gone down, and this site has now sadly lost it's relevance and Raison d'être. The site is now kind of redundant - sorry to break the news to you Shawn.

How do you come to that conclusion? G.communication are still running NOVA and GEOS schools, and last I heard AEON and ECC were still in business. Eikaiwa may be headed down the toilet, but the flush hasn't been pulled quite yet.

Said Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till the fat lady has sung." Well, for me the fat lady has sung. No more GEOS, so Let's Japan will either reinvent itself or go the way of the saber tooth tiger. Now, there's nothing left to prey on and the tiger's got no teeth.

I love how all the people come on here talking about how they are leaving this board, etc., etc. Why talk about it? Just leave! Good for you, you are leaving....You want a biscuit or something? Seriously, some people just hate that others are on here and at the end of the day they were right. GEOS failed/ is failing. Do not like to hear it, move on. But please do not try to play some junior school peer pressure thing.

By the way, if no one gave "two shits" about GEOS NA than why are so many posts on here are about GEOS NA? Why do you keep telling us how much you do not care...Good for you. The reality is people obviously do not care about GEOS Japan anymore because it is finished...GEOS NA is the next big story as it is still surviving but not for much longer.

Great board, Shawn, and in the end you and many others were right about GEOS. Hence why you do not see any GEOS managers and only the odd troll on here...Maybe they are still trying to get their feet out of their mouths. ;-)

Well, AEON is still around. And GEOS Japan is semi-around. Looks like at the end of the day only GEOS NA will be completely gone. Maybe that is why some people are griping and bitching about Shawn and this board for calling it a long time ago. Sucks to be wrong, I guess.

Hmm yes, odd that people come on here announcing their departure, and the alleged demise of Lets Japan. Could it be that they're pissed off about this site broadcasting the demise of GEOS in such a graphic way, and have to get one last shot back at Shawn?

This site will continue to serve a purpose and have followers, so long as eikaiwa and ALT are around. I think it'll be around for some time yet.

Actually, they probably blame Shawn for the bankruptcy of GEOS. Like, if this site hadn't existed, the word about GEOS' troubles wouldn't have gotten out there, and it'd still be alive and kicking now.

Great board, Shawn, and in the end you and many others were right about GEOS. Hence why you do not see any GEOS managers and only the odd troll on here...Maybe they are still trying to get their feet out of their mouths. ;-)

I've said it before, but I'll reiterate it here again: if you have something to contribute to the discussion, it won't be deleted. But at least have a point. Trolling and attacks on me or other commenters are going to get deleted. It's that simple. All you need to do is exercise a little common sense. I realize that the signal to noise ration might not be great here, but that's the price of having an open comment policy.

Shawn
Let's Japan.org::Blog

I know of a few that blame Shawn and Let's Japan (and just about everyone else but themselves) for the collapse of GEOS. Typical GEOS management style. Never their fault.

Well, GEOS internationally is almost gone. Let's Japan is still here. ;-)

I suppose one day this site will be gone. Who knows when? Maybe I really should look into changing that tag line: Let's Japan.org: Nothing to see here. Move along...

Shawn
Let's Japan.org::Blog

To Shawn and those interested: I will be monitoring GEOS Canada on the ground, in one of the school cities. If anything happens, I will get it up on this board ASAP. Maybe even send Shawn a pic.

Ggg

Thanks for volunteering. It'll be interesting to see what happens. Pictures, of course, are always welcome.

Shawn
Let's Japan.org::Blog

What the....????? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !

Pfft! Pfft! Pfft!

Nova Ducky

I for one laughed my ass off when I heard the news about GEOS falling over. Made me feel all fuzzy wuzzy inside. Time to celebrate ! PARTY PARTY PARTY !!!!

Oh yeah, you bet ya !

Nova Ducky

After finally getting through to the knuckleheads at GEOS so called helpline (03-5468-6592 Weekdays 12:00-21:00 ...Until the Resignation Process is Completed). They divulged some information about the lawyer who is handling the case. The contact info for the lawyer is one of the Kobyashis (there are two) and this site http://www.law.gr.jp/index.html. Not sure if this will provide any help. I am still royally pissed off at the lack of cooperation from the idiots at the labor office and want my PAY for April. When I called Geos's helpline one of the girls actually laughed about me asking for my letter of release and unemployment document. Apparently in her sick retarded brain she found it humorous that I was in need of a paycheck along with many others. Man I really hate this country.

Any U.S. Citizen that is really desperate can head to an Embassy or Consulate for a plane ride home. I was told by a consulate staff they would only pay for a one-way ticket, which is astronomically expensive (2,000 to 3,000 dollars). The U.S. government will then take all your info along with your passport (think of your passport as collateral) and issue you a temporary passport. Your new admission ticket will get you back onto American soil and you can enjoy the ride. You cannot apply for another passport until you pay back the cost of the flight home to the government. You have approximately 90 days to pay the loan back or lookout for MR. INTEREST to come knocking on your door. Still I think the U.S. and other western countries is about the same as Japan where the economy is in the crapper too. You have some rights in most western countries, more rights than in Japan and more jobs available to you than being a talking monkey for the amusement of Japanese. Japanese people don't care about a Gaijin without a job or a Gaijin about to be homeless. We are foreigners and we are meant to be disposable in the eyes of Japanese. People that believe the opposite, better lay off the Kool-Aid you've been drinking here. You have to admit that at least back home we have some rights, and to me that is better than none.

I know of a few that blame Shawn and Let's Japan (and just about everyone else but themselves) for the collapse of GEOS. Typical GEOS management style. Never their fault.

Well, GEOS internationally is almost gone. Let's Japan is still here. ;-)

Everyone always needs a scapegoat, and for GEOS managers and die-hards, Shawn and Lets Japan are a convenient target for their ire. When you think about it though, it's not so much Shawn as the people contributing that have simply brought information to people's attention.

Back in September/October, I think it was Nova Whiz who pointed out that a comment about late salary payment for managers was added, then deleted, from the GEOS Wikipedia entry. That started the ball rolling - alright, there was a lot of hysteria and nonsense in the meantime, but in amongst it were genuine posts giving out information on the situation.

Personally, I think it's a good thing that this site exists, in order to let people know what's going on. I'm sure this site has saved some GEOS people from a worse fate. The info and warnings given on here hopefully persuaded them to make contingency plans for what was to come.

17:49 This site has done a lot to warn others about the perils of working for GEOS. I know of a few that have avoided GEOS like the plague in NA and for good reason.

While there might be some "hysteria", it is usually for good reason. I have found the posts on here to almost. The only people who do not like it are the managers and other GEOS staff that use to be able to control the information surrounding GEOS...What we have learned is GEOS is very corrupt from the top to the bottom, and that is why it fell. Many of us insiders knew this already and we have posted a lot of very true information about GEOS managers/ directors and the like. While some posts can be written off, most are true and come from those who have been screwed over by GEOS and/ or seen others screwed over. We did not have a forum or power to make these happening public until Let's Japan enabled us. Too bad, GEOS. Your dirty little secrets got exposed.

More to come soon...

10:55 Thanks...I have posted several pieces of inside info over the past while. Things have gotten really quiet on my end lately (sources), so that usually means something is up. Can't guarantee something will happen on the 17th like someone posted, but if it does I will be on it...And maybe even have the info up (if I am lucky) before it is public. ;-)

Good on you. I hope people keep posting their experiences and information about the hand-over to G Com too. I'm sure there'll be more than a few shenanigans going on there!

The writing was on the wall as soon as the managers were paid late in the autumn. I'm sure this bankruptcy was announced now because they didn't have the cash in the coffers any more to pay the teachers on time (as they'd sucked it all out of Australia), and paying teachers late would have finished GEOS off completely. Anyone who couldn't see what was coming after all that's gone on, and kept telling themselves everything was going to be OK.... Well, you might get to keep your job with G Com, but then again, you might not. And where will you be then??

My advice, especially when it comes to operations like NOVA and GEOS, is to prepare for and expect the worst. That way, when the shit hits the fan, you won't be disappointed.

What, no late afternoon/ after work posts from GEOS NA staff anymore? Signs of what is to come, people.

The Japan Times ran an interview with the G.com CEO in which he said GEOS would be better for low-level students because it has Japanese English teachers and that NOVA was more suitable for higher-level students because all the teachers are native speakers. Guess what? I've been told about at least one Japanese teacher at GEOS who got fired because G.com only want native English speakers teaching lessons after all. However, I don't think it'll be long before we start hearing about the native speakers getting the same sort of treatment.

I was supposed to start working with GEOS this month when their bankruptcy problem emerged... and now I am being asked to continue teaching by signing the G.Com notice of working conditions! After reading all sorts of things here and there, I am thinking of turning it down. Any advice? Thanks!

Read back the last month or so on here and then tell us if you really want to work for GEOS.

I haven't gotten through to the number for ex teachers, its always busy...

I'd appreciate it if anyone had any advice on how to actually get the papers (or if they - miraculously - did receive them) to share the knowledge... I don't need insurance papers, just release letter and tax stuff, immigration can be a bit iffy when it comes to those!

Have a good week :D :D :D

Oh... And it would also be nice to know if people to get paid something, as promised, this weekend...

:)

The Managers did get paid on the 10th, albeit for only half a month. The company says they will pay teachers on the 14th.
As for the release letter, workers at the office in Tokushima are putting the letters together and will have them mailed out by May 15th.
If you want the UI paperwork you have to request the papers from GEOS, at the Tokyo address.
The bankruptcy trustee will include the paperwork to apply to the Jpns govt to recoup the lost wages ( but maybe only 80 % )

Personally, I think the demise of GEOS is as disaster for the eikaiwa industry. Thousands of hard-working, loyal teachers now face the prospect of being out of a job, and the knock-on impact on other eikaiwa makes things even harder for them. Worrying times indeed, and anyone who thinks otherwise and laughs over the demise of GEOS, IMHO, deserves to be shot. How callous can you be?

I totally agree, i lost my job because i refused to work with either of those bastards after the shady underhanded way they have screwed students and teachers.The tactics they used of putting a gun on the table and saying "ok continue or dont" to the teachers and giving them some flimsy contract. As for the students they grinned and smiled took there money even though they have been up shit creek for longer than anyone was truly aware of. Yes there were rumblings and some teachers got out as did students. Some didnt myself included, now i can kick myself for not however hindsight is 20-20.
I dont blame teachers for staying on with them, they were left with very little options. others who didnt sign good for you, takes balls to say fuck you. however now we pay the price in a declining market which is filled with distrust.
Geos was a good run for those who could deal with it and to anyone who has had a real job in there life, id say geos was cushy compared to real hard work(I am not discrediting esl teachers here however some teachers in geos taught about 3 lessons a day, usually fat useless cunts who lacked people skills to generate a conversation, but still got paid) I dont laugh at the demise of geos. However i will laugh in the future when they eventually go the way of the dinosaur
That which doesnt kill ya makes you stronger.

Sorry shawn ive been reading here since geos bit the dust, thought i should at least vent some frustration thanks

Personally, I think the demise of GEOS is as disaster for the eikaiwa industry. Thousands of hard-working, loyal teachers now face the prospect of being out of a job, and the knock-on impact on other eikaiwa makes things even harder for them . Worrying times indeed, and anyone who thinks otherwise and laughs over the demise of GEOS, IMHO, deserves to be shot. How callous can you be?

Don't feed the trolls, they love responses like this. I agree it's a disaster, as there will be teachers who lose their jobs that don't deserve to. There will also be managers and directors who got GEOS into the mess it was in, but G.communication will probably decide it needs their particular skills and expertise. Any NOVA teachers out there who actually think any of this is funny? Just you wait. In a few months G.com will be assessing the results of their GEOS venture and probably looking to make cuts, and they might very well decide you're excess baggage as well.

I am sorry, but you deserve to be laughed at. Anyone would think you sorry lot of retards actually seriously do believe that working in eikaiwa is a real job, and that you actually believe eikaiwa is a legitimate industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are all bonkers. The fact that you let your desire to stay in Japan fool you into believing you are more than a glorified burger flipper is astounding, as it is laughable. Talk about getting sucked in, hook line and sinker. It stands out like the dog’s balls what a joke eikaiwa is. No tears shed here for idiots that hung their hats on an imaginary coat hook, that 99% of the world is appalled by. You should all be celebrating because, and granted it may be painful for some to have reality forced on them before they are ready, you can now stop dicking around, and get real jobs, and have a real life. Good luck on what ever your journey turns out to be, you suckers. But hey, don’t worry, losing your job at GEOS and getting the hell out of eikaiwa will ultimately be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Good-bye GEOS – HA HA HA HA HA !

Pfft!

Nova Ducky

what exactly do you do nova ducky? since you are the expert why dont you share you obvious wealth of knowledge about the ESL caper.you seem to know everything so why dont you enlighten this forum with your wisdom. sounds like you are probably the most amazing teacher in the world and perhaps you have the greatest job in the whole teaching world. I am sooo curious about the greatness of a man who chooses a user name with Nova in it

Don't think that getting out of eikaiwa and getting a real job is a ticket to a better life, or success. On the contrary, judging by your barmy posts, eikaiwa's completely messed you up and you're now struggling to get along, all the while pretending to yourself that you're some sort of superior human being, when you're quite clearly down in the gutter with the wool pulled over your eyes as well.

It doesn't take much intelligence or insight to repeat the whole "eikaiwa isn't a real job and anyone who works in eikaiwa is a useless loser" line. People who do might be worth taking seriously if they could actually explain exactly why this is the case. Those who can't are obviously just trolls and should get their posts deleted for being morons with nothing better to do with their free time than write crap they probably wouldn't dare say out loud in an actual conversation.

The only reason people like Nova Ducky slag off eikaiwa workers is because they're desperately trying to convince themselves that they're above it all, that they're far too good for eikaiwa. In actual fact, they're in just the same boat as the eikaiwa teachers they slag off. If they really were any better off, they wouldn't feel the need to slate them on Internet message boards. They would have let it drop and got on with their lives an awfully long time ago.

You should all be celebrating because, and granted it may be painful for some to have reality forced on them before they are ready, you can now stop dicking around, and get real jobs, and have a real life. Good luck on what ever your journey turns out to be, you suckers. But hey, don’t worry, losing your job at GEOS and getting the hell out of eikaiwa will ultimately be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Comments like appear on LJ every week. I will post my comment again and again to people like this aussie Nova Ducky.

There are people lined up to get a job in Japan. Just read Gaijinpot for a few examples. People are desperate for work. Eikaiwa might not be a stable job or the best of jobs but they ARE JOBS and people need a job to live. Some people on are willing to drop $7,000 or more to fly to Tokyo or Osaka as a tourist and look for work for 3 months for a chance at a $2,500 a month gig for 30 hours a week. People who have lost their jobs in their respected professions and are well over qualified for eikaiwa are looking for work here, because they cant find work in their own countries due the harsh economic conditions. Westerners in Japan who once worked for big Banks, IT, and other professions that were paying $50,000 to $100,000 a year are now working for peanuts in eikaiwa or as an ALT to pay the bills and support their families.

Examples:

Look at this poor slob on Gaijipot from Oz on a WHV begging for work in Tokyo...its truly pathetic.

http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?85992-finding-a-job-in-tokyo-o...

Here is an example of a highly educated professional looking for work as an ALT or eikaiwa worker

http://forum.gaijinpot.com/showthread.php?85004-Taking-a-year-off-to-tea...

I can provide a long list of examples of people who are desperate for work in Japan or elsewhere.
You can put people down all you want, but due to the bad global economy, there will always be people lining up to eat the crumbs that eikaiwa companies throw away in Japan.

So, tell us Nova Ducky, what "real jobs" are you talking about??

Am curious for those who stayed on with gcom did they pay you at all?

Australia and NZ have turned the corner for employment. Unemployment in NZ fell 1 per cent in 3 months from 7 per cent to 6 per cent. I understand US has bottomed as well, and can Ireland go any lower? Surely going to Korea or China makes more sense now in any case. But people need to read this and other good blogs

Well, 10% unemployment in the U.S. Let's just say not many people happy with it or the current government, but that is a whole other story.

Anyway, how does this really relate to GEOS? Curious.

Thread police alert, keep track people or else!

8:26 Yeah, was in the U.S. last month to visit a friend and no one was happy with the current administration that I met. A little bit of a surprise, but not totally unexpected. Most say he is a one-termer due to his inability to solve the unemployment issue.

Maybe teaching in Japan doesn't sound like a bad idea after all. Although I now hear no one in Japan likes the current administration there either. And we all know how loyal those Japanese leaders are. The world is nuts.

Over 10 years ago, just build an Eikaiwa school, lo and behold a lot of students were coming to learn English. There were lots of schools coming out. Yeah, good old days. But those days are gone.

Things are different now.

Think of Aeon advertising everywhere like on the Net, on TV or trains. They advertise a lot, but their schools are not getting big. They are not getting lots of new students. They barely stay afloat with those CMs. They might have expected a lot more students coming in this spring season. They might have noticed by now that the Eikaiwa boom is over. Besides Geos going under affected prospective new students. Their CM expence won't be paying off.

Now how does Geos with no CM around can survive? What else can save Geos from going down? With no confidence, no trust, no CM and no・・・・・.

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