multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

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multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Privileged » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:04 am

I taught for over six years in Tokyo. Here's how I got better jobs over time.

I’m posting where I worked and how I made the changes and what the benefits of each place were in case it would be of benefit to anyone teaching there now or thinking about it. Stuff like moving out of the AEON apartment and renting on my own and getting an independent visa and setting up a bunch of part time jobs.

It’s not like I think any of this is terribly unique or fascinating, but it took me awhile to figure out a good arrangement, so I’m just throwing it out there on the off chance it’s useful to anyone else. This would probably be relevant in a city, specifically Tokyo, as opposed to a rural area or smaller town.


AEON - started in 2004 and did it 2.5 years. a lot of shit about AEON sucks but I thought it was a good way to get over and get started.

INTERAC - started april 2007 and i think i made it 1/2 a year. this was the worst job i had and was absolutely awful.

VARIOUS PART TIME JOBS - i did this the remainder of my time, over 3 years. it’s not easy to set up but if you can, i think this is absolutely the way to go.



Here are some details on each. I’m assuming you know the basics, like AEON is a conversation school for students of all ages and Interac places you in a jr high or high school, and you’re not a real teacher either way, so I’m not going to go over that stuff.


AEON

I wanted to live in Tokyo and they placed me in Tokyo. The rent subsidized, furnished apartment was great. It wasn’t great like nice; it was just a hell of a lot better than trying to set it up myself. I thought it was totally shitty but when I met young Japanese people who also had single apartments in Tokyo, they were the same or even shittier.

They are very clear that your job is to do stuff like clean and take out the garbage and sell bullshit CDs in addition to “teaching,” and I was fine with that. The stuff that proved stressful was, ironically, the little stuff.

When it was my turn to clean I asked for the stuff to clean with. They showed me this crinkled gross black washcloth that used to be green and smelled like mold. I asked what to clean with. Just that, put some water on it. Eventually I went and bought gloves, paper towels, and a spray bottle of cleaner. After like 2 weeks this was all missing. I asked around pretty aggressively like… why isn’t the stuff I bought still here? Did someone actually steal the kitchen gloves I bought?

That’s the kind of shit that happened all the time. I was told to vacuum when the vacuum was broken.

My manager then suggested I take some cellophane tape and crawl around sticking it to the ground to clean the carpeting. No joke.

As crazy as stuff like that drove me, the hours (1-9) and pay were fine. I also remember we burned through… at least 4 managers and ELEVEN assistant managers. The manager made a huge difference. The 2nd one sucked and made the job miserable. The last one was AWESOME and made the job a breeze.

I thought this was a fine way to get over to Japan and a fine first job to have there. A lot of it sucked but what the fuck, it’s a job.


INTERAC

Changing jobs involved getting out of the AEON subsized apartment. This was a little spooky but I used kimi willbe in ikebukuro to get my first place. There was none of the usual key/deposit money but they do charge a bit more than the going rate. I thought it was fair and had no complaints. I looked at a few places in a few areas. When I found a neighborhood I loved I knew I really wanted to be there. Honestly, at least in Tokyo, if you’ve seen one 1-bedroom apartment, you’ve seen them all. They told me the place I wanted was going to go FAST (I had just missed another place I wanted. I looked Tues night and called to take it Wed morning — gone) so I actually committed to this place just by checking out the area and outside of the building. Was fine.

Interac were a bunch of monkey ass bitches. They put me like an hour train ride plus 20 minute walk to a semi rural junior high. They were super strict about me being there every scheduled minute of every day, so I think I had to be on the train by like 7:05 to barely make the morning meeting at 8 - something. Often I had 0 classes for weeks at a time, yet I’d sit there til 4:15 or whatever, then make the commute home. So depressing.

This might sound nice but commuting to sit in a stuffy open teacher’s room (big room of rows of desks with like 30 other teachers) with not even a computer in front of you and FUCK ALL to do all day every day was absolutely brutal.

The pay was also notably worse than AEON. If you think sitting and doing nothing and being “free to study” all day is great… you better REALLY love studying to try and bank on this.

I tried to be nice with the kids and actually do a good job, even if (since I had 12 classes a week max but often 3 - 4) that was just walking around during class breaks, smiling and saying hi.


VARIETY OF PART TIME JOBS — ADVANCED MANEUVER

Interac was killing me. Not only did the job suck but between the location, hours, and commute, it made it nearly impossible to schedule other interviews. I kept applying and interviewing though and lots of these places I was seeing ads for on gaijinpot, etc, listed all these hours but they were really only offering YOU a couple nights a week.

I started at one place a couple evenings a week (tue/wed) with the hope I’d be able to turn it into a full time job. On those days I’d be up at 6:30, out by 7 am, jr high all day, straight to other job 6 - 9 pm, home at 10. Absolutely brutal.

A friend told me the small school she worked at was looking for someone thu/fri evenings. I thought taking on the additional hours would kill me and it was just out of the question. Then I had a sudden glimmer of inspiration.

If I worked tue/wed at the one part time job and thu/fri at the other… I’d be making like 80% of what I made at Interac in roughly 50% of the time. If I could fill out just a few more hours anywhere else, I’d be able to get by, and it would be WAY better.

So I told Intercrap to get bent and did it. And it fucking ruled.

I picked up another business lesson Monday for like 6500 yen for an hour and a half. I never started before 3 pm or worked past 9 and was making more than at AEON, at better places, with less bullshit and downtime.

You show up for your lessons, you do them, then leave. If a job sucks or falls apart instead of finding a whole new full time job you just replace those hours. So many of these places were looking for someone to come in and just do a few hours here and there.

There was the matter of the visa — I had heard the legend of the “self-sponsored visa” but didn’t believe it til a friend showed me his. If you walk into the visa place out in Tennouzu Isle and ask about it they will literally say it doesn’t exist.

However if you have the paperwork right and submit for an extension with a note that says “I want to self sponsor” (and you’re making liveable wage and paying taxes), they’ll do it.

At this point my Japanese was much better and I had rented a better and cheaper apartment through an agency on my own and would show up with my visa paperwork, get the bus back into town for beer or just take em down at the conbini across the street, then waltz back in before my number was called.

The secret to setting up a bunch of different jobs is to apply and interview at tons of places. A bunch are flakes and aren’t really looking for someone now, they’ll just keep you on file. Some are awful. Some are amazing and don’t even know how to advertise it.

One was so vague but I went for it and it was just so laid back and run like it was the bubble era by a quirky old lady. My other thu/fri job was annoying me so I quit it and picked this one up instead. 3000 yen / hr. But you got paid no matter what. Once I showed up Saturday and taught 11 - 12 and got 9000 yen because 3 lessons had been scheduled (2 cancelled). This lady just ruled. I would definitely work with her. If she needed anything last minute or pretty much anything ever, I was there. She passed away awhile after I moved home which is kind of weird to think about. (If the school was still around I’d name and recommend it.)

Anyway, it’s kind of front-loading. You do all this interview work and then you’re getting calls way later offering you more work than you want or need. But if you do feel like switching or arranging your schedule, you can.

Somehow I ended up interviewing here

http://www.gli-edu.jp/english/index.html

I strongly recommend it.

They tend to place you a few mornings a week in a private school and pay you a monthly salary of 130,000 ish.

Yes, yes, this isn’t a large enough full time salary but it isn’t a full time job either. It’s not reduced, ever, if I recall, even the months you have entirely or almost entirely off. Additionally the principal at my school would always come busting into our prep room opening with “I’m so sorry” to tell us that for X reason (testing, whatever) class had been cancelled the next day. (translation: don’t bother coming in, still paid in full)

I really hit the jackpot cuz the people at the company were great, the school was great, my co-worker was great, was all just awesome.

So I’d work at that school three mornings a week til noon-1, have a few hours off, then teach 1 - 3 hours in the evening a few other nights a week. (Some days I was only doing the few hrs in the morning, some only the 1-3 hours at night.) So during the summer when the GLI high school job was vacation, I’d only be teaching 1-3 hours a night a few nights a week and still pulling in like 300,000 yen on the month.

When things were busier I could hit like 350,000.

This is not great money, you’re not rich, I’m not trying to brag I made SO MUCH money but… it was very comfortable and very pleasant. I had a bunch of nice jobs at places I liked and plenty of disposable income.

I mean that situation compared to AEON much less Interac? This was just an unbelievable improvement.

It takes a bit of ambition and organization. You have to be there, on time, every time, in different locations on different days, and be prepared and have your materials and lessons, etc. It’s still work. I always tried to have a good attitude and do MORE than was expected and make sure everyone was happy so that things would continue to run smoothly.

I moved back home because I felt I pushed teaching English in Japan about as far as I could without becoming a lifer.

I know this was lengthy and probably boring and irrelevant to a lot of people. When I was at AEON and Interac, I felt really trapped. I stumbled into that multiple part time job approach and it completely changed my psuedo-sensei life for the better.

On the off chance you’re in that situation and read this, I hope it comes in handy or at least provides some possibilities and ideas.
Last edited by Privileged on Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by JD9 » Fri Oct 31, 2014 3:40 pm

Good post man. :thumbsup:

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by mandangaman » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:24 am

A great thing about part time jobs is that you can really rake in the transfer money
You claim for travel from home in each case
You can win an extra 2 or 3 thou in travel money some days! :eyes:

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by fifacoinhuiy » Sat Nov 01, 2014 3:07 pm

:clap: thank you for this

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Japandy » Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:42 pm

Not a fan of the multiple part-time jobs myself due to the uncertainty involved. Used to dread cancellations. Did this myself for a couple of years about 7 years ago and I was knackered with all the travelling and no allocated holidays. Made 550-700k per month but it took its toll on my health and marriage. Now work in a UK university and in such a better place in every way.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by senseiman » Sat Nov 01, 2014 9:02 pm

An interesting read.

I did the multiple part time thing for a couple of years, also after quitting AEON (I did a lot of privates out of my apartment too). My income was just OK, but the hours were way better.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Privileged » Sat Nov 01, 2014 10:51 pm

None of these were direct private lessons, most didn't cancel (the business lesson was clearly guys who were happy to have an excuse to get out of work early), and the majority that did I was paid anyway. Another reason I lucked out is I was living very close to the center of Tokyo, so I was never traveling far. I took a bus 10 mins to the high school (the kids were jealous since they were commuting an hour or more), and my furthest train run was 20 minutes.

It's interesting to hear from other people. 550-700k/mo is truly impressive. People don't realize how much money there is to be made if you set it up right and work your ass off. I did not work my ass off.

Really of course if you can do the work and management of running everything yourself AND come up with a cheap place to teach, you can kill it. If you're getting 5 people to pay 3000+/hr and you keep it all that's a hell of an hourly rate. I poked at this but never pulled it off.

There's a lot to be said for quality of life. That job w/ the quirky older lady was so nice I did not mind 1.5 hrs downtime between lessons. Being very close to Shinjuku and under no obligation to sit around the place I could get the train and go record shopping or whatever then come back.

It was fun to be there over time and see the kids from the high school kind of grow up. Since I lived near the neighborhood I'd often see them a few years later at their first part time job at the local family restaurant or combini. Really funny!

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Japandy » Sun Nov 02, 2014 3:56 am

Fair play to you Privileged. I made decent money but I was up early and often home late. The worst part was the middle of the day when there were often no classes and I had to resort to napping on the Yamanote line or sleeping on park benches like a vagrant! One of the reasons I got divorced as I was never at home and when I was my ex-wife expected me to do housework at 11.30 p.m. when I was knackered. Can't quite believe I lasted as long as I did.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Edogaijin » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:45 pm

I've never had a full time job in Japan.
Currently 4 jobs, one pays pension and health insurance which I'm going to try and keep long time. It's like a full time job but only 3 days a week at most with plenty of holidays. No work there this week.
I have put the 80/20 principal into play and every March I try and cut out the worst 20% of my time wasting/poor salary jobs and try and get more from the places that pay me more...without adding extra work time into the equation. Last year was a nightmare as I tried to build my tiny eikaiwa school into a big one in front of a large train station. Now that I've moved a few km away to a cheaper place I'm picking up more students. 5 new ones in the last week. More students, less rent, almost no overheads.
Averaging 15 weddings a month has been nice pocket change and quite fun.

Still have 3 more years of college tuition to go with my second son, so working an extra day or 2 a week now. Fridays off, some Thursdays off..some weekend days off sometimes.
A few internet gigs bringing in coin as well. No problems if I get laid off from one or 2 places as I still have plenty going on.
I can get time off usually when I want as well...Usually take all of August off.
No complaints.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by MacGyver » Wed Nov 05, 2014 2:53 pm

Japandy wrote:Did this myself for a couple of years about 7 years ago and I was knackered with all the travelling and no allocated holidays. Made 550-700k per month but it took its toll on my health and marriage.
I did this back in '99 to 2000 for 18 months. I had a day job, 10 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday, then a night job teaching at juku 2 days a week until 10 pm. For a while, may be 6 months or so, I got lucky with the timing and was able to leave the day job after 2 pm on Tues and Thurs to start the juku at 4 pm and "double-dip" as it were; I was salaried at the day job but by the hour at the juku so obviously made more by starting earlier. Unfortunately when my schedule changed in April in 2000, I had to work longer on those two days but kept with the juku so they asked me to come in 3 days a week to make up for it. Meant I made pretty much the same money but worked an extra day. I also think I had something on Friday nights but can't remember what; I just remember that Monday night was my only free night. At some point in there for about 6 months I did 3 classes on Saturday afternoon for Edogaijin.

I made about 420 to 450K a month, although I think I could have made more had I organized my schedule better. I never intended on making eikaiwa a career so I was just working my arse off to fill my boots until I could find a job outside eikaiwa. Funny thing about the income is though, and why I wanted to quote you Japandy, is that everyone always tells me that is no longer possible and/or I got lucky. Maybe both those statements are correct (I've been out of eikaiwa/teaching English for over 13 years now) but I do find it interesting that in recent memory that you made far more than I ever did; people have been telling me this for years, not just recently, so it's interesting that it is possible if you are prepared to work your arse off and take on as much work as possible. I don't mean to diss anybody. I just mean that I found it strange that you couldn't make fairly decent money if you worked day and night 5 to 6 days a week.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Japandy » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:30 pm

Had a much cushier schedule before the Nova crash. Made 430k per month and only worked 1.5 hours on a Saturday morning teaching a class of old dears. Monday to Friday schedule, in charge of my own branch so often had lots of sales and it was only 20 minutes from my house. 20 paid holidays too. When Nova went bankrupt didn't really know what to do and took as many part time jobs as I could. Overall a bitter-sweet experience. Money was good as I mentioned but it was really tiring with all the travelling and often demoralizing with the frequent cancellations.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by MacGyver » Wed Nov 05, 2014 6:46 pm

Yeah I hear that about the commuting/travelling being tiring. I was travelling at least 3 hours a day; at one point I moved and for last 3 or 4 months was travelling 5 hours for 3 days a week. I was burnt out by the end. When I quit both jobs and got a job near my house (walking distance!) at Britannica, working 25 hours a week, that was heaven. Had 2 days a week off plus only 3 hours on a Friday. Worked full shifts on the weekend but that didn't bother me. Often covered on my day off (Thursdays; school was closed Mondays) for sickies so got a full shift in then too.

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Re: multiple part time jobs - advanced maneuver

Unread post by Privileged » Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:38 am

A lot of people I knew really didn't want to work the weekend. Whenever that lady called, I'd do it. Did I want to show up there Sat at 10? HELL NO. But she did a lot for me and it feels a lot better to work at place where you feel there is some mutual appreciation as opposed to antagonism. Additionally even if I only earned 9,000 for a few lessons that day it was almost 40,000 at the end of the month that I didn't even need.

Being in the opposite situation now where I make about $100 less than I need per month, it's an endless grind. My check came 11/5, mailed 11/6, not cleared, credit card bill coming out today, 11/7.

Having that cushion, even if you're not exactly balling, is a blessing.

Now that I think about it when I needed a guarantor for my apartment I was really up a creek. I was disappointed that some friends and in particular one person I had known for YEARS wouldn't do it. I could have paid 50% of the lease up front without sweating. Welcome to Japan where we play by the rules. You need an Official Real Japanese Person to sign and vouch and basically offer to cover for you if it comes to that. That lady did it for me when no one else would!

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