Anyone at Geos care to comment?

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Tall Tall Tree » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:28 am

Hmm. For whatever it's worth, here's the edit in question. As of this writing, it's the one and only edit of that editor.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by In The Know » Mon Oct 19, 2009 11:36 am

From that same source: "...the media mostly overlooked the case. In the same article, managers noted high staff-turnover and long working hours. However, a spokeswoman for the company insisted that GEOS, and the language learning industry as a whole, provided women with rare opportunities to begin business careers".

'rare opportunities' :roll: Who knew GEOS was a kindly benefactor and a Japanese career woman's best friend! It's unfortunate the media ignored/ is ignoring this... if it's true.

Anybody see anything on 2-channel about this GEOS cash crisis? You'd sure hate to see the students get wind of this and start a stampede toward the exits. :wink:
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by senseiman » Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:59 pm

In The Know wrote:From that same source: "...the media mostly overlooked the case. In the same article, managers noted high staff-turnover and long working hours. However, a spokeswoman for the company insisted that GEOS, and the language learning industry as a whole, provided women with rare opportunities to begin business careers".

'rare opportunities' :roll: Who knew GEOS was a kindly benefactor and a Japanese career woman's best friend! It's unfortunate the media ignored/ is ignoring this... if it's true.

Anybody see anything on 2-channel about this GEOS cash crisis? You'd sure hate to see the students get wind of this and start a stampede toward the exits. :wink:
Interestingly (well - interesting to me at least) the Japan Times article which is cited as the source of that information has its origins in the Let's Japan forums. The writer posted on here about 5 years ago requesting to interview people who knew about the Japanese staff's conditions at Eikaiwa. I volunteered and the first part of the article about the 27 year old teacher in Kansai is about me.

Anyway, about GEOS I can only say that I wouldn't be surprised if what was written was true. From anecdotal evidence it seems they are shutting branches left right and centre. When I went to visit my old branch in Akashi earlier this year I found that it was completely shut down and a friend I spoke to last week who came back to Japan after a 4 year absence told me that he had the exact same experience a few days ago when he went to visit his old GEOS branch.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by In The Know » Mon Oct 19, 2009 6:11 pm

senseiman wrote: From anecdotal evidence it seems they are shutting branches left right and centre. When I went to visit my old branch in Akashi earlier this year I found that it was completely shut down and a friend I spoke to last week who came back to Japan after a 4 year absence told me that he had the exact same experience a few days ago when he went to visit his old GEOS branch.
thanks, senseiman. The plot thickens. An ominous trend?
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Starblazer » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:20 am

In The Know wrote:
senseiman wrote: From anecdotal evidence it seems they are shutting branches left right and centre. When I went to visit my old branch in Akashi earlier this year I found that it was completely shut down and a friend I spoke to last week who came back to Japan after a 4 year absence told me that he had the exact same experience a few days ago when he went to visit his old GEOS branch.
thanks, senseiman. The plot thickens. An ominous trend?
I work for GEOS, won't say where, but yes things seem to be taking a turn for the worse. I know of one school where the manager disappeared and they haven't sent anyone or even talked about a new one coming. There were many Japanese teachers/managers whose pay was late in October/September due to not reaching the monthly goal. I know of many schools currently without managers and have even heard that in some smaller towns there are schools being run by a lone GEOS teacher.

Not sure what all this says about the health of the company but there are nasty rumours spreading amongst the staff...

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:54 am

Starblazer wrote:There were many Japanese teachers/managers whose pay was late in October/September due to not reaching the monthly goal. I know of many schools currently without managers and have even heard that in some smaller towns there are schools being run by a lone GEOS teacher.
Oooo, the plot thickens. Late pay is a bad sign. Remember that the same thing happened to the NOVA staff and then the instructors.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by MrX » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:35 am

Shawn wrote:
Starblazer wrote:There were many Japanese teachers/managers whose pay was late in October/September due to not reaching the monthly goal. I know of many schools currently without managers and have even heard that in some smaller towns there are schools being run by a lone GEOS teacher.
Oooo, the plot thickens. Late pay is a bad sign. Remember that the same thing happened to the NOVA staff and then the instructors.
Schools being staffed by as few teachers as possible is another page from NOVA's recipe for disaster. I can't see how there could be delayed salary payments if it was an effective strategy.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:31 pm

More grist for the mill: According to this message board [in Japanese], the staff were late in getting their August pay. One comment says GEOS phoned them at home to say that their salaries would be coming once the overseas schools wired the money (to Japan). A post dated 2009/09/30 21:44 says the staff still haven't been paid (as of Sept. 30) and that it's the second time this has happened. :willnilly: I'll have to blog this later tonight.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Sankyuberymucho » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:45 pm

Holy crap, late pay is a worrying sign ! If you work at Geos I would start looking for a new job. Does GEOS run the same kind of ponzi scheme as NOVA? Has the government taken any concrete steps to protect consumers since the NOVA collapse?

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:04 pm

Long-time reader, first time poster. I've never especially felt compelled to reply to anything, but as I'm a GEOS employee (and have been for a while now) I guess I should add my two cents.

To be honest, I'm not sure if these are the death throes or not, but I'm inclined to believe not. My manager threw a bit of a fuss when her pay was delayed, and from the info I got out of her, it was company-wide. But having been employed by GEOS for a couple of years now, I can also say that this isn't the first time this has happened. Obviously, with the state of the economy (not to mention the Eikaiwa industry as a whole) it is a significant worry when people aren't paid on time. I did some checking around with friends in various schools, and it seems that all the teachers were paid on time, as usual. I'm not sure about the other regions of Japan though. (Don't ask what region - I've read the thread about spies. :) )So then the question is, real crisis or bizarro motivational technique? I remember a year or so ago when head office allegedly told managers that if the school didn't cover its own cost the staff wouldn't get paid. At least that's what my former manager said... she was a bit loony though. At the end of the day, everyone was paid as normal.

The other thread here about GEOS going the way of NOVA was started ages ago. At the time I really got worried as it was hot on the heels of the NOVA collapse. Now though, I'm either completely immune to that sort of talk or I just don't care anymore. Either way, I doubt I'm going to go diving into a crowded job market on the basis of rumors. My luck would be that GEOS would keep on kicking for another 5 years.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by yoshifumi tanaka » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:30 pm

VegasQuay wrote:Long-time reader, first time poster. I've never especially felt compelled to reply to anything, but as I'm a GEOS employee (and have been for a while now) I guess I should add my two cents.

To be honest, I'm not sure if these are the death throes or not, but I'm inclined to believe not. My manager threw a bit of a fuss when her pay was delayed, and from the info I got out of her, it was company-wide. But having been employed by GEOS for a couple of years now, I can also say that this isn't the first time this has happened. Obviously, with the state of the economy (not to mention the Eikaiwa industry as a whole) it is a significant worry when people aren't paid on time. I did some checking around with friends in various schools, and it seems that all the teachers were paid on time, as usual. I'm not sure about the other regions of Japan though. (Don't ask what region - I've read the thread about spies. :) )So then the question is, real crisis or bizarro motivational technique? I remember a year or so ago when head office allegedly told managers that if the school didn't cover its own cost the staff wouldn't get paid. At least that's what my former manager said... she was a bit loony though. At the end of the day, everyone was paid as normal.

The other thread here about GEOS going the way of NOVA was started ages ago. At the time I really got worried as it was hot on the heels of the NOVA collapse. Now though, I'm either completely immune to that sort of talk or I just don't care anymore. Either way, I doubt I'm going to go diving into a crowded job market on the basis of rumors. My luck would be that GEOS would keep on kicking for another 5 years.
Even though they might have threatened to withhold wages in the past, its against the law to do it. Its against the law to pay late too. If you're paid late twice you can quit and get Hello Work straight away. Nova went exactly the same way, first the Japanese didnt get paid, then the foreigners.
If they can't make payroll it's a bad sign. When are the teachers and staff next pay days?

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:58 pm

End of this month. Although I think that some of the part time teachers and kid's GEOS teachers are paid at different times. If my pay is delayed or if there is any indication that it might be, I'll definitely post something here to warn the other teachers. Like I said though, so far, nothing.

As for the bit about threatening to withhold pay - that's true, I had read that before. The thing is, I think it was over-zealous managers doing the threatening, not the head office staff. When my manager told me that, I immediately called a friend of mine at another school who said he'd heard nothing about it. That's why I said "allegedly", since I wasn't in on the meeting. When I emailed my trainer to ask him about it, the official line was that if one school fails to meet its costs, the money comes from another school that is profitable. But no matter what the school's situation, everyone gets paid. So far that's been the case. It's hard to know what to believe, so I only trust my bank account. :thumbsup:

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by In The Know » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:04 pm

VegasQuay wrote:My luck would be that GEOS would keep on kicking for another 5 years.
Where have I heard this before? The NOVA die-hards trudged in until the day the branches didn't open-- companywide. I think the mantra at the time was "It's too big to fail!" Kind of like Lehman Brothers when they ran out of money.

If GEOS isn't making payroll on time, there's trouble. Maybe they will survive, but this is a bad sign.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:18 pm

In The Know wrote:
VegasQuay wrote:My luck would be that GEOS would keep on kicking for another 5 years.
Where have I heard this before? The NOVA die-hards trudged in until the day the branches didn't open-- companywide. I think the mantra at the time was "It's too big to fail!" Kind of like Lehman Brothers when they ran out of money.

If GEOS isn't making payroll on time, there's trouble. Maybe they will survive, but this is a bad sign.
True enough. I don't know that it was the die-hards though... just people without many options. Seriously, even if I walk out today, I'm going into a job market that's still saturated. Assuming I want to stay in Japan, there is definitely a tough road ahead. Unless I'm mistaken, if GEOS folds I can claim benefits from Hello Work straight away, right? But if I quit, I'm on my own. (Not sure on this, so if someone can point me towards the rules I'd appreciate it.)

I still think it's too soon to tell. If memory serves, NOVA teachers weren't being paid at all leading up to the collapse. Now those people were fools for thinking that things would suddenly turn around. As long as I keep getting paid, I'll keep coming to work. It seems only fair.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by In The Know » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:25 pm

VegasQuay wrote:As long as I keep getting paid, I'll keep coming to work. It seems only fair.
Remember that you are paid two weeks (or more) AFTER you've worked the previous month. Like NOVAites, you could find yourself being owed 320,000 yen (or whatever) for the previous six weeks' work.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:31 pm

In The Know wrote:
VegasQuay wrote:As long as I keep getting paid, I'll keep coming to work. It seems only fair.
Remember that you are paid two weeks (or more) AFTER you've worked the previous month. Like NOVAites, you could find yourself being owed 320,000 yen (or whatever) for the previous six weeks' work.
10-11 days. The pay cycle is from the 21st to the 20th. But I get your point.

Off to prepare my last class, while the recession may put me out of a job, it's certainly made my schedule easier. :clap:

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Mogura » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:45 pm

Do Geos instructors live in company-sponsored housing similar to Nova (i.e., rent is deducted from salary and paid to landlord)?
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Shawn » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:07 pm

FYI, I posted something about the rumour here.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Starblazer » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:14 pm

VegasQuay wrote:Long-time reader, first time poster. I've never especially felt compelled to reply to anything, but as I'm a GEOS employee (and have been for a while now) I guess I should add my two cents.

To be honest, I'm not sure if these are the death throes or not, but I'm inclined to believe not. My manager threw a bit of a fuss when her pay was delayed, and from the info I got out of her, it was company-wide. But having been employed by GEOS for a couple of years now, I can also say that this isn't the first time this has happened. Obviously, with the state of the economy (not to mention the Eikaiwa industry as a whole) it is a significant worry when people aren't paid on time. I did some checking around with friends in various schools, and it seems that all the teachers were paid on time, as usual. I'm not sure about the other regions of Japan though. (Don't ask what region - I've read the thread about spies. :) )So then the question is, real crisis or bizarro motivational technique? I remember a year or so ago when head office allegedly told managers that if the school didn't cover its own cost the staff wouldn't get paid. At least that's what my former manager said... she was a bit loony though. At the end of the day, everyone was paid as normal.

The other thread here about GEOS going the way of NOVA was started ages ago. At the time I really got worried as it was hot on the heels of the NOVA collapse. Now though, I'm either completely immune to that sort of talk or I just don't care anymore. Either way, I doubt I'm going to go diving into a crowded job market on the basis of rumors. My luck would be that GEOS would keep on kicking for another 5 years.
Wow it seems our experiences are very different. I wish I could talk to you more in depth about what I know and what I'm going through but unfortunately at the moment I want to keep my job so I can't.
Let's just say your image of the situation and mine are very different. Do you mind me asking if you have co workers? a manager?
I've been working only for 2 years now and where I am things have changed DRAMATICALLY. I have also been hearing a lot of head office gossip recently and well, to put it bluntly it sounds bad.
It didn't sound that bad even 1 year ago but it has been declining rapidly in the last 10 months or so.

I wish I could talk more openly but though I have some issues with the company as a whole I love my school and want to finish out my contract there.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by ColonelKurtz » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:21 am

BIt curious about a couple of points from the magic disappearing Wikipedia entry:
foreign teachers working at the adult schools were not paid on time in October 2009.


The October payday hasn't happened yet, so not quite sure where that came from. Maybe just a typo?
Geos is currently asking clients to pay as much as 5 months in advance for the following year's lessons


Whether that's the right thing to do or not is a subject for another day, but it's been going on ever since I joined the company: certainly nothing new.

For what it's worth, I've been paid on time the last few months, and I haven't heard from anyone else who's been paid late, either. As others have mentioned though, none of us has a real "big picture" view, so it's difficult to say for sure.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:25 am

Starblazer wrote:
Wow it seems our experiences are very different. I wish I could talk to you more in depth about what I know and what I'm going through but unfortunately at the moment I want to keep my job so I can't.
Let's just say your image of the situation and mine are very different. Do you mind me asking if you have co workers? a manager?
I've been working only for 2 years now and where I am things have changed DRAMATICALLY. I have also been hearing a lot of head office gossip recently and well, to put it bluntly it sounds bad.
It didn't sound that bad even 1 year ago but it has been declining rapidly in the last 10 months or so.

I wish I could talk more openly but though I have some issues with the company as a whole I love my school and want to finish out my contract there.
PM sent. :)

Also, Kurtz has it right about talking to students well in advance. I've been asked to approach students 6 months in advance since day 1. No big revelation there.

For me, it all comes down to what happens at the end of this month.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:46 am

LOL, having to approach students to renew 6 months in advance is bringing back memories of why I hated working at GEOS so much!

Seriously though I hope the company pulls through and you guys don't get hurt by all this. I worked for GEOS about a decade ago and it seems every couple of years a new rumor of the company's imminent demise springs up (on these boards and elsewhere) but nothing happens. I have to admit though that this time there seems to be quite a bit more substance to the rumors than in times past.

To answer your question, Mogs, the GEOS teachers are put up in company sponsored housing (Leo Palaces when I worked there) and they deduct the rent from your pay.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Level3 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:57 pm

Sankyuberymucho wrote: Does GEOS run the same kind of ponzi scheme as NOVA?
This is an important question. Though not exactly a Ponzi scheme. NOVA had one key factor in its business model going for (but inevitably against) it.

Does GEOS have a set lesson schedule for each student and class, thus every student has a guaranteed lesson time, or is it a NOVA-style free-for-all, where there are twice as many students as there are seats available in the classrooms, and nobody can actually "take a lesson anytime"?

NOVA style scheduling plus unethical drives to sign up as many students as possible lead to complaints and eventually the end of Nova.

AFAIK, most other legit :rotfl: eikaiwas limit themselves to only signing up as many students as can fit in the schedule (probably not a problem in the current economy) Of course they'll juggle the schedule a LOT, but there won't be hoardes of students complaining about not being able to book a lesson.

At least until branches start closing and sending students to "nearby" branches to use up their lessons...and those students either file complaints, or tell their tales to the students they meet in the branch they move to about how thier original branch closed. Panic sets in. Wallets slam shut at contract renewal time.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Level3 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 2:07 pm

senseiman wrote:To answer your question, Mogs, the GEOS teachers are put up in company sponsored housing (Leo Palaces when I worked there) and they deduct the rent from your pay.
Nova deducted (double or triple the actual) rent from pay and just didn't bother to hand any of it over to the landlords in some (many?) cases.
Again, lots of discussion about renters' rights on the borads in the Nova threads.
But basically, your landlord can't throw you out if you offer to keep paying rent on your own to finish off the contract.
Back rent possibly stolen by your company is a different issue.
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by racerx » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:24 pm

Hi there -
just thought I'd mention a couple of things.

the LeoPalaces are single-occupancy, rent is deducted and paid to LP directly by the company, the teachers and staff do not pay directly - though there may be exceptions to that where LP is not available, in which case the company acts as the guarantor for the occupant .

The student contracts are not like NOVAs - students pay for a spot in a class that is scheduled at a particular time, once or twice a week - there would not be any concerns about a student being able to take a lesson as long as the branch (or a nearby one) is still operating.

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Wed Oct 21, 2009 4:11 pm

Level3 wrote:
Sankyuberymucho wrote: Does GEOS have a set lesson schedule for each student and class, thus every student has a guaranteed lesson time, or is it a NOVA-style free-for-all, where there are twice as many students as there are seats available in the classrooms, and nobody can actually "take a lesson anytime"?
Set schedules. Students can only come at their designated time.

I remember the NOVA apartment debacle, it was one of the reasons I moved out of my GEOS apartment. When I read that NOVA was shafting the teachers on the rent I rang Leo Palace to ask what my rent was. The wouldn't tell me at first since my name wasn't on the lease, but eventually they quoted me the same price I was paying through GEOS.

I don't think the GEOS situation is the same as NOVA's. Clearly they were breaking laws and screwing over the teachers. The government was cracking down on them and they were in the news everyday. If GEOS is failing, it's probably due to gross mismanagement at the top and a failure to evolve. There hasn't been a "new" product since I started working here. No change in prices that I'm aware of. If Chevy hadn't made a new car since the 1980's, would they still be in business?

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Mogura » Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:57 pm

VegasQuay wrote:If Chevy hadn't made a new car since the 1980's, would they still be in business?
Of course! Just as long as they are sure to get in the public bailouts for mismanaged businesses line, they can go on offering a product that no one wants in perpetuity...
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by Level3 » Fri Oct 23, 2009 2:01 am

So when is GEOS payday, the end of the month?
If the "end of the month" falls on a weekend (as it does this month)
are you supposed to get paid the Friday before?
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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by VegasQuay » Fri Oct 23, 2009 1:44 pm

Level3 wrote:So when is GEOS payday, the end of the month?
If the "end of the month" falls on a weekend (as it does this month)
are you supposed to get paid the Friday before?
Yes. Next Friday is D-Day. :luck:

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Re: Anyone at Geos care to comment?

Unread post by quato » Fri Oct 23, 2009 3:57 pm

How is this going to affect the rest of the industry? When the supernova happened at first Berlitz seemed elated and went on a hiring binge + ex-nova-student campaign. But a few months later when business started getting really shitty, they changed their position and blamed the lack of raises on poor sales due to a general loss of faith in eikaiwa after the supernova. :blah: Can the same be expected from Geos' "mininova?"

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