View Full Version : JET or 'real' job?

January 4th, 2016, 12:39
Hi ITIL community! I'm a long time lurker first time poster. My question is this: should I do JET or push on with my career?

Here's my circumstances: I graduated six years ago and have been working pretty solidly in the direction of my goals. Over the last three years I've had a good job but due to some changes it's no longer the right fit for me. Because of these changes I thought - good time to apply for JET, which I have considered for a long time (quick note: I studied in Japan on exchange and have visited a few times, so I've wanted to deepen that knowledge/experience with JET). Now, here's where it gets sticky: I've had a few nibbles in the career department (read: I've been asked (unsolicited) to apply for some really good jobs, but they are with a company I've been with for a long time and am a bit over...) and (despite my over-it-ness) am really excited for those opportunities. However, I have been wanting to go on JET since I graduated and also really want to do that... hence my conundrum! The other thing is, JET isn't really a big side step from my career as I want to work in international education and exchange. At this stage I've been offered an interview.

I guess I am super conflicted as I'm ready for a big change in duties and lifestyle and I feel like JET will push me in ways I've not worked before so it could be a good activity in personal development... but then, I want this career... part of me is saying 'go do JET, you won't regret it', and the other part is saying 'take this job, if you don't like it, go on JET...' but my issue there is I don't want to screw up this particular relationship (with the person who has offered me this job) because I've been building it for 6+ years. The other compounding factor is I'd be taking my husband with me to Japan and he'd be on a dependent visa, which has it's own intricacies as the picture isn't just about me.

Any input would be really greatly appreciated. As many of you are, I'm super passionate about Japan but at the moment I'm a bit turned around. Thanks all.

Satori Shinobi
January 4th, 2016, 15:43
At this stage I've been offered an interview.

For what? JET or this other job position?

Have you applied for the 2016 cycle? If not, you'll be waiting around until next Autumn to start the application process. Do you or your husband have any Japanese language skills? What does your husband do for work? Would he be looking for some type of work while over here or would he be free to do as he pleases?

My personal belief is that JET should be a single person's journey on account of the hardships that may arise. Of course there are married JETs that are here (single and double participation; some have children with them as well). How long would you be considering staying here for if you were accepted?

January 4th, 2016, 16:36
Career would always be the practical choice. Only you can really answer if doing something impractical at this point in your life is important enough to risk hurting your career.

January 4th, 2016, 16:51
Thanks mothy and Satori for your replies. Satori, to explain a little further: I have interviews for both the 'career' option at home and the 2016 cycle JET interviews. I have some (basic - intermediate) Japanese, my husband does not but has been to Japan and is keen to learn. He works in film and was considering online study while we are there, plus whatever else he can pick up. I certainly have concerns about what he might do - not financial as we have a decent kitty, but in terms of having interesting stuff to occupy his time. If I were accepted it would be only a year for us as he doesn't qualify for a working visa and I don't think more than that is fair on him (if even a year is at all...). Very interested to hear your thoughts.

January 4th, 2016, 19:06
It seems that you're hesitating more about leaving your current career path to go on JET.
Stay on your current path.
Your JET placement is a 50/50 dice roll anyway on whether it'd be awesome or terrible.

If it's your dream, go for it. If it was just an idea that sounded fun, re-think, talk it over, re-think again.

January 4th, 2016, 19:30
I applied this year so I'll give you the advice I received from my mentor when I was debating applying: you can start your career any time, you're still young and can handle some risk.

January 5th, 2016, 21:10
I wasn't gonna chime in until rekrab posted. Yes you can start your career anytime, but are you ready to start over for a one year vacation that could (quite) potentially restart your career pay scale? Is giving up 6 years of career progress really the right choice? What will jet do for your career?

In your position you should be very very careful about living your field for jet unless there is a a very tangible benefit to you (and let's keep the emotional element out of it for a second). If i was in your position id take the upward movement and put that financial gain away towards a two week Japanese vacation over giving up career movement for an experience. Very few people actually are successful at the yolo life, and anyone who tells you you must travel when your young is either young or lived stupidly.

My advice, stay with the job, take the the position, and after you get an acceptance letter reevaluate your life then (read three months from now)

January 6th, 2016, 05:48

Do it, careers are for losers

January 6th, 2016, 09:02
OP - It sounds like you just are not happy with your current position. There is no reason to make these plans or even pose the question until the options are actually available to you. Currently you just have interviews. Do the interviews and see what happens. If they offer you the 'career' job, come back and we can discuss. Or, it might reveal to you which prefer.

But at the moment you have no reason to stress.

January 8th, 2016, 08:14
...Currently you just have interviews. Do the interviews and see what happens. If they offer you the 'career' job, come back and we can discuss. Or, it might reveal to you which prefer.

Thank you all! Kalliea, I think you are right on this. I've had the 'career' interview... which became more interviews, and now I'm waiting to see if there is an offer. It's been an interesting week - I'm sure in the next few days I'll have something more concrete to consider.

Gizmotech - you're totally right, not everyone is very good at YOLO life, and I've had a lot of opportunities to travel in the last few years. I think the footloose part of me wants to get out in the world, but the other part of me is really ready to commit to my career on the next level. Funny how we can want to go two directions at once... thanks for your input.

January 12th, 2016, 20:39
Your JET placement is a 50/50 dice roll anyway on whether it'd be awesome or terrible.

^ This is totally true.

However, even if it's a totally terrible experience, if you've never lived abroad outside of the comfort of being a tourist, I think this is a valuable experience.

Plus, since you have job prospects back home, you can always GTFO after a year if you don't like it.

January 12th, 2016, 23:57
I'd only recommend doing this if you are ready to give up your life at home and are looking to start over in Japan. At this point, like Gizmotech said giving up six years of your career progress to go to Japan is going to probably hurt that career and you're probably going to regret it eventually if all JET becomes is a short break from reality.

Now, if you are the rare type of person that really is ok with spending the rest of your life as an ALT or eikaiwa teacher, then sure JET would be a good start as it gives you time to get experience while building connections and looking for the next job.

I'm not saying this is bad or good. Some people truly are ok living a simple life in inaka Japan without much career progress or making much money and if that's what you're looking for then by all means go ahead.

But it sounds like maybe you're just in a rut and looking for a break?

January 13th, 2016, 07:42
As everyone keeps saying, JET really has no upward career path, except maybe for a recent college grad who has no impressive creds on their resume otherwise. Seems like you've built up a pretty nice one that you're hesitant about letting go. If you feel like you really need the experience living abroad for personal fulfillment, I'd say go for it. But I get the feeling that this position probably won't challenge you as much as you'd hope... sure, the aspect of living/surviving in Japan will be a challenge in itself and Idk exactly what you do for work, but it seems like it's on a higher tier than an assistant-ship. Yeah, it's a big roll of the dice in terms of what exactly you'll be doing in the classroom, how you'll like your placement, but in the end you're always gonna be an assistant and mostly everyone in the workplace is gonna treat you as such, because they know there's always a big turnover with these positions. So I guess that's something to consider.

A lot can change between now and once you find out your results, but really consider the reasons why you want JET... for the teaching experience, as a personal challenge, or because you've got a big itch for travel/get out in the world? If it's the last one, I agree with the people saying to plan a trip. And if your field of work is within international education, if you keep working at your career, there's no reason you can't try to get to Japan later with bigger and better plans. I know someone who got rejected from JET, taught at an eikaiwa for a year, got their TESOL master's, and now teaches English at a top university in Japan.... with a much better salary, and potential to grow their career, I'm sure. Especially if you're in this field already, it really doesn't have to be JET that gets you to Japan.