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Thread: Worth it?

  1. #1
    Village Idiot RoflCopter's Avatar
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    Default Worth it?

    I've been a long time lurker of the forums and I've finally decided to make my first post. It's a question to current English teachers in Japan; If you were established in the United States would you still have moved to Japan? I was fortunate enough to get a job right out of college, not only does it pay well but I've got pretty good benefits. I understand that this question is a personal one and it all depends on each individual's goals in life. But is it worth leaving an established career to teach in Japan? Would that decision have been easier/harder to make if you were in my situation? I'm only 23 by the way, but I'm in a position to move up within the organization at a rather rapid pace.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Worth it?

    I'm graduating with a degree in Engineering and had some full-time positions lined up that would have put me in a similar position as you. In my opinion, it's not about the money but comes down to what makes you happy. For me I know that this is something I want to have actually been brave enough to follow through on instead of having regrets later in life. Worst case scenario? Go back to grad school and reset back on your career path.

  3. #3
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    worth it? over an actually established career track job? absolutely not. Get the career and stability, save your pennies, and come over for a couple of weeks in your thirties on vacation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
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    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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    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Personally speaking, Im gonna agree with gizmotech here. Teaching is not a profession to make tons of money. It is about the experience of helping others and being able to live in new cultures and try new food.

    One of the biggest issues many recently returned jets deal with is coming back to the states with degrees that may not be in high demand. Dont get me wrong, there are many successful jet alumni, but you need to work at it.

    I believe participating in the jet program can be a very rewarding experience for those who take advantage of all it has to offer. Some people honestly just need a break from college and want to live in japan. There is nothing wrong with that, but you need to have a plan when you get home.

    Like you said though, this is a personal decision. Weigh the pros and the cons, but definitely think about the job market. Where will you be in 3+ years in your current company? Are you happy there? What would you gain professionally and personally by teaching english in japan?

    Good luck!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Worth it?

    Definitely not worth it in the long term. You'll probably get a mix of answers from people at different life stages and situations but there is no way a temporary job, even if a meaningful one, is worth putting aside an established job with opportunities to progress. Some people manage to take a year off of their work (with the promise of being able to come back) and do JET so that could be an option to look into as well. Personally, unless your job is in such high demand that you don't foresee issues finding another position I wouldn't chance it. Long term always wins!
    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.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Page View Post
    Definitely not worth it in the long term. You'll probably get a mix of answers from people at different life stages and situations but there is no way a temporary job, even if a meaningful one, is worth putting aside an established job with opportunities to progress. Some people manage to take a year off of their work (with the promise of being able to come back) and do JET so that could be an option to look into as well. Personally, unless your job is in such high demand that you don't foresee issues finding another position I wouldn't chance it. Long term always wins!
    While I completely agree, you need to make sure you won't be like 40 and have serious regrets. Be true to what you want to do in life, what will make you happiest in the long run and go with that. If you have this sense of adventure you want to get out of your system, make sure you have something to come back to and just do it. If you don't think it's all that worth it and something a long vacation can satisfy, stay on track and hold onto that job.

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    Default Re: Worth it?

    What sort of job did you get? I'm presuming it's in your field, and that your field is probably in STEM, if you got a job right out college. How hard was it for you to get the job? I know it's not easy even for people with useful degrees to just walk into employment these days, but if it is a STEM degree you won't have that much trouble finding something if you're not attached to a particular location, which you clearly aren't if you're considering moving to Japan.

    I think American culture is slowly moving away (or being dragged away by the job market anyway) to be less of a "Get Yours Before Your Peers Get It" mindset. I know everyone I went to college with wanted to walk onto a 50k a year job and move up the ranks as quickly as possible so they could be 30 and millionaires or whatever. But it's not super important to jump into real life at a sprint like that. If you easily found a job at 23, you can easily find a job at 24 or 25. Even if you only do JET for a year or two, it'll be a little more life lived when you're young enough to enjoy it.

    I make garbage money now on a short career path outside of my (useless) field of study. JET will actually mean a better salary for me. But I have a friend who pays more than my salary in taxes, and he's miserable even though he's got job security and money. If you're 23, it's unlikely life has slapped you around a lot like it's going to be for the next decade or so. It might as well be screaming in a foreign language while it's abusing you.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Worth it?

    Do you like the job? I think that should be the primary question you ask yourself. I had a secure job that payed well at one point. I even had the ability to progress up the ranks. However, I didn't like it. If you are working a job that you think is something that will keep you happy over the years, there is a real possibility that you will regret leaving it for something transitory. Moreover, despite what some have said, you are NOT guaranteed a job of similar quality when you come back home. It sounds like you obtained this job fairly easily, but that does NOT mean it will be just as easy the next time around. Life is funny that way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Everyone is different as you've already stated, and therefore you'll have a multitude of answers.

    Most people come here for the experience rather than the pay. Let me be honest, it's not a very difficult job. It's true that the workload may vary from ALT to ALT, but you're usually as busy as you want to make yourself.

    To shed light on myself, I'm from Canada originally. I came here for four reasons. 1) I wanted a salary job straight out of university, and 2) I wanted to live away from Canada for a year, 3) I wanted to experience what Japan has to offer. and 4) I wanted to gain experience in international/foreign relations (the career path I'd like to go down). I could have stayed in Canada and probably landed a job within a month or two of graduating. I would've been making about 5-10k per year more than I make here as well. I opted for JET though because I come from the belief that you need to experience the world while you're young. It's true, in your 30's you can travel to another country because you'll likely have a stable job and income. Don't forget though, you'll also likely have a house, a family, kids. Those are expenses like no other. I think that the only other chance you'll have to visit Japan is when you're retired.

    There were 2 (maybe more) ALT's during my intake from my city that had stable jobs; they both made around 50-60k a year. But they came to Japan on JET for the experience, not the pay.
    Last edited by Kdes23; April 28th, 2014 at 09:15.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Worth it?

    If you could take a sabbatical from your job then a single year on Jet would be worth it in my opinion. I know a few "long-term thinkers" in their late 20s / early 30s who have been chained to their desks for the past decade, kept going only by the compulsion to buy a more expensive dining table than their peers. It's a miserable existence.

    If however you really like your job and wouldn't be guaranteed it on your return, the long holiday option is best.
    Last edited by mrcharisma; April 28th, 2014 at 09:18.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    If you could take a sabbatical from your job then a single year on Jet would be worth it in my opinion. I know a few "long-term thinkers" in their late 20s / early 30s who have been chained to their desks for the past decade, kept going only by the compulsion to buy a more expensive dining table than their peers. It's a miserable existence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  12. #12
    Village Idiot RoflCopter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Sorry, I wasn't able to get back a bit sooner, I've been pretty busy this weekend. Thank you for all the great responses!

    My degree is in Information Technology/Computer Science(I minored in Electrical Engineering/Bio-Med), I don't think that it would be all that difficult to land a job once I get back into the States(Assuming I make it through the entire JET Process!). I think that I'll take two weeks in September and visit Japan; that experience should give me a better idea if I'd like to live there for two to three years.

    I'm fortunate enough to not really care much about material possessions. I invest/save the vast majority of my money, beyond my computer(which is worth more than my car) I don't have anything of significant value. Hell, the only reason I want to become "rich" is so no one in my immediate family ever has to worry about money in their lives. I'm blessed in that regard, I get to spend an unusually large amount of time with my family and that is all I really care about.

    I think the possible experience gained far outweighs my current/long-term financial stability at the moment.

    Thanks again for all the responses, I'm going to go ahead and apply this upcoming fall. Assuming I make it through the entire process, I'll deal with the "worth it" portion at that point in time.

  13. #13
    Pimpin wenches aint easy BeckyJones's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    honestly that is a question for yourself to answer, not ppl on a forum. Do you value experience, job, money, getting drunk and fucking around? all are things to consider.

    what japan will offer you. a couple of years to fuck off in a foreign country, some friends in a foreign country and some experience living abroad.

    if that is what you want, do it. if you want career advancement, this is not the land for you
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    His dying breath will not be how sorry he is to leave his wife or children, but it will be saved to insult Jiggit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    I think this really depends on your own personal goals.

    When I left the states last year I was working for a large University. I didn't make a ton of money, but good benefits were part of the package and I could have easily gotten a better paying position elsewhere in the university. With my experience in immigration, I probably could have gotten a position with better pay in another university in the states just as easily, if I had been willing to relocate.

    For me, coming to Japan has and will continue to be worth it for quite some time. My career field is international education. I want to be as close to fluent in Japanese as possible. I was placed in an AMAZING placement through which I am getting a lot of very good, relevant experience as a new teacher, and also as a professional in my field.

    Whether or not it will be worth it to you, will depend on your goals. I do believe very firmly that people underestimate the value of cross-cultural communication experience. A year or two of that will make you a lot more marketable than you might think, and will open your mind considerably, if you let it. If you feel personal growth is just as important as professional/monetary growth, then I think it might be worth it to you. It also depends on what you do with your situation. If you receive a placement in which you are under utilized, can you MAKE the situation worth it?

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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by RoflCopter View Post
    I've been a long time lurker of the forums and I've finally decided to make my first post. It's a question to current English teachers in Japan; If you were established in the United States would you still have moved to Japan? I was fortunate enough to get a job right out of college, not only does it pay well but I've got pretty good benefits. I understand that this question is a personal one and it all depends on each individual's goals in life. But is it worth leaving an established career to teach in Japan? Would that decision have been easier/harder to make if you were in my situation? I'm only 23 by the way, but I'm in a position to move up within the organization at a rather rapid pace.
    It's hard for me to say: I was in the same position as you. I went, had the time of my life, got more trim in a week than I'd get in 10 years back home, and learned a lot. I guess I only regret not staying there forever. In short, you might go and not want to come back, accepting mediocrity because you're having a good time.

    Save lots of money, and after 10 years at the place you're working (or whatever) take a 6 months sabbatical.

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    Default Re: Worth it?

    After ten years, don't forget to revive this thread.

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    Village Idiot RoflCopter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by greyjoy View Post
    After ten years, don't forget to revive this thread.
    Noted.

  18. #18
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    OP,
    So what did you decide to do?
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  19. #19
    Village Idiot RoflCopter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    OP,
    So what did you decide to do?
    I'll be applying this upcoming fall.

    I don't really like my current job, even though I received a huge raise in their feeble attempt to keep me for a longer period of time. Other than a substantial pay cut, a loss of long-term job stability, and walking away on an easy retirement - I'm not losing much.

  20. #20
    VIP UPGRAYEDD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Worth it?

    I really don't think it will be too difficult for you to spend 2 years in Japan and go back to a nice job. Your skill set is still going to be in high demand in the near future.

    Hell, I bet you could easily get a decent job in your field in Tokyo if you wanted to.
    You see, gentlemen, a pimp's love is very different from a square's...
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