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Thread: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

  1. #1

    Default Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    I feel like I'm bending over backwards for the opportunity to wait 8+ months to start an entry-level job.

    The pay is a little bit better than other, similar jobs.

    They sponsor your visa and pay for transportation.

    Maybe it looks better on a resume.

    Am I missing something, or has JET simply done a kick-ass job of marketing their program to make it seem like it's head and shoulders above the rest? Are you applying to other positions in Japan as you wait to hear on JET?

  2. #2
    Member MinisterDM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    An entry level job in a foreign country where you have a stable income and a high (comparably) standard of living. A chance to practice your writing, intercultural, and interview skills with the possibility to get paid for said practice. Oh, and you get to go to Japan!

    Yeah, the work is tough, but welcome to the big boy world. I don't know, the 8+ month wait almost makes it worth it to me. I mean, its really just a 2 month wait minimum actually (if your not selected to go to interview). So, it feels worth it.
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    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinisterDM View Post
    An entry level job in a foreign country where you have a stable income and a high (comparably) standard of living. A chance to practice your writing, intercultural, and interview skills with the possibility to get paid for said practice. Oh, and you get to go to Japan!

    Yeah, the work is tough, but welcome to the big boy world. I don't know, the 8+ month wait almost makes it worth it to me. I mean, its really just a 2 month wait minimum actually (if your not selected to go to interview). So, it feels worth it.
    It's definitely asking a legitimate question to ask though. JET used to be much better than a lot of the ALT jobs you can get from overseas (direct hire jobs are a different matter, but oftentimes you can't get them unless you're already in Japan on a work visa), but with the pay decrease and the loss of a lot of vacation days, controlling BOEs, etc. it's not as clear-cut as JET would make it out to be. You have all the perks that come with being a government employee, but you don't have much say in where you live and you could end up with a terrible BOE in an expensive placement.

    In all honesty, if you aren't necessarily interested in becoming a teacher and you have a skill set that can get you another working visa at a job in Japan with similar pay that's more in line with your career goals, I wouldn't advise JET to you.

    For your consideration: Australian JETs will make about minimum wage in 2013.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; November 20th, 2013 at 11:44.

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    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    As windy said, this is a much harder question than it used to be. The salary cut a couple of years ago has made JET more competitive in Japan, but has also made it a little less attractive than it used to be.

    JETs tend to be placed more in the country, where companies like Interac rule the cities.

    Company ALTs often don't have to work during the summer, but don't get paid for it either.

    JETs get their flights to and from the country paid for.

    JETs are civil servants and are thus difficult to get rid of before the end of their contract. Company ALTs can be fired whenever, and the company just hires another foreigner to take their place. That also tends to mean that companies are happy to scrape the bottom of the barrel, where JETs are a little more highly regarded.
    ...because Japan.

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    It depends what you want.

    JET is probably still held in higher regard and you'll get more respect as a government worker. There's less chance of getting screwed over in the long run and it'll look better on your CV if you want to stay on in Japan afterwards.
    Being a government worker and living in the countryside normally means you get a better "experience" of Japanese life and will probably be more involved with the community.

    Private companies expect less of you, shorter working hours and you can get placements in areas with more than 2 people and a goat in them. If you are only coming for a year or two and want to travel the country, bang some yellow poon and get your drink on then its a better option.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Than other opportunities in general? Probably not, if you have relevant qualifications and skills and can get a job in your field of choice in your own country or internationally it's probably a much better opportunity than JET. People go into JET for the experience of living in Japan as much as for the job (which is designed to be temporary) itself.

    Than other ALT/TESOL opportunities in Japan? Yes. I've done the Eikaiwa thing myself and I have friends currently doing the main different ALT options (interac etc.) and they aren't on the same level as JET. Pay can often be comparable or even in a few cases better (especially since the lowering of JET wages) and certainly a lot of the other jobs have a greater amount of freedom/free time BUT there are three important things that JET has going for it (4 if you include the flight).

    1. The value of the name, inside and outside of Japan the job of a JET has much more prestige going for it than any of the other random jobs, sure at the end of the day you might still end up doing the same thing and being a glorified CD player but the fact that it's an official government program, that it has stated goals of helping to spread international culture and partnership and so on look and sound much better to any post teaching in Japan employer looking at your resume.

    2. Job security and protection of contractual rights, as part of the official government program and a direct employee of your BoE you have much greater protection against losing your job (in my area you'd pretty much have to go and do something illegal and lose your visa before they would consider firing you) and with a set contract and multiple avenues of recourse for complaints it is also very possible to fight against things going above and beyond your intended role. Now i'm not personally recommending that people are hardcore about keeping to the letter of the contract since giving a little extra can often make a huge difference in the level you are accepted by other staff, but fighting against unreasonable requests or using things like Byoukyuu (sick leave) which we have as part of our contract (and which is something that Japanese teachers would almost never even consider taking) is not a problem.

    3. The support networks, between fellow JETs in your BoE, the various AJET groups, the alumni groups, the support lines, CLAIR, online forums (both official and unofficial like this one) etc. etc. JET has a huge support network to help you deal with just about anything both before, during and after your time as a JET. This is something that none of the other options have going for them.

    That's not to say that there isn't a heap of stuff problematic about JET (the gamble you take with placements for example) or that many of the positives can't equally become negatives, but it really is the better option for a short (1-5 year) term job in Japan.

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    The "support network" does foster a certain attitude in people. JETs tend to expect the world to revolve around them and are used to having the BOE wipe their arse for them. Private companies dont have the time or money to waste spoon feeding people so the ALTs tend to need more common sense. Chances are the majority of your friends will either work for the same company or be on JET with you so choose which group best suits you. If you are a pragmatic person JETs will annoy you, if you have never left your parents basement before you will probably starve to death with a private company.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    What Ini is saying might sound like he's taking the piss but it's pretty accurate. A lot of JETs really do have the mentality of a university student rather than of someone doing a job, and JET positions definitely allow that kind of mentality to persist compared to private companies, from what I can tell.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    The above two posts sum it up quite well. if you get on JET, be prepared to find spoiled rich kids whining all over your social media pages on a regular basis, alongside people who are nowhere near as unique or quirky as they like to think they are.

    This in turn can foster the development of a highly childish social scene amongst JETs, but each prefecture is different.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; November 20th, 2013 at 15:28.

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    Member MinisterDM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Hmm, what y'all are saying is very interesting. Are JETs really that immature?
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    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    It depends on the prefecture. Hopefully there's at least a few people in your area that aren't complete babies.

    The flip side of that is that a number of BOEs treat their JETs like children, with things like not letting them drive, making them all sign up for the same internet/phone company, making them ask permission to leave the prefecture and so on. Private companies don't care as long as you don't commit any kind of major crime. The handholding can be nice if you don't speak Japanese, but if you want to do things for yourself, then JET can be a little stifling.

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    Senior Member zombiekelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Yes and no.

    Yes in that you get more pay (at least compared to me), the rent is easier on the wallet, better holiday structure.

    No in that you're not the BOE's bitch, you can get a second job if you want it, and the placements tend to be closer to an actual city instead of a village.
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    If you are a pragmatic person JETs will annoy you.
    This.
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    Member MinisterDM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    It depends on the prefecture. Hopefully there's at least a few people in your area that aren't complete babies.

    The flip side of that is that a number of BOEs treat their JETs like children, with things like not letting them drive, making them all sign up for the same internet/phone company, making them ask permission to leave the prefecture and so on. Private companies don't care as long as you don't commit any kind of major crime. The handholding can be nice if you don't speak Japanese, but if you want to do things for yourself, then JET can be a little stifling.
    What?!?! Seriously?
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    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinisterDM View Post
    What?!?! Seriously?
    It's very rare, but it has been known. It's usually related to having an idiot-ALT ten or fifteen years earlier, whose bad behaviour caused new rules for all future ALTs at that BoE. The no-driving rules, which are somewhat more common, are usually the same thing.
    ...because Japan.

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    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    We had that rule very briefly after the 2011 earthquake, but no one followed it.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by MinisterDM View Post
    What?!?! Seriously?

    Yes, especially because they had contact with a super juvenile ALT At some point and therefore all ALTs are children.
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    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    I think my BOE wants to be informed when I leave the country, but I think they might want to know that for practical reasons. I expect they're only concerned about my ability to get back to work in case there are any problems. All in all, my BOE is absolutely great.

    As for me, I'm 31, and I chose to go with JET because I didn't like my career prospects at home. I thought this was an opportunity to learn Japanese and finish some correspondence courses to finish my business degree. So far, it has been a great choice for me. I am meeting all my personal goals.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    I think my BOE wants to be informed when I leave the country, but I think they might want to know that for practical reasons. I expect they're only concerned about my ability to get back to work in case there are any problems. All in all, my BOE is absolutely great.

    As for me, I'm 31, and I chose to go with JET because I didn't like my career prospects at home. I thought this was an opportunity to learn Japanese and finish some correspondence courses to finish my business degree. So far, it has been a great choice for me. I am meeting all my personal goals.
    I'll be 31 shortly. It's been great so far, but I'll say that I rather hate being treated like I'm 15.
    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.

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    Default Re: Is JET actually that much better than other opportunities?

    I came to Japan with an eikaiwa, worked for them for 2 years, went through their bankruptcy and then switched to JET. I have to say there is some truth in the idea that JETs can be a bit of a special group of people. Of course, not all JETs are as bad as stated above, but I noticed that there is a lot more special snowflaking, interdependence and whining about, even demanding things that are mindblowing amongst them as compared to those at eikaiwa. This is not to say that everyone at eikaiwa are amazing people, in fact a lot of them were douches, but they were a lot more independent out of necessity. There was also a lot less of a feeling that hanging out with one another was in any way mandatory or even expected.
    I was shocked when I switched to Japan at how much hand holding goes on. I was also shocked at some of the things I saw people whining about on their facebooks. Saying their BOE sucked because it wouldn't do things like, raise their pay to compensate for the changing exchange rate, take care of exchanging something they bought in their private time, etc. etc.

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