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Thread: How the application process needs to change

  1. #1

    Default How the application process needs to change

    Ok, excuse me for sounding like an entitled a*hole (which I am) but I think the whole 8 month waiting process thing, mixed with Japan's international status and economic status, the new tax system, all that sh*t should signal that something needs to change. If you look at Teach For America, we're doing a bunch of things that Monbusho refuses to consider. This is how I think they should do it.

    Selection system: the total number of JET schools seems to be bounded by the amount of schools that specifically want to join the program. The fact that there are still a hilariously huge amount of inaka positions and very close to zero participants in Tokyo, which contains a whole fifth of the Japanese population, should signal that there is something awkward about the design of the program. It suggests that schools in large cities, where you can generally find a higher rate of English fluency and international activism, don't find this program beneficial, which shouldn't be a surprise because the threshold for acceptance into JET is technically very low and bounded only by the size of the applicant pool versus the availability of schools. No school is ever told "we can't give you someone because we ran out of qualified applicants," but that doesn't mean that all schools are getting what they should be out of the system. In fact, most schools are getting almost nothing, and they're paying upwards of 3.5 million yen plus other fees. Yes, I understand what JET stands for, that doesn't justify that they're asking people to come be walking tape recorders and say a few things about their country for the salary of a young teacher. Many Japanese teachers feel that ALTs are overpaid, and many ALTs feel that their responsibilities are underwhelming, yet they don't feel any need to look at successful private schools and countries like Hong Kong and Singapore to figure out what the program needs. You can't justify the program's inability to help fix the miserable fluency rate of a country that is forced to go through at least six years of English education by saying that you're not hiring people to teach ESL, you're hiring them for "cultural exchange" which is simply not a 3.6 million yen job. The fact that smaller areas must rely on JET and Interac while public schools in big cities can hire full-time ESL teachers (and they do, according to my friend from Osaka) suggests a degree of educational discrimination in a country that needs anything but. Revamp the system, hire people based on teaching skills, and there will be more available schools for more people with more qualified people signing up for the job, and then everyone wins except the lazy, who are getting turned out anyway because the applicant pool is oversaturated.

    Pre-interview section: fine for the most part, everyone gets the same advantage, gets points based on their app allotted to a total amount of key skills, etc

    Interview section: needs to be more like the pre-interview section. You've already had a chance to look at all the applications before accepting them and after them, before interviews. You already assigned points to them and had a chance to go back and add comments about what specific benefits each application offered. By the time they come in for an interview your job should already be more than half-done, and this point should take far less than the amount of time it took to check each interviewed person's application. Treat the interview section a similar way and don't bullshit anyone. You've had time to prepare what you're going to ask this person, he or she has had time to review potential questions, don't try to play tricks or good cop/bad cop, ask questions that are relevant to the job position and its responsibilities, not simply viewing the job as a paid study abroad session, which it seems to be and shouldn't be. Give them a prompt ahead of time for a 3 minute lesson, because no one is going to come to a class unprepared and this gives you a chance to see how well he or she can prepare. Give them a secondary prompt if you must that checks the ability to react quickly, say something like "ok, some kid just ran up to you and gave you a kancho, what are you going to do?" because this is excessively relevant. Don't ask about favorite foods or some shit, don't spend more time asking about someone's experience with Japan and quiz questions and all that shit, because you need to know more than just "is this person going to do alright in Japan" and "is he or she interesting." Of course these are important questions, but if the entirety of your examination of one's teaching ability is a 3 minute long twitch-reaction teaching prompt, you're going to learn almost nothing about what this person's capacity to plan and enact an ESL lesson is like. Which is totally fine for JET in its current state, but schools are still hiring ALTs for the purpose of bringing in English education where they poorly need it, and you're denying them that by creating a joke of a program that focuses on culture.
    Grading people should also be easy at this point. After the 4 or 5 interviews you've had, you can talk about them to your mates, agree on a score for them on a scale of 1 to 10 where more than 5 is recommendable and less than 6 shows reservations, with notes about where someone does particularly well or particularly sucks so that the ultimate grading body can determine if an unimpressive score should be overridden based on special qualities, and otherwise an aggregate application+interview score of greater than 50% average should be enough to land someone in the "acceptable" pool, which the top X people are allotted based on X available positions and then another percentage is put into alternate status based on a percentage of the total number shortlisted reduced based on the percentage scores of that remainder group. There shouldn't be weeks of debate on this, once you've been interviewed they should know already how good you are. We didn't get to rehearse for the interview, you don't need to rehearse for the acceptance period. Sounds like you could get too many bad apples that way? Well, your program encourages bad apples. Be honest about what you want, if you keep advertising yourself as an ESL position you'll get too many people who expect to come to teach English, but then you're turning away people with actual experience because you want the whole thing to be a "cultural experience."

    That's just my two cents.

  2. #2
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change



    This could be good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  3. #3
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Such a misinformed post it has to be a troll
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Alright, let's talk.

  5. #5
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  6. #6
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Posting here was the right thing to do. Constructive criticism posted here is read daily by CLAIR, and they invariably implement the solutions we suggest on a regular and speedy basis.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  7. #7

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Of course, I am aware of that. I am aware CLAIR is ready to listen to any suggestions someone is willing to make, especially during alternate and placement season where their workload is especially high, so they should be contacted directly instead of criticism of the program being directed into democratic channels. Generally when some criticism is made of a program that affects a certain demographic, that criticism may not necessarily be shared, in exact terms, by all members of that demographic, so there's a possibility it would be effective if that demographic could discuss such a criticism and provide counterpoints. If only there were such a community, where individuals could initiate a discussion on that criticism to exchange ideas. Well, I guess not, so I'll just leave my post here where CLAIR can expediently read it and then address the concerns in such a timely fashion. Thank you for your attention, Word.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mothy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Sounds like someone got rejected.
    mothy 6.1.12
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  9. #9

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    accepted. it would've made for a boring topic if I got rejected before posting this

  10. #10
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Bless your heart.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    How lucky that you have a friend in Osaka that can fill you in on the educational status of all big cities in Japan based on their singular experience (by the way, it's EFL not ESL). Ask yourself why a city like Tokyo, full of foreigners, would need the help of the government to get foreigners to come to their city as compared to some rice paddy trailer park dump of 3000 people (not to mention offering more incentive to get them to stay, rent in my town is free)? Big cities have the foreigner pools and we can also assume that they have city offices with more international experience so that they have the ability to do the leg work of getting ALTs on their own. Why more bigger cities haven't changed over is more reflective of Japan's tendency to resist change rather than the quality of the participants (which isn't that high, anyone would agree).

    While your source of your irritation is shared by all other ALTs, your ignorance of the Japanese education system and JET program are keeping you from seeing the real problem. The reason other countries are better has nothing to do with the quality of JETs and everything to do with English education methodologies in this country. There are just as many inexperienced college grads in Korea and China as there are here.


    ALTs aren't teachers and they aren't expected to be. Waste of money? To be sure (and the money, combined with the hands-off approach for most BOEs, is the reason that private companies have taken over as much as they have). Most schools don't want some know-it-all foreigner coming, ignorant of the Japanese school system, and taking over the reigns. They have real, trained teachers for that and for leading English lessons. Don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of schools and BOEs that enjoy the benefits but that's not what the Japanese government wants. They just want some foreigner who can parrot words out of a textbook and share their funky foreignness who will go home eventually after they've lost their shiny foreignness. Not to mention that holding a license in your home country does not equal a teaching license in Japan in most schools and BOEs' eyes (this obviously doesn't go for every single school in Japan but I've never been recognized as a teacher despite my masters in Japanese-Foreign Language pedagogy and teaching in uni).

    I'm not saying that the JET program shouldn't seek to find better applicants with actual educational experience, I'm just saying that the problem lies in the educational system and the way English education is approached. Until that changes I don't think you can expect ALTs, or JET, to change, either.
    Last edited by Page; April 15th, 2013 at 10:11.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini
    If you are a empty husk of a man with no ambition come on jet, stay forever, drink yourself into a stupor every night, hurl abuse at people on itil like a roided up chimp at the feces olympics and die of thyroid cancer in your early 40s.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Thank you for taking me seriously, now we have something to talk about.

    Yes, my statistic for people I've met who I've talked with about the status of educational personnel is an inadequate sample. That doesn't change that every other understanding I have, along with the information you immediately follow with, is consistent with my belief that English language education is higher quality in more urbanized areas of Japan. The explanation you give me for why cities operate, while not untrue, doesn't challenge my assertions. Urban schools maintain more benefits in hiring and retaining personnel, while JET is basically a welfare service for everyone else. And EFL is a subset of ESL; one's foreign language will necessarily be a second/secondary language to that person.

    Actually your understanding of the contrast of Asian countries' English education is both wrong and misses my point. Underqualified staff is a product of inadequate educational methodology, which I agree is one of the problems bearing down on JET's approach to EFL (I'll use it just for you). I even addressed that in my point, that JET has an inaccurate approach, and that's causing problems in education; underqualified teachers arriving is a consequence of the former and an implication to the latter. Yet, you misunderstand the rest of Asia's relative success. Yes, other countries have better educational methodology. Let me give you an example of one: Korea's EPIK has a recruiter system, unlike JET, and many of these recruiters provide TOEFL certification packages. Which is a good recruiting tool, since pay is graded in EPIK based on one's qualifications. Have a Ph.D. in applied linguistics? JET is still giving you 3.36 million yen first year, deal with it. Similarly, Hong Kong's NET system is also graded, and failing to have a small multitude of certifications and experience is liable to keep you from walking through the door. What might keep you out of the JET program? Knowing too much about Japan, or failing a quiz question on the interview.

    What you say after follows exactly what I already argued, except that you believe schools are applying to JET for the same reason JET is recruiting. Most of those schools do not have well-trained English teachers, and often they're aware of that, they just hire someone who meets the qualifications which aren't much. They're not paying double-over a teacher's salary so they can hire someone to come in and provide a sideshow complete with juggling and Wakko's 50 states song, they're applying for an EFL teacher because they need one and they're using JET because, like you already said, they don't have the resources that urban schools have to pull people in directly. If they had even one fully-qualified English teacher on hand, he would have the responsibility of combing ESL Cafe to get an actual teacher.

    I can agree with your conclusion though.

  13. #13
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Thank you, Page; it's good to know that there are still a few nice folks around here to respond effectively to applicants suffering from some sort of butthurt. It's a shame DF seems to only be interested in hearing people agree with him.

    DF, one is not rejected from the JET Program because one "knows too much about Japan" or "fails a quiz question on the interview." Contrary to the popular opinion of the butthurt, applicants are not rejected because of those reasons.

    Why are you of the opinion that "most of those schools do not have well-trained English teachers"? Why are you of the opinion that ALTs make twice as much as Japanese teachers? Why are you of the opinion that having a teacher "comb the ESL Cafe" would produce superior ALTs than those produced by JET currently?

    You'll pardon me, good sir, if I am rather suspicious that you haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  14. #14
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Quote Originally Posted by DickForce View Post
    And EFL is a subset of ESL; one's foreign language will necessarily be a second/secondary language to that person.
    I'm going to have to agree with Page on this one - the distinction is significant enough to warrant the use of a different term. You wouldn't teach English the same way to people already living in a predominantly English-speaking country and to people who are studying a language with which they have little contact outside of class.

    I thought that JET used to hire only EFL-certified teachers, but the JTEs were the ones who resisted this? Not sure if it's fact, but I've heard that before.

    And, as word mentioned, JETs actually don't make more than JTEs, unless perhaps they're in their first or second year of work. Our monthly salary is higher, but because we don't get the bonuses they do the average income works out to about the same as that of a second-year public school teacher.

    Furthermore, it's also true for Japanese teachers and not just ALTs that holding special EFL certifications doesn't get you a higher salary. Aside from slight distinctions depending on how long it took you to get into college and pass your exams, once you're a teacher your salary is based on how long you've been in the school system. I don't disagree that using higher pay as a motivation to get more credentials might be a good thing, but before you praise EPIK as a model for JET you might want to look at the experience of some English teachers in Korea. Korean students may score marginally better than Japanese students on average in standardized English tests, but I think if you check you will see that a lot of English teachers in Korea are experiencing similar frustrations to JET participants, and not always seeing evidence of actual practical English ability.

    Edit: also, looking back on your original post, I'm starting to realize that a lot of the problems you are seeing in JET's application process come from what you've learned online here and in the JET forums. The problem is that most of us really don't understand how JET's selection process works. We tell ourselves a lot of things in an effort to understand why some seemingly qualified people were rejected and some certified morons were hired ("You probably didn't get in because you just speak too much Japanese!"), but we can't know for sure what every person at every consulate is thinking (bearing in mind also that many people involved in the JET selection process have never themselves worked in public schools or taught English). There's a lot of speculation, but you have to take everything you read online with a grain of salt, including this website, because hell, half the time we're just talking out of our asses. And as far as teachers complaining that JETs are overpaid, yes, that criticism has come up before, but if you're not already teaching in Japan where would you have heard about it except online? A lot of teachers in my school don't feel that way; if most Japanese people considered it an unreasonable expense the program wouldn't even exist.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; April 15th, 2013 at 12:07.

  15. #15
    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    I love you Rommy.

    I gave up as soon as I saw TFA mentioned.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Thank you, Page; it's good to know that there are still a few nice folks around here to respond effectively to applicants suffering from some sort of butthurt. It's a shame DF seems to only be interested in hearing people agree with him.
    Which is why I expressed gratitude to her for addressing my post and not lazily hotlinking a troll meme. Thanks for showing me up Word.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    DF, one is not rejected from the JET Program because one "knows too much about Japan" or "fails a quiz question on the interview." Contrary to the popular opinion of the butthurt, applicants are not rejected because of those reasons.
    That was a metonymical simplification. It is not to say that every question, or even most questions, that JET interviewers ask are completely without value, but that they cloud the process of trying to find an effective English teacher by assuring foremost that the person is interesting and would make a good study abroad candidate if JET were more a publicity/"experience Japan" program than an actual recruiting agency, which, I think we might all agree, it actually is.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Why are you of the opinion that "most of those schools do not have well-trained English teachers"?
    One, because if they did they either wouldn't need ALTs or wouldn't need JET. Two, a quick travel to the current JETs' section of this forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Why are you of the opinion that ALTs make twice as much as Japanese teachers?
    I'm not, I said that BoEs pay twice over for ALTs, since they do have to pay a recruiting fee anyway you cut it.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Why are you of the opinion that having a teacher "comb the ESL Cafe" would produce superior ALTs than those produced by JET currently?
    Because then they could pursue what they're looking for without having to pay a recruitment fee. If you independently search for an EFL teacher, you may end up paying 3.3 million a year for a teacher who's not great at his job. If you contract through JET, you will definitely end up paying 6 million for the first year for an excellent circus clown.

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    You'll pardon me, good sir, if I am rather suspicious that you haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about.
    Easy conclusion to reach if you start off with the bias that the person you're talking to is an idiot and a troll, and then reduce everything he says to the most incriminating understanding you could potentially derive, rather than admitting that you don't follow what he's getting at and ask him to clarify.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity
    I thought that JET used to hire only EFL-certified teachers, but the JTEs were the ones who resisted this?
    I wouldn't be able to tell you. What I heard was that in the old days anyone who could fill out an application, successfully attend the meeting, and didn't have any hideous scars or a background of serial murder could get through the door, and they specifically looked for people with no Japanese experience, which they later revamped because they found it was inefficient. How much is hearsay, I couldn't tell you.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity
    Furthermore, it's also true for Japanese teachers and not just ALTs that holding special EFL certifications doesn't get you a higher salary.
    Just because everyone else in the country is doing it wrong doesn't mean JET needs to do it wrong too. It's not like JET's problems are isolated, but at least other firms have a goal focused more on EFL than simply cultural interaction.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity
    before you praise EPIK as a model for JET you might want to look at the experience of some English teachers in Korea. Korean students may score marginally better than Japanese students on average in standardized English tests, but I think if you check you will see that a lot of English teachers in Korea are experiencing similar frustrations to JET participants, and not always seeing evidence of actual practical English ability.
    They're two countries with two programs with most of the same problems, yet Korea is slightly more meritocracy-based and Korean students perform slightly better, so I'll leave the statistical analysis up to you.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity
    I'm starting to realize that a lot of the problems you are seeing in JET's application process come from what you've learned online here and in the JET forums. The problem is that most of us really don't understand how JET's selection process works. We tell ourselves a lot of things in an effort to understand why some seemingly qualified people were rejected and some certified morons were hired ("You probably didn't get in because you just speak too much Japanese!"), but we can't know for sure what every person at every consulate is thinking (bearing in mind also that many people involved in the JET selection process have never themselves worked in public schools or taught English).
    Well, no, I've learned a lot about JET from a lot of people before and after coming here. It's been on my mind for maybe five years now, so it's not like I suddenly popped up here and decided I suddenly knew everything. I admit there is a lot I don't personally know, but there has been some insight released concerning the program's selection method, and some of it is more blatantly stated, so some things can be taken with a little less than a grain of salt depending on how dedicated your research capacity is.

  17. #17

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Working, will reply later but the difference between EFL/ESL is environment:

    EFL - English taught in an environment where English is not readily accessible language (i.e. teaching English in Japan)
    ESL - English taught in an environment where it is the predominant language (i.e. immigrants learning English in the US)

    Use of the two has no relation to the ability of the language to become someone's L2.
    Last edited by Page; April 15th, 2013 at 12:39.

  18. #18
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Quote Originally Posted by DickForce View Post
    They're two countries with two programs with most of the same problems, yet Korea is slightly more meritocracy-based and Korean students perform slightly better, so I'll leave the statistical analysis up to you.
    If you want me to do a statistical analysis I'm also going to point out that Korea has a higher suicide rate than Japan and an incredibly high amount of pressure relating to test performance. Just because it means slightly better test scores doesn't mean we should emulate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DickForce View Post
    Well, no, I've learned a lot about JET from a lot of people before and after coming here. It's been on my mind for maybe five years now, so it's not like I suddenly popped up here and decided I suddenly knew everything. I admit there is a lot I don't personally know, but there has been some insight released concerning the program's selection method, and some of it is more blatantly stated, so some things can be taken with a little less than a grain of salt depending on how dedicated your research capacity is.
    Why are your friends any more reliable sources than we are? If you have have a better information source, "there has been some insight released concerning the program's selection method, and some of it is more blatantly stated" is a pretty vague way of referencing it. Are you talking about this? Importing Diversity: Inside Japans JET Program - David McConnell - Google �u�b�N�X

    Quote Originally Posted by DickForce View Post
    admitting that you don't follow what he's getting at and ask him to clarify.
    Hmm actually maybe I agree with word ... sounds vaguely trollish.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; April 15th, 2013 at 12:44.

  19. #19

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    If you want me to do a statistical analysis I'm also going to point out that Korea has a higher suicide rate than Japan and an incredibly high amount of pressure relating to test performance. Just because it means slightly better test scores doesn't mean we should emulate it.
    As much as the hagwon lifestyle of students sucks in Korea, it's not much worse than the juku lifestyle of students in Japan, if at all. Regardless, the correlation of time as a raw input variable and English performance is extremely weak, so the suicide-influencing factors of Korea's school life might not be worth isolating for the purpose of such an analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    Why are your friends any more reliable sources than we are?
    No one is any more reliable than anyone else; my understanding is an aggregate of all the perspectives I've been handed.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    If you have have a better information source, "there has been some insight released concerning the program's selection method, and some of it is more blatantly stated" is a pretty vague way of referencing it. Are you talking about this? Importing Diversity: Inside Japans JET Program - David McConnell - Google �u�b�N�X
    Well, you didn't ask me for a source, but yes, that's it, so I guess I could've been more vague.

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    Hmm actually maybe I agree with word ... sounds vaguely trollish.
    Troll is just a blanket word you guys use to describe anyone whose opinion annoys you. Real trolling is exerting little effort to produce a large response. Me calling Word out for talking down to me is not trolling, it's just keeping with the banter. If I spoke politely and agreed with everyone, then you would be even more suspicious of me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How the application process needs to change

    DickForce

    I'm sorry you didnt get in. If you need any cash to keep you going or whatever just let me know and I'll wire you a couple of man. I'm still on the old payscale
    Last edited by mrcharisma; April 15th, 2013 at 13:23.

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