PDA

View Full Version : Breaking Contract



123
October 18th, 2015, 17:54
Hi,

A 2015 JET in a city placement. I'm really quite unhappy in Japan. My coworkers at school don't really want me there, not invited to Enkais etc. Left out of stuff with other ALTs as well. I'd rather just pack the whole thing in. Has anyone broke contract this early before?

Jiggit
October 18th, 2015, 20:08
Yes, of course. Some people bail out before they even arrive at their placements.

Is there some other advice or information you were looking for?

Ini
October 18th, 2015, 20:42
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU

uthinkimlost?
October 18th, 2015, 22:42
I'm assuming you're asking about repercussions?

No flight, natch. They probably won't help you close your stuff down. The last weeks will be super awkward.

You'll also have a few months gap in your employment history to explain away.

word
October 18th, 2015, 23:52
word


Seriously, man. Do what you gotta do. You know what would be twenty times worse? NOT breaking contract, making yourself and everyone else miserable, thinking the whole time that you're some kind of massive failure, or that everyone else is, being upset and angry about... well, any of this. Get back to a place where you feel good about sh*t and don't think twice about it.

AyaReiko
October 19th, 2015, 03:47
Plus, this might mean that an alternate will be upgraded, so you'll make someone in the world happy to go and replace you!

Frap
October 19th, 2015, 08:35
Hi,

A 2015 JET in a city up north. I'm really quite unhappy in Japan. My coworkers at school don't really want me there, not invited to Enkais etc. Left out of stuff with other ALTs as well. I'd rather just pack the whole thing in. Has anyone broke contract this early before?

Are you in Sapporo?

lightpop
October 19th, 2015, 10:30
How many other ALTs are there where you live?
If you're in a place where there are loads, cliques can form pretty quickly - but I'd bet there are some people there that would be more than happy to spend time with you.
Joining classes etc can also be a great way to meet new people who aren't ALTs, (or who are, but you wouldn't normally hang around with).

I would say for school just leave it behind when you're out the door. Many ALTs don't get invited to enkais, we're seen as temporary, so some teachers don't bother.

I would say to try and meet some different people or reach out to people you do know, and then if you're still truly unhappy - go. It's not worth it!!

Virgil
October 19th, 2015, 11:29
Yeah, it's about the time for some culture shock to set in if you just came in August.
Is it really worth going back early? How bad can it be? Is this your first real job outside of Uni? Chances are that you'll probably hate your job back home too.

Really consider your goals, why did you come in the first place? If you have no goals, then maybe it is time to go home. If you have goals like making new friends then go out and be adventurous. Put yourself on the line, as you probably have nothing to lose. If you want to learn Japanese then go out and talk to some drunk people. I'm offering the other side of the coin for advice, because 'Pack up and do what makes you happy' certainly has it's valid points.

Pup
October 19th, 2015, 11:46
I'd like to echo the class thing. Join a local activity and make friends there. For example, I joined a local Kendo club and they invite me to compete in tournaments, eat and drink at camps, dinners. It's a great way to meet people and, usually, there will be a few people your age.

weepinbell
October 19th, 2015, 12:12
I agree with everyone saying to branch out first. Treat it like a job at home - would you break a contract at home for the same reason or try to make the best of it? Of course, if it's seriously affecting your mental health, you have to do what's right for you, but otherwise make a solid attempt at getting grounded here before backing out. Don't rely solely on other ALTs for support/friendship - I think this is a mistake for anyone, really. Meet other people in your area - locals, other foreigners... to echo everyone else, classes and bars are a good place to start. See if there are volunteer opportunities at your community center. Make the best of your time out of school, because if you go home and sit in your apartment all night, it's gonna make you feel even worse.

ambrosse
October 19th, 2015, 14:51
Unless you're a terribly unpleasant person or your predecessor was a total asshat, it might just be that it's taking a while for people to warm up to you. It's also possible that, as others have said, the ALT is temporary, so they don't bother.
Sometimes when you feel like a failure or unwanted, it might just be preconceived. Sometimes teachers suck at including their ALTs in the classroom. Sometimes teachers/staff just don't know what to do with you.

As for the other ALTs, I will echo what others have said about cliques forming. In my prefecture, it only really happens in the dense city areas. If you're in a city with tons of other ALTs, reach out to some more rural ALTs. They'll probably be relieved to talk to you.

Find a restaurant or izakaya that you like and become a regular! Find a community group of some sort and show up for every meeting :)

In the end, only you know your situation, but it's only been a couple months, give it one more shot. Re-contracting papers aren't due for a while.
If trying to put in effort doesn't work, then it's time to move on.

Ini
October 19th, 2015, 15:55
Seasonal affective disorder is very real and hits some people badly. If you are living up north and aren't enjoying yourself now then when the snow comes and you are spending the only hour of daylight you have outside of work shoveling snow then things may not improve. If you aren't happy with your job and living situation then consider quitting jet and moving elsewhere in Japan. If you aren't enjoying anything then it's probably time to leave the country.

mrcharisma
October 19th, 2015, 20:20
Unless you like spending your free time playing Cards Against Humanity, doing self-serving charity work and rolling out inane quotes from Adventure Time you might well find yourself feeling left out of the ALT community. The alternative is far worse though.

It does take time to build up a network if you don't fit the very narrow demographic of the standard wacky, dorky JET, but it does happen with a bit of effort.

webstaa
October 20th, 2015, 08:19
One thing to note is that you may be held liable for the costs of you flight to Japan and orientation/hotel/transportation to your placement. I don't know when the cutoff is for that, but contract breakers have had that deducted from their last paycheck (it's not a small amount either.)

Virgil
October 20th, 2015, 08:28
Unless you like spending your free time playing Cards Against Humanity, doing self-serving charity work and rolling out inane quotes from Adventure Time you might well find yourself feeling left out of the ALT community. The alternative is far worse though.

It does take time to build up a network if you don't fit the very narrow demographic of the standard wacky, dorky JET, but it does happen with a bit of effort.

This is horrifyingly true.

Larien
October 20th, 2015, 08:55
This is horrifyingly true.

You beat me to it. :P

I don't have much in the way of advice to offer, but I would like to say it's really, really nice how understanding and supportive this community is of everyone's circumstances.

That said, maybe I do have some advice to offer, since I'm also leaving JET early, though I've kept my BOE in the loop throughout, and they've been far more understanding and sympathetic to my situation than they ever ought to be, and I'm extremely grateful. Having said that, not everyone has such kind/magnanimous BOEs. I had an unhappy combination of seasonal effective disorder/abrupt change in social situation with the ALTs/abrupt, isolating change in work environment/job dissatisfaction/forced sexual advances of a coworker, and loneliness. Not a happy cocktail. A number of things in my situation have changed since then, and in general things are a lot better now, but I do also feel that it's time to move on. It will be time eventually no matter what.

Frap
October 20th, 2015, 09:20
That said, maybe I do have some advice to offer, since I'm also leaving JET early, though I've kept my BOE in the loop throughout, and they've been far more understanding and sympathetic to my situation than they ever ought to be, and I'm extremely grateful. Having said that, not everyone has such kind/magnanimous BOEs. I had an unhappy combination of seasonal effective disorder/abrupt change in social situation with the ALTs/abrupt, isolating change in work environment/job dissatisfaction/forced sexual advances of a coworker, and loneliness. Not a happy cocktail. A number of things in my situation have changed since then, and in general things are a lot better now, but I do also feel that it's time to move on. It will be time eventually no matter what.

If OP is where I think he is, the BOE has a notoriously bad reputation.

Saga
October 20th, 2015, 10:36
I second what the others said about joining a club or class, and trying to find meaning outside of work by making friends with either other ALTs or Japanese people. That said, I know it can be hard to find people you connect with. I'm still struggling with it myself, as I'm in an extremely rural placement far away from other ALTs, and there are very few people near my age in my town.

In terms of not being included at work, is there any way you can ask if you can join in more? Like, literally ask "are there any enkais coming up?" "Can I come to (school event)?" And then just show up. I had one school where I wasn't being invited to anything, so I eventually had to just ask if I could come to the enkais and weekend events, town festivals, etc. They were much more welcoming after that and seemed happy that I had asked. I also started just hanging out after school and going to the different school clubs to watch them parctice, or even taking my grading and English corner prep and doing it in the art room while the art club does whatever they're up to. The students have been a lot more friendly since then, and I finally have been able to chat with coworkers (as they coach the various clubs) who don't teach English and I hadn't really been able to connect with before.

That said, if you are really deeply unhappy or suffering from depression, I don't think there's any shame in packing it in. Your mental health is what's most important, and you need to take care of yourself.

uthinkimlost?
October 20th, 2015, 11:53
This is horrifyingly true.

It is.


If OP is where I think he is, the BOE has a notoriously bad reputation.

Would it be the same BoE that refused to pay for the facial injuries of an on-duty ALT?

mrcharisma
October 20th, 2015, 18:55
It is.



Would it be the same BoE that refused to pay for the facial injuries of an on-duty ALT?

I always had the feeling Two-Face's story was a little embellished. If the situation up there was so horrific nobody would recontract.

word
October 20th, 2015, 20:54
I dunno; I've personally experienced the whole "you can't drive to your far-flung visit school, but you also don't get paid for the time spent commuting, so it's working time, but it's not working time" thing, and other ALTs in my area have, too. It's not at all hard for me to imagine that someone might experience serious repercussions from such a nonsensical policy in the event of an accident of the sort she described.

texxaport
October 20th, 2015, 23:16
Unless you like spending your free time playing Cards Against Humanity, doing self-serving charity work and rolling out inane quotes from Adventure Time you might well find yourself feeling left out of the ALT community. The alternative is far worse though.

It does take time to build up a network if you don't fit the very narrow demographic of the standard wacky, dorky JET, but it does happen with a bit of effort.

Actually it's Munchkin for my local group.

Larien
October 21st, 2015, 11:28
Does anyone have any stories of actually breaking contract?

uthinkimlost?
October 21st, 2015, 11:54
Does anyone have any stories of actually breaking contract?

If we did, in the sense of what OP is planning, we wouldn't be here.

Ini
October 21st, 2015, 11:56
Do you want ones that'll make you feel terrible or ones that will ease your mind?

acpc2203
October 21st, 2015, 12:03
Do you want ones that'll make you feel terrible or ones that will ease your mind?

Both

uthinkimlost?
October 21st, 2015, 12:05
Gather 'round grampa ini, guys. He's gonna tell some tales.

Who's gonna sit on his lap? I nominate 123.

Ini
October 21st, 2015, 12:16
the good - plenty of people break contract and its not a big deal for any party involved.

the bad - ALT breaks contract and is stung with large bills for their flight and tokyo orientation, are ostracized by everyone they work with, are forced to apologize to the principals/superintendent of education/mayor/city council, made to spend their remaining time sat in the BOE rather than go to school.

the insane - police call the town hall to report a foreign gentleman is loading up his car with the contents of his apartment. Is detained by the police until a BOE representative arrives and confirms which items are owned by him and which are city property.

Virgil
October 21st, 2015, 12:42
the insane - police call the town hall to report a foreign gentleman is loading up his car with the contents of his apartment. Is detained by the police until a BOE representative arrives and confirms which items are owned by him and which are city property.

This sounds like something that has happened. I'm always suspicious of Ini's penchant for hyperbole, but this doesn't so so far fetched.

Frap
October 21st, 2015, 12:55
Gather 'round grampa ini, guys. He's gonna tell some tales.

Who's gonna sit on his lap? I nominate 123.

:(

Larien
October 21st, 2015, 12:57
More please! Happy endings, too! :P

Virgil
October 21st, 2015, 13:04
More please! Happy endings, too! :P

I might be willing to tell a juicy one from my pred's departure in VIP.

One of the ALTs in my area a couple of ALTs back stopped going to school completely but kept living in his apartment. When the school showed up to see what the hell was going on he screamed at them for invading his private property. When they told him it actually belonged to them he slashed up the doors and tatami and took a shit on the floor and left.

Just wanted to balance the whole 'bad CO' thing.

uthinkimlost?
October 21st, 2015, 13:05
More please! Happy endings, too! :P

Happy endings cost extra.

acpc2203
October 21st, 2015, 16:12
I might be willing to tell a juicy one from my pred's departure in VIP.

One of the ALTs in my area a couple of ALTs back stopped going to school completely but kept living in his apartment. When the school showed up to see what the hell was going on he screamed at them for invading his private property. When they told him it actually belonged to them he slashed up the doors and tatami and took a shit on the floor and left.

Just wanted to balance the whole 'bad CO' thing.
Sounds like the bog standard ITIL user.

uthinkimlost?
October 21st, 2015, 16:18
Sounds like the bog standard ITIL user.

No, itil users piss in various hard to find locations to make sure the taint can never be removed.

Ebi
October 22nd, 2015, 16:27
More please! Happy endings, too! :P
I think every year I've been here there has been an ALT that has broken contract early. The ones that seem to piss people off are the kind who abruptly leave in winter right after the cut-off for upgrading ALTs, the ones who give no notice at all, the ones who leave a ton of junk or unpaid bills, or the ones that do something scandalous or have so many problems with their school that they're forced to leave early.

If you're dead set on leaving, getting your affairs in order and contacting your BOE before December so they have a chance to upgrade a new ALT will probably help smooth things over.

Having a good excuse for leaving is good too, but I've known at least one ALT that told the BOE they were leaving because they were unhappy, and then told their school they were leaving because a relative was in the hospital so they got a ton of well wishes and farewell gifts. The people he talked to at the BOE were pissed when they found out and I don't think he had a pleasant farewell from them.

The only ALTs I know who broke contract and left on very good terms were ones who had job offers they couldn't turn down and were diligent in informing the BOE quickly and helped get things set up for the replacement ALT. It also probably helped that they spoke good Japanese and had good rapports with their schools.

Larien
October 29th, 2015, 13:56
How are you doing, OP?

JestersJ
December 2nd, 2015, 09:23
Our city's horror story with a breaking contract is from this year, the girl didn't stay 24 hours.

Apparently just went to Tokyo orientation, got to the city, introduced herself to the school and met her supervisors, got home, sent an email/called that night saying she was returning home. NO ONE knows why. My block tends to have a higher recontracting rate than most blocks, and sooo many Unicorn Jets. (5th years) A lot of them stayed after their 5th year with a private company too so they're not even gone. annnd no one knows what happened with her.


BUT, really just decide what's best for you.
Do you need the job experience so you can get hired when you return? Do you need the money? If so, it might be better just to tough it out and if you're ever asked why you didn't stay longer in a job interview you can say it was just a year to explore the world and see other cultures a bit.
If you feel like you have a strong resume and are pretty confident in the future, I'd say to feel free and do what you think will make you happy.