Teacher fired for having cancer

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senseiman
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Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by senseiman » Tue Oct 22, 2013 8:44 pm

Pretty sad story in the Japan Times today. Waseda University International Corp. probably deserves some negative publicity for this:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2 ... mZWJRBWOAI
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by lordCONAN » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:34 am

Saw and was discussing this on reddit. He wasn't fired, his contract was just not renewed. I don't think this would be treated any differently anywhere else in the world. He was unable to continue working and was up for contract renewal, so they did not renew his contract. And although it's not specified in the article, it looks like he was only part of shakkai-hokken or his companies equivalent of it. At 40 years old, like anyone else in Japan, he really should have enrolled in a 3rd party insurance that covers long absences from work and also covers you for large operations (and life insurance). He also states that this was his career. Who makes a career from a job where your contract is renewed every single year?

I'm not saying it doesn't suck for the guy, it does, and my heart goes out to him, but I don't see a need for a witch hunt against the company or Japanese companies in general. He was just the subject of a series of unfortunate circumstances that probably would have played out the same in any other country.

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senseiman
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by senseiman » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:10 am

You make some fair points, but I disagree on others. Getting fired and not having one`s contract renewed are constructively the same thing from the point of view of the employee so I don`t think it is a significant difference unless we are talking about the legality of it. I had my contract non-renewed once and it sure felt like I was being fired.

Also, your jab about people in contract work not being able to claim they have a career is grossly unfair. That is just the sad nature of work in a lot of fields, companies just don`t offer permanent positions to people anymore and being dismissive of people who call what they do a `career` just because they don`t have a permanent position just sounds elitist. Even for university professors the majority of positions (for foreigners at least, but increasingly for Japanese too) opening up are on 1-3 year contracts rather than tenure-track.

It is true this could have played out in any country and Japan should not be singled out on this. Still though, any system that tosses people to the curb like that when they get sick has a problem with it. The guy was left with two options: quietly die in abject poverty or make a little noise while dying in abject poverty in order to bring attention to his plight. I don`t blame him at all for pursuing the latter option.
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by MacGyver » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:14 am

lordCONAN wrote:Who makes a career from a job where your contract is renewed every single year?
Honestly, I have no clue about this story and in fact haven't read it but this is a bit harsh. Unfortunately the majority of jobs for gaijins, regardless of what they are, are contract, unless you are lucky enough to work at a foreign company that makes gaijins permanent employees or an even rarer situation of a J company making gajins permanent. That's just the reality.....
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by JD9 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:56 am

MacGyver wrote:
lordCONAN wrote:Who makes a career from a job where your contract is renewed every single year?
Honestly, I have no clue about this story and in fact haven't read it but this is a bit harsh. Unfortunately the majority of jobs for gaijins, regardless of what they are, are contract, unless you are lucky enough to work at a foreign company that makes gaijins permanent employees or an even rarer situation of a J company making gajins permanent. That's just the reality.....
Same goes for a lot of government jobs back in Aus. When I was working as a casual for the QLD Gov at their big aquaculture research centre, all of the full timers would sweat bullets when their annual contracts were up for renewal. Sure they'd still keep their government job but would often get moved to some other department for fuck knows what reason. I missed out on a full time job there once I graduated because a guy got transferred internally from his banana research position up in Cairns to be an aquaculture technician, a job he had absolutely no background or experience in and he apparently wasn't exactly keen on learning something new after spending several years and a PhD on agriculture stuff. My bosses as the centre were spewing because they'd just spent the last several months training me up to be able to do everything in all of the different departments (prawns, fish, crabs, scallops, algae etc.) for when people took holidays etc. Not as spewing as I was of course! :bang:
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by lordCONAN » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:45 am

MacGyver wrote: Honestly, I have no clue about this story and in fact haven't read it but this is a bit harsh. Unfortunately the majority of jobs for gaijins, regardless of what they are, are contract, unless you are lucky enough to work at a foreign company that makes gaijins permanent employees or an even rarer situation of a J company making gajins permanent. That's just the reality.....
Read the article (if you can force yourself to visit JapanTimes), the guy didn't work for Waseda University, he worked for a company affiliated with Waseda university that offered english conversation classes. He was basically making a "career" out of a nova job.

Maybe my comment sounds a bit harsh and was maybe a bit too generalised. Maybe I should have said, who makes a career out of a contract based eikaiwa position? Sure, some people do it, but and they do it probably because they want to stay in Japan but have no other marketable skills, and probably can't speak Japanese. But in reality, it is not a career. There is no job security, almost certainly a very low salary ceiling, and no track for promotion (beyond maybe trainer of other eikaiwa teachers).

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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by senseiman » Thu Oct 24, 2013 10:02 am

lordCONAN wrote:
MacGyver wrote: Honestly, I have no clue about this story and in fact haven't read it but this is a bit harsh. Unfortunately the majority of jobs for gaijins, regardless of what they are, are contract, unless you are lucky enough to work at a foreign company that makes gaijins permanent employees or an even rarer situation of a J company making gajins permanent. That's just the reality.....
Read the article (if you can force yourself to visit JapanTimes), the guy didn't work for Waseda University, he worked for a company affiliated with Waseda university that offered english conversation classes. He was basically making a "career" out of a nova job.

Maybe my comment sounds a bit harsh and was maybe a bit too generalised. Maybe I should have said, who makes a career out of a contract based eikaiwa position? Sure, some people do it, but and they do it probably because they want to stay in Japan but have no other marketable skills, and probably can't speak Japanese. But in reality, it is not a career. There is no job security, almost certainly a very low salary ceiling, and no track for promotion (beyond maybe trainer of other eikaiwa teachers).
Not to split hairs but it doesn`t say he teaches Eikaiwa, it says they provide English classes to Waseda. That likely means he is teaching academic English, which is different from teaching conversation and requires a different skill set. You seem to be operating under the assumption that nobody who is involved in the English teaching industry in Japan has a `career`, which I don`t think is at all fair. A lot of people have post-graduate degrees in the field and take their work quite seriously, they aren`t all stereotypical NOVA lifers.
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by lordCONAN » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:40 pm

senseiman wrote: Not to split hairs but it doesn`t say he teaches Eikaiwa, it says they provide English classes to Waseda. That likely means he is teaching academic English, which is different from teaching conversation and requires a different skill set. You seem to be operating under the assumption that nobody who is involved in the English teaching industry in Japan has a `career`, which I don`t think is at all fair. A lot of people have post-graduate degrees in the field and take their work quite seriously, they aren`t all stereotypical NOVA lifers.
Firstly, I don't think I was deriding all forms of English teaching in Japan. I feel I was pretty specific in saying that a contracted position at an english conversation school which has no path for promotion and a low salary ceiling is not a "career". I know there is more to the industry than one position, and I do believe there are careers in the industry, however in this circumstance, his was not one of them.

Secondly, while the article did not mention specifically what he taught (which in itself I found to be a bit of a give away), a brief bit of googling reveals that requirements for positions at Waseda University International Corp. are the same as those for most eikaiwa positions, native (or near native) level English, a bachelor's degree, and (I'll give them a point for this) a TESOL qualification is preferred. The company recruitment site also mentions that the majority of the work they do is English conversation classes, with Writing and Business English classes also a part of the curriculum. I would assume, as no specific qualification is required, that those writing and business English classes would be similar to the ones I taught while working in eikaiwa. Remuneration is also on par with an eikaiwa position. All of these things leads me to my statement that he was trying to make a career out of what was basically a nova position.

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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by MacGyver » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:14 pm

When I was in eikaiwa 13 years ago (hell, there is a reason why I got out remember!) I would've said the same thing. But having busted my balls trying to make a career with a "real" job since then and basically having nothing to show for it but some savings (OK, I learnt a bunch of shit along the way too), I really have to wonder wtf a career is anyway. And if someone wants to stick at a deadend job their whole life, meh good luck to 'em I say. To be honest, I was in the same situation at a "real" job at a "real" company and unfortunately a deadend job is a deadend job regardless of money, perks, etc.

I have now read the article and it does suspiciously sound like they booted him because of his illness.
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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by inflames » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:33 pm

Also, some of the "lifers" at Nova and ECC (and I'm sure other places as well) made a ton of money. My first AAM at Nova was making 1,000,000 yen a month - my trainer was making 340k or so.

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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by steki47 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:01 pm

inflames wrote:Also, some of the "lifers" at Nova and ECC (and I'm sure other places as well) made a ton of money. My first AAM at Nova was making 1,000,000 yen a month - my trainer was making 340k or so.
A mil a month? That would be possible. I was grossing 360K at the end of Nova. Never have made that much ever again.

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Re: Teacher fired for having cancer

Unread post by senseiman » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:32 pm

lordCONAN wrote:
senseiman wrote: Firstly, I don't think I was deriding all forms of English teaching in Japan. I feel I was pretty specific in saying that a contracted position at an english conversation school which has no path for promotion and a low salary ceiling is not a "career". I know there is more to the industry than one position, and I do believe there are careers in the industry, however in this circumstance, his was not one of them.

Secondly, while the article did not mention specifically what he taught (which in itself I found to be a bit of a give away), a brief bit of googling reveals that requirements for positions at Waseda University International Corp. are the same as those for most eikaiwa positions, native (or near native) level English, a bachelor's degree, and (I'll give them a point for this) a TESOL qualification is preferred. The company recruitment site also mentions that the majority of the work they do is English conversation classes, with Writing and Business English classes also a part of the curriculum. I would assume, as no specific qualification is required, that those writing and business English classes would be similar to the ones I taught while working in eikaiwa. Remuneration is also on par with an eikaiwa position. All of these things leads me to my statement that he was trying to make a career out of what was basically a nova position.
Fine, he was trying to make a career out of a NOVA-type position. I still don`t see the relevance in pointing out the fact that what he calls a career doesn`t have as many benefits as what you call a career, especially in the circumstances.
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