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Thread: After JET?

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    Default After JET?

    I'm going to be applying for JET in October/November and lets say i get in. Currently I'm pretty sure i will stay in Japan after JET so outside of teaching what are my job options? i will have a BA in Japanese.
    The reason I'm asking this is out of interesting firstly but i was also offered a job as an Officer in the NZ Army so i'm looking at my options.

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    Daimyo ***** dombay's Avatar
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    Snort.

    Yea, do JET. It's good shit.

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    fuck all apart from teaching english and translation work. You speak Japanese, well done, so do Japanese people. What else you got to offer?
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Gaijin tarento.

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    Theres not that much outside of teaching. Even if you get a job you really only want one with a western firm in my opinion. The jap firms are crazy.

    Banking and finance pays well, but having said that it pays well everywhere.

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    I've thought about this question myself ...

    I've studied/had experience in journalism so it would be great for me to work in media in Japan after JET, but I don't really see where I have the edge in that there are plenty of Japanese people trained as journalists who speak English and Japanese, while I only speak a little Japanese. I imagine that it would be hard to find a solid, full-time, non-proof-reader job in media in Japan.

    I'd guess my problem could be applied to some other fields as well. One year at a time though -- right now I'm thinking I might want to stay in Japan after JET but once I'm there my outlook could change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khezy
    Gaijin tarento.
    I HATE those freaks :evil:
    If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_X
    I HATE those freaks :evil:
    Jealousy, she stings like a wasp's ass.
    Wasn't there the one guy who was half Japanese, half German and his thing was saying "I CAN'T SPEAK ENGLISH!"
    Oh, it'd have been better if he was really on meth.
    The woman expresses her gratitude and goes back to Pope's house and sleeps with him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by revenantkioku
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_X
    I HATE those freaks :evil:
    Jealousy, she stings like a wasp's ass.
    Huh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeCarter
    fuck all apart from teaching english and translation work. You speak Japanese, well done, so do Japanese people. What else you got to offer?
    Before signing up to JET we were looking at jobs in PR and advertising, in English and in Japan. There are shitloads of them going at the moment, so maybe you people are just looking in the wrong places.

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    I've studied/had experience in journalism so it would be great for me to work in media in Japan after JET, but I don't really see where I have the edge in that there are plenty of Japanese people trained as journalists who speak English and Japanese, while I only speak a little Japanese. I imagine that it would be hard to find a solid, full-time, non-proof-reader job in media in Japan.
    a buddy of mine was working at GEOS for two years and just quit, he just got a job with Routers(sp?) it is like the British version of the AP i think, he also interviewed with Bloombergs (sp?) and said there are many other Journalism type jobs out there for people in japan even if you dont speak japanese.

    i am going to apply for an office managment position at P&G after i am done with JET. Because they are an american company its possible to transfer back to america if and when i want to go home......(but i have a foot in the door as my wife[on the 23rd] works there now)
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

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    You have a wife? Makes me wonder who else is married on the boards.

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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markteacher80
    i am going to apply for an office managment position at P&G after i am done with JET. Because they are an american company its possible to transfer back to america if and when i want to go home......(but i have a foot in the door as my wife[on the 23rd] works there now)
    I thought companies were usually reluctant to hire immediate family members of current employees. Or is that just an American thing? :?:

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    There's a reason why the word "nepotism" exists.














    That, and I just really wanted to use that word. When do you ever get a chance to use it, anyway?

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    Senior Member Zee's Avatar
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    Nepotism was not used as the already employed relative may not even be near a position of influence in the company, in terms of hiring decisions. HR just tends to be concerned about those with close relationships working in close environments. It can get pretty ugly.

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    I think I'll go to grad school when I'm done with JET. I'll either do Public Policy in Singapore or International Development in Bangkok. Then I'll try get a real job out of that.

    But meh - the good thing about JET is that I won't have to worry about all that shit for a couple of years...

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    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    About the family hiring thing, she doesnt seem to think it will be a problem and has talked to her bosses just in passing and they said if i interview and get accepted just like anyone else it should be just fine......but we would work in compleatly different sections and the only thing similar about our jobs would be the name of the company......This is not my dream job or anything, just a good way to get a job that i can easily transfer back and forth from japan to america.


    Here is an essay/article i got my hands on last year.....please dont hate me coz it is like 3 pages long, just thought it may help for people with questions....

    What Are Some Career Options?

    Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    This is the most obvious extension of the Japan Experience. If you found that your true love is teaching English, this is certainly a career option although the opportunities are more limited and the compensation may be lower than in Japan. You'll need to get a master's inTESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) if you want to advance in this field.

    Academia
    If your love of the study of Japan and its culture is what led you to Japan in the first place, then continuing that through academic study, with the goal of being a college professor, could be right for you. But you need to be aware that becoming an academic is very rigorous, requiring sustained intensive study over a period of years as well as a sustained financial investment in tuition and living expenses! You have to really love what you are studying in order to follow through to the end. Also, keep in mind that academia is very competitive, and there are a lot more people with Japanese experience floating around than there were even 10 years ago. So you will need to find how you can make a unique contribution. Depending on what you study, there are options for those who have a Master's. However, be sure to check this out before you get started, because in some fields a Master's alone is not very marketable.

    Teaching Japanese
    More and more elementary, junior, and senior high schools have added Japanese as part of their language offerings, providing opportunities to those who want to teach the language. This is an overlooked career option for those with Japan Experience. Of course, your Japanese has to be excellent and you have to have a love of teaching. In order to teach at a public school, you have to have taken certain classes in education. (Depending on what your undergraduate major was and what the requirements of your country/state/area are, if you take education courses and get certified you can teach not only Japanese but other subjects as well.) Most Education programs offer courses at night so you can get the credits you need while working full time. It may also be possible to get a job before having taken the classes if you commit to completing them within a certain period of time. And in the case of private schools, such classes may not be required.

    Translator/interpreter
    If your Japanese is really, really good, working as a translator and/or interpreter could be an option for you. If you're gutsy you can set up as a freelancer. Or you can look for a position at a Japanese company. Many Japanese firms, particularly manufacturers, have one or more translators on site to help with internal communication.

    Public relations
    If you have good writing skills, you could leverage your experience to get a position in a public relations firm. If you take this track, however, it's unlikely you'll get to use your Japanese very much, unless you happen to get a job at a firm that has Japanese clients. There may also be a few opportunities with Japanese companies' subsidiaries that are large enough to have public relations positions.

    Working for a Japanese company
    Working for a Japanese company's subsidiary can be a great option, because these organizations usually value the language and cultural knowledge that come with Japan experience. However, there are also some potential pitfalls to working at Japanese companies, so you need to investigate the company carefully to determine if it's the kind of place you want to be. Most Japanese firms active abroad are in technology-intensive fields such as autos, machine tools, electronics, etc. but such firms have many positions that don't require technical knowledge. In addition to the in-house translator positions discussed above, the following are the most typical job categories available in Japanese companies to those who don't have Master's degrees.

    Administrative Assistant
    There are a lot of these posts available, especially if your Japanese is good enough to be a bilingual executive secretary, and they can pay pretty well. However, I would advise extreme caution with such positions, because they tend to be dead-end (although in some cases resourceful individuals have built them up into something more substantial or have used them as a foot in the door). A post like this might be good while you study in the evening preparing for your next step.

    Sales
    If you're an outgoing person, this might be something to look at. Japanese companies are always looking for good sales people, and since the typical salesperson without experience in Japan has difficulty relating to Japanese culture, your background could be a big plus.

    Human Resources
    I think this is the biggest overlooked opportunity for those with Japan Experience. Leaving the Japan connection aside, HR is a great field for those with liberal arts backgrounds, because it requires good interpersonal and communications skills. And in Japanese companies, your knowledge of the culture can be extremely valuable in helping to smooth over intercultural conflicts. Some firms are willing to hire people who have no prior experience for human resource positions. However, usually some prior exposure to the technical aspects of HR (compensation theory, legal issues, etc.) is required, but that can be easily obtained in courses offered by community colleges and professional organizations such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). In some larger organizations you may also need a Master's degree in order to really progress in this field. At several of my clients, members of the HR staff have JET or other Japan experience (their degree of Japanese fluency ranges from simple conversation only to extremely high fluency), and all of them are successfully applying their experience in these roles.

    Business (M.B.A.)
    Business school is a sure way to get a high-paying job (especially now that the MBA job market is so hot), but it has some potential downsides. If you don't have a clear idea what type of job you want to get eventually, you won't get as much out of it as you could. Or you could find yourself funneled by inertia into a consulting or finance job where you work 80 hours a week or more. Finally, although many business schools are making a concerted effort to become more international, going straight from the Japan Experience into business school is like jumping into ice cold water. With that said, if you know what you want to get out of it, an MBA is a great credential. And if you have an interest in anything financial, all the activity in Japan by Wall Street firms is creating some interesting job opportunities for bilingual MBAs.

    Law
    Please think about this one very carefully before you do it! It's easy to think that law is a good idea – it takes advantage of the writing and research skills you developed as a liberal arts major, it's socially acceptable, it sounds good to your parents, it looks good on those TV shows, etc. But first spend some time talking to some young lawyers to find out what it's really like. Some people are cut out for law and really love it, but in my observation they are a rare breed. Also, it's not necessarily simple to leverage your Japan Experience in law.

    Other professions
    There are a lot of other professions where the cross-cultural sensitivity developed through the Japan Experience can be leveraged, albeit indirectly, including medicine, psychology, social work, and journalism. All of these require further education, of course.

    Cross-cultural specialist
    Just the fact of having had a deep cross-cultural experience doesn't make you an expert – you need further training, such as a master's degree. Opportunities are limited because most firms in the cross-cultural consulting field, have an extremely small core staff that is employed full time and operate primarily with a team of experienced independent consultants. There are some Master's programs in Intercultural Relations, however and graduates of such programs often go into fields such as foreign student advising, but since the concept of a "professional interculturalist" is in its infancy, many graduates find the job search rough going. If you want to explore the field further, you may contact the professional association for the field, SIETAR, (www.sietarinternational.org).

    Conclusion

    By taking on the Japan Experience you showed that you're not the sort of person who follows the typical path. That means that your career doesn't have to follow a typical path either. At the same time, don't be afraid to explore career paths that aren't directly Japan-related. Your twenties is an important time to build up skills and experience, and to get good opportunities you may need to put the Japan link in the background. But even if your current position isn't Japan-related, you can keep up the connection through participating in your local JETAA Chapter, and taking Japanese classes, so you'll be ready to bring back in the Japan element later if you want. But whatever you do, make sure it's something you really love. It's a cliche but that's really the best way to get the career and life you want.

    Attributed to:
    Rochelle Kopp, Managing Principal of Japan Intercultural Consulting, which provides cross-cultural seminars and human resource management consulting to major Japanese multinationals. She is author of The Rice-Paper Ceiling: Breaking Through Japanese Corporate Culture (Stone Bridge Press, 1994) which discusses how to address the cultural challenges for non-Japanese working in Japanese organizations. She holds a B.A. in History from Yale and an MBA from the University of Chicago, and spent two years in Japan working for a large Japanese financial institution. You can contact Rochelle at Japan Intercultural Consulting, 3023 N. Clark Street, Suite 880, Chicago IL 60657 USA, phone 773-528-1370, fax 773-528-4233, e-mail Rochelle@JapanIntercultural.com.
    Copyright ゥ 1999, Rochelle Kopp. All rights reserved.



















    Tips on Working for a Japanese Company

    -Do your homework and choose the right company! Just like hometown companies, there are good Japanese ones to work for and not so good ones to work for. If you have the luxury of waiting for the right job or you receive more than one offer, take a look at more than the salary and title. Japanese companies tend to start off with salaries a bit lower than their local counterparts, but they may reward you with more commitment to your career. If you can show patience and respect for the ways of the organization, you will likely become a valuable part of their team in the long-term.
    -Read some books on working for a Japanese company. You may feel that you are already an expert in this area, and in many ways you are, but the environment of the JET program may be very different from the typical corporate atmosphere of a Japanese company at home. You are no longer the celebrity you once were and you will undoubtedly encounter all kinds of different challenges that you did not experience while living in Japan.
    -Respect your Japanese manager and the unfamiliar environment that he or she is now living and working in. Having lived abroad, you know how hard it can be to adjust to different expectations, work pressures, lifestyles and friends. Use your knowledge of the Japanese to help make life easier for your boss. I’m sure that while in Japan, there were one or two people that went out of their way to make your experience especially rewarding and comfortable. Be this person for your boss and will you likely build a strong and reciprocal friendship with someone who has the power to advance your career!
    -Keep an open minded positive attitude and accept that changes may come slower in a Japanese company. Most companies try to localize their offices as much as possible and want to combine the best of both styles of management. Be pro-active – change what you can – accept what you can’t!
    -Recently, many Japanese companies have been replacing their senior expat staff with local staff to save money and increase local expertise. This has increased the opportunities for advancement for non-Japanese staff and is helping to break what has been termed the "rice paper ceiling".
    -If you enjoy working for a company with a strong Japanese style, you may be more interested in targeting banks, insurance companies, trading companies, securities firms and travel agencies, as these industries work closely with head office and other Japanese companies. If, on the other hand, you prefer working for a company with a more mixed management style, you may be better off targeting manufacturing and distribution companies, as they are more likely to be closely linked to the local market.
    -Remember why you loved Japan and view your job as an opportunity to keep that element alive while living in the comfort of your own country. Just like in Japan, every day you will have the opportunity to learn something new that may enrich your career and your mind!

    contributed by:
    Joy Haywood, Vice President
    Pasona Canada, Inc.
    Pasonajh@echo-on.net
    Strategic Networking

    In May, 1999, Boleyn Relova of JETAABC organized a free seminar featuring Susan Niven, a keynote speaker and seminar leader who presented her concept of Strategic NetworkingTM. This is a summary of three attendees' perspectives of the session.

    Introduction
    We all know what the catch word networking means, right? You may think that networking is all about getting yourself out there, meeting as many people as possible at any given social function, forging new contacts that will help YOU with your future goals, "workin' the room," as it were. It’s all about who YOU know, right? Not quite.

    In Susan's words, "It's not WHAT you know; and it's not WHO you know. It's WHO KNOWS YOU!"

    How It Works
    How can you build a network and reputation for helping others? Such opportunities are everywhere; informal examples include supermarkets, bus stops, fitness clubs, and so on. Starting off with small talk (e.g. the weather) could lead to more personal views and facts. Focus on listening, with the attitude that you can learn something from everyone. Be bold and strike up conversations with anyone. That old fellow who looks like a bum at McDonald's could be a famous author.
    As you strike up conversations and learn about your new acquaintances and their contacts, you can find out ways to help them. One example: "Now I know Susan Niven and she knows that I am looking to… have my kitchen floor refinished. Susan knows a man who does kitchen floors, and she puts us in touch. This man tells me that his niece is going to Sydney for work, and I then put him in touch with a friend of mine who lives there." Another's example: "After the seminar, I went to lunch with other attendees. One of the people at my table was getting married and was going to the Cook Islands for her honeymoon. Coincidentally, I was reading a book about the South Pacific Islands and so I lent it to her. She seemed delighted and I was glad to be of use."

    With Strategic Networking, you become a link in the chain, not the end of it. It's all about putting people together. As a result, you will "make sure the people who know the people you need to know, know you."

    The Mechanics of Networking
    Networking Events
    Treat business luncheons or other networking events as important places to practice all of the above and add the following: Wear a name tag with your name and profession, not just your company, high on your right side. Introduce yourself with a confident "I’m ...." instead of "my name is ..." Focus 100% of your attention on the person you are talking with. Don’t just suddenly stop and leave if another key person walks by. Exit gracefully. Target 3-4 minutes per conversation. If the conversation is going well and you want to continue, set up an appointment date for later. Set yourself a goal for these events. Plan to speak with a specific number of people and gradually increase that number. Remember, the purpose of Networking Events is not to give out as many business cards as possible and make a sales pitch. The goal is to meet as many people as possible and add them to your file of contacts.
    Introductions
    Design the "17 second introduction." This is important as it has a huge impact on your confidence and credibility. It also makes conversation easier for the other person. Focus on you what you do and not the job title or the name of your company. What do you do that is unique? Be clear.
    Business Cards and Records
    Having conversed and connected, you need a business card to help you continue with your contact. Even if you don’t have a job, you should have some kind of card. It should be horizontal, so that it’s easier for the other person to sort later. The card should be blank on the back, so that other people can make notes on them. Business cards in Japanese or other foreign languages should be printed separately, leaving the back blank. To avoid mixing up cards, use your right pocket for your own business cards and your left pocket for the ones you receive. It is important to make notes as soon as possible after each meeting. Write key points on the back of collected business cards. At home input the information into a contact database, ideally one that can handle notes and categories for contacts.
    Nurturing Contacts and Relationships
    Follow up with notes and send requested information. Help your contacts to make connections. Make regular contact. When someone does something nice for you, send a hand-written thank you card (much better than email) with an interesting stamp.
    The "2 More" Principle
    Remember we all like to help others. Ask every contact, every prospect, every customer for 2 more contacts.

    S.N.A.P.
    Designing a S.N.A.P. (Strategic Networking Action Plan)
    Identify your ideal lead – your target market
    Identify where you find them
    Who else targets these people or businesses
    What specific actions will you take beginning tomorrow to ensure that "the people who know the people you need to know, know you"

    Conclusion
    Take a moment and think about all the people you know, in all of your different circles. Now think about who would benefit from you making an initial connection. The more people you know, the more people you can connect, and it will come back to you – you're out there making connections for others and thereby broadening your own circles.

    Working in Japan
    reproduced from JET and Beyond
    by Robert Landridge

    Staying in Japan is not for everyone. From the hopeless bureaucracy of the Japanese Department of Immigration to the shocking amounts of key money required for an apartment that makes your JET home look like a genuine mansion, be prepared to test your patience far beyond its usual boundaries. Below you'll find all manner of advice to help you on your way.

    What's Out There
    A quick glance at the Monday edition of the Japan Times is all one needs to know that the majority of jobs available in Japan for English speakers are in Tokyo. Anyone wanting to try something other than English teaching after leaving the JET program should monitor the Monday edition as it not only serves as a good guide to what is available, but is also a resource for compiling a list of companies worth targeting once the decision to remain in Japan has been made.

    Although employers will consider applications from outside of Tokyo, it is essential that applicants be able to get here within a day's notice. So if you are living outside of the Kanto region, moving to the greater metropolitan area is your first step to finding employment. As accommodation does not come cheap, any job that offers visa sponsorship is your safest first option. Finding the job of your dreams may take six months or longer -- a long time to live without an income, not to mention the added expense of flying off to Seoul or Hong Kong every three months to renew the tourist visa. Marriage is a possibility, as a work visa is guaranteed to a spouse of a Japanese. Here are some options:

    In-house translator: a dying breed, as it's no longer economical to pay people a fixed wage to do a variable amount of work when there are dozens of free-lancers who can be paid by the page and forgotten about during slack periods. Most in-house translation work centers on the computer, technical, legal and medical fields, but there are also a few prized jobs in the financial sector. The latter positions are highly paid and require considerable experience.

    Free-lance translator: usually people who have worked in-house but try their luck on the outside to avoid the grind of commuting and to test their business potential. It is essential to go free-lance only after establishing guaranteed sources of work, which may require a hectic period of working full-time at a company, then spending evenings and weekends doing free-lance work. Requires great dedication to meet deadlines no matter what the workload, and the ability to translate a fax of a fax of a fax of a copy of poorly written Japanese. Not everyone's cup of tea, especially when the computer screen and the telephone become one's only source of interaction, but a good money spinner for those with the connections and who like to crank out the work.

    Writer/copywriter: in-house positions for those with excellent Japanese or previous copy writing experience. Annual report publishing companies usually advertise in the early spring and will take candidates with strong Japanese and financial background. As most of the writing produced is edited and critiqued by many, including native speakers, it is a good position to hone one's English and translation skills. Other positions are available in the automotive, computer and electronics equipment field for those with solid Japanese and an interest in the previously mentioned areas.

    Editor: one of the few positions available for people with no Japanese ability. Requires a fine eye for detail, and an extensive knowledge of the English language and publications. Most positions are with newspaper, magazine and book companies, but positions with annual report companies and financial institutions do exist.

    Account executive/sales: a good starting print for the bilingual. One common position involves selling advertising for English language publications. Some experienced ALTs do very well financially.

    Translation coordinator: in-house position without the grind of straight translation. Involves sending out work to free-lancers, checking translations and client liaison. Desktop publishing (DTP) skills an asset.

    Rewriter: typing skills and technical background needed here. This involves rewriting text prepared by Japanese translators. A good springboard to translation work if position involves checking Japanese draft simultaneously.

    Desktop Publishing specialist: job usually done in Japanese. Involves making the actual page layouts for publications using computer software such as Pagemaker. A love of computers and ability to stare at a screen for extended periods essential. Can be very lucrative for free-lancers who also offer translation, editing and design expertise.

    In-house foreigner: excellent starting point for a person who does not mind menial tasks and doing things the Japanese way. A lot like the ALT position many have come to know and loathe. Companies with extensive overseas dealings have a native English speaker to handle telephone inquiries and correspondence. It's a good introduction to the ways of a Japanese company and provides a solid grounding in business Japanese. Level of responsibility depends on the size of the company, but could vary from directly translating management policy to being the company president's mouthpiece and strategist in foreign negotiations.

    Narrator: well-paid job, but availability is erratic. Involves doing the narrations for promotional videos, educational materials and commercials. Some on-camera work is also available for those with the looks or the ability. Very few can make a full-time living out of narrating, but it is good source of pocket money if you have a flexible schedule.
    The Search

    Finding a job in Japan is largely dependent on being in the proverbial right place at the right time, and having the right connections. Networking does far more for your prospects than any qualifications ever could ever hope to (so much for merit). Rely on JET alumni and acquaintances. Try to make contacts with companies listed in the Chamber of Commerce publication of your home country. Ask your Japanese friends, teachers and fellow employees for help. Finally, attend job fairs to meet prospective employers first hand. A combination of networking, luck and research should ultimately land you a job.

    The 1st Step - Counseling Services
    Counseling and advisory services are available in most large cities across Japan. One such company, Life Path Services, provides up to three-day workshops on decision making, resume-writing and career enhancement tactics. Personal consultations are also available either in person, or via telephone or e-mail. This service tends to lend itself to the psychological rather than the practical (witness this quote from the brochure: "...empowering individuals to discover and actualize their potential"). Services are offered in both Japanese and English. Those seeking more information should contact Andrea Jacques or Tomoi Shinagawa, 303 Ichigaya Green Corp., 20 Ichigaya-Yakuoji, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162, tel/fax: (03) 3226-7939, email: heyaj@mbox.kyoto-inet.or.jp.

    Plan of Attack
    The place to start is the Chamber of Commerce of your home country in Japan. Make a list of companies and industries in which you are interested and have specific questions when you contact them. They also keep updated files of placement agencies, hence the need to be able to specify for what you are looking.

    To find teaching jobs, a good source of information is the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT). JALT publishes The Language Teacher, a monthly magazine available in bookstores to non-members. JALT maintains a Job Information Center which foreigners may use. Please contact the JALT Central Office, Urban Edge Bldg., 5F, Taito, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110, tel: (03) 3837-1630. Also, scan the English newspapers and special interest group newsletters.

    Once again, remember that networking is the single best way to find a good job in Japan. Talk with everyone around you. Drop hints with people that you are job hunting. Remember, in Japan "unofficial" contacts like lunches, parties, ski trips, etc., are often as or more important than the interviews themselves. Try and get to know the companies at which you are applying and the people who work there. Preparations is, as always, the key.



    The Resume and the Interview

    This brings us to the question of resumes/CVs and interviews. There is good news and bad news. First the good news: those of you who suffer from "interview syndrome" should relax. If your appearance is neat and you've mastered the art of ultra-politeness, the interview should be a piece of cake. Most people report that an interview is more of an informal session in a relaxed atmosphere - like a café or restaurant for some lucky ones - rather than a concrete information gathering process leading to decision making. It appears that the interview is more a confirmation of your entry into the new "family," particularly if you landed it through the introduction of a friend or acquaintance, and is held for the purpose of starting a new relationship. More often than not, however, you will be required to sit a standard written test about your knowledge of the company, etc., alongside other applicants.

    Now the bad news: those of you who are issue oriented and structurally minded, learn to relax (again). It seems that Japanese interviews are not geared towards the specifics. The interviewers will most likely ask questions like how you mastered using chopsticks and how on earth you wound up in Japan. They will also probably quiz you on topics which you would normally term discriminatory, e.g., family, spouse, etc. So, be prepared for a dig at your personal life.

    Most people report that they did not need a CV, or that they prepared only an English version. This however, will depend on whether or not you have been introduced to your employer through a friend, and the type of job for which you are applying. Most Japanese language jobs will require a Japanese resume and won't have much use for an English one. Standard forms, called rirekisho (履歴書), can be picked up at most stationery shops. Make a point of writing in blue or black pen, with the stress being on writing. Giving a typewritten resume is a little like giving a handwritten one back. The requirements on resumes and interviews do vary from company to company, so call and check in advance.

    More recently, information searches have become a popular tool for job seekers. Making a trip directly to the company, collecting information and establishing contact with recruiters may serve to enhance your prospect of getting hired.

    Finally, while many people have seen Japanese ability itself as a ticket into most jobs in Japan, this may no longer be the case. This ability certainly helps, and for many jobs is essential, but without solid skills (computers, business, teaching) and connections, jobs are becoming increasingly harder to nab.

    Everyday Life and Your Decision to Stay
    Now that you have found your job and have moved into a matchbox, you must be wondering about your everyday work environment. Don't expect anything radically different. Well, of course you will not be treated as royalty anymore, and you will not be exempted from taxes, and you will not have the option of working short hours, and of course you will be discriminated against, since your employer will almost certainly be Japanese. You will be subjected to what could be called "positive" discrimination - receiving a higher monthly salary than your Japanese colleagues but smaller bonuses; more vacation days; being the focus of a little bit of extra attention, if you see what I mean.

    Whichever way you look at it, you will be looked at. You will stand out, and invariably you will always be foreign first, company employee second. Having lived in Japan for a year or more, you must have acquired the knack of dealing with the Japanese people on a daily basis, so in your new office, you will not feel totally lost, but you still have to take the same precautions as you did when starting JET.

    Whether you decided (or are inclined to decide) to stay in Japan because of the money, because you want to learn more about Japan, because you want to improve on your Japanese or just because you enjoy living in Japan, do not forget to be honest with yourself. Don't stay in Japan just because it is fashionable, or because you're a little afraid of life back home. Examine your personal level of satisfaction in interacting with the Japanese on a day-to-day basis, and capacity to tolerate minor annoyances (major in some cases). If you're not happy, do make a point of leaving. While life everywhere has its ups and downs, spending your days in perpetual misery is no fun, and not only affects your own life, but the lives of others around you.

    Do's and Don'ts
    Some other things to keep in mind: do not rely on newspapers to find a good job; do not take the first job that comes along; start searching early; give yourself six months to adapt to the new job and life-style; be aware of your potential value to your firm in Japan. Be reserved initially, and emphasize hard work and dedication to the job; do not settle for a lower salary and long hours; do not weigh your gains from the JET program in material terms; get a contract (you will need it among other employment authorization at the Immigration Office); be aware of unfulfilled "promises," As is widely publicized, Japanese "agreements" are often quite different from what had been initially discussed. Any JET should be aware of such cultural differences already. Remember that switching to a tourist visa or cultural status which searching for a job is illegal.

    Remember a few more things: the Japanese tax system is extremely complex. It is a good idea to ask your prospective employers whether they are willing to help you figure out your taxes. Beware of kokusaitekina companies - companies who are interested in hiring foreigners with the hope of meeting the goal of internationalization, but, after hiring you, they don't know what to do.
    To wrap up, a bit of friendly advice: be patient, and don't go just for the money or you might end up being the unhappiest person on the earth with a big bank balance.
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

  18. #18
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    Very informative. Thanks mark.

  19. #19
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    Bravo Mark! 8)
    If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is "God is crying." And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is "Probably because of something you did."

  20. #20
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    Thanks Mark! 3 pages long or otherwise, that was hella helpful

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