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all 138 comments

[–]nofriendseither 131 points132 points  (53 children)

The problem with English teaching / ALTing isn't so much the job it's that a lot of people who do those jobs have few or no skills that are desirable in other sectors. The nature of that work means that as time passes they aren't gaining any additional skills either. They don't take on additional responsibilities or grow their career. This makes them quite unattractive as a candidate for other positions.

If you have skills, experience, and a work history in another sector and take an eikaiwa job for 6 months while you hunt for another job in your actual area of expertise then that is unlikely to be a problem. You gotta pay the bills and everyone knows COVID has been a sh#tshow. If you did it for 2 years though your other skills are likely to atrophy and you may find it harder to get out of eikaiwa.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 60 points61 points  (22 children)

They don't take on additional responsibilities or grow their career.

Just to add on to this - the nature of the work itself means that it is damn near impossible to grow your career through your job. Once you're hired, that's it - you've reached the top of the ladder.

Every single eikaiwa I've worked at had their own curriculum, managers, and staff. The foreigner staff are just there to teach. That's it. You're not going to get bumped up to curriculum writer and get a whole new set of skills.

Same for ALT work. You might collaborate with the Japanese teacher and write some materials, but you're there as an assistant. You're not getting bumped up and start teaching your own class. You don't put in 10 years and get promoted and start managing other ALTs.

[–]nofriendseither 25 points26 points  (10 children)

Back in the 90s I knew a guy who got hired as a teacher who worked his way to an area manager role at one of the big eikaiwas. He was making around 8mil a year, couldn't speak a lick of Japanese. This is obviously an extremely rare case though, 99.9999999% of people end up exactly as you describe. They start as an eikaiwa worker and a bunch of years later they are doing the same job for the same money.

[–]noeldc 37 points38 points  (2 children)

Back in the 90s

Things were different then.

[–]hyogodan 28 points29 points  (0 children)

I was in a very famous TV show.

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeap, in pretty much every way. Some things were better and some were worse. Overall I have no desire to go back though!

[–]emperor_toby 8 points9 points  (5 children)

Yeah I remember the big eikaiwas NOVA, GEOS, AEON all had management tracks for teachers with some ambition in life. It was actually a legitimate way out of English teaching into a corporate role. Not sure if such opportunities still exist as those companies all restructured back in the early 2000s I think.

[–]Pitiful-Sherbert-326 3 points4 points  (3 children)

Yes, the opportunities still exist, probably better than before too, at least in NOVA. I know this because I be current work there. It also applies to Contact workers. There is a chance to convert to "employee" and get a higher position at the same time.

[–]devotion305 34 points35 points  (2 children)

"I be current work there"

I don't doubt for a second that you work for Nova with grammar like that!

[–]Techmite 1 point2 points  (1 child)

lol, was on the phone when I typed it. Simple typo. No need to be rash.

Was suppose to be: "I currently work there."

[–]Tychonautica 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's a joke dude

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah, I doubt there are similar opportunities now.

[–]Aikea_Guinea83 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That might be in the realm of possibility at an Eikaiwa, but not as an ALT/JET. No possibility for career advancement.

[–]salizarn 9 points10 points  (1 child)

I think you’re right but I would just add that it’s not impossible to progress, but it’s not going to “just happen” you actually have to proactively try to get better at what you’re doing and take steps to improve your position, and sometimes this involves leaving a comfortable easy job with no prospects for promotion and looking for something more challenging that provides a better chance of progression.

Most people in the “eikaiwa trap” are not doing this.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Oh definitely. In my post I said that it's quite difficult to grow your career through your job as an ALT or eikaiwa teacher. That growth, if it comes at all, will come through doing something outside of work like getting a CELTA or an MA or joining JALT or anything along those lines.

In some extremely rare cases, someone actually will work their way up but the odds are so infinitesimal it's better to think of the chance as not existing at all.

[–]Sashimi__Sensei 7 points8 points  (3 children)

you’re not getting bumped up and start teaching your own class.

This is exactly what I did. I wrote the entire English course, made all the materials and often taught alone without a Japanese teacher. Also, a fellow ALT completed their 5 year contract and then became the ALT coordinator for the whole city, managing over 40 ALTs. I know it’s not common for ALTs, but it’s a bit disingenuous to suggest that there is zero movement in ALT work 100% of the time.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 1 point2 points  (2 children)

often taught alone without a Japanese teacher.

This is illegal as fuck.

You mentioned a 5 year contract. Are you referring to a JET friend?

[–]Sashimi__Sensei 6 points7 points  (1 child)

I should clarify that the Japanese teacher was in the room, they just didn’t take part in the lesson like, at all.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I see. Well, I never said it was impossible - just that the odds are so low that it's better not to count on that kind of promotion.

Look at your own example. How many ALTs (JETs right?) went and came in those 5 years who didn't become coordinators? The odds become even worse for dispatch ALTs.

[–]I_got_kicked 5 points6 points  (3 children)

I think you're mostly right for the ALTs, but so that people don't feel doomed if they are in that role I just want to add that you can move up if you have some ambition. I think getting stuck as an ALT comes down to the person. I was an ALT and I just took the initiative to plan the whole lessons and lead the classes, approached my principal with a plan to improve the schools ability to speak English and requested that he tell the JTEs to let me run my own lessons seperate to the normal carriculum without interference. Now 3 years on my school organised the recommendation for me to get my Japanese teaching license and I'm on a normal seishain contract with bonus, yearly raise, etc.

If you want to live here and actually enjoy teaching, you can easily outshine your JTEs and show your worth since nearly all JTEs can't even speak English.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 4 points5 points  (2 children)

That's very impressive - congratulations. I think ambition plays a part, as does aptitude. To be able to plan a semester or a year's worth of lessons, tests, etc. goes far beyond what any dispatch company would provide in terms of training and its probably far beyond the ability of most ALTs even after several years in the classroom.

And let's be realistic here - luck is a major factor. There's an equal or greater chance that an ALT would be sent back to their desk if they said 'I wanna teach alone, here's my plan'.

[–]I_got_kicked 1 point2 points  (1 child)

You're definitely right about luck. I happened to have a gig at a private school, so that's already more freedom, and the principal is very interested in raising the school's English status. So he was open to hearing out my plan.

But yea, just wanna let people know that if you really wanna teach, it is possible. You gotta make a plan. Being a good teacher is like 90% preparation. Then you just gotta convince someone that you're the person to carry out that plan. Get friendly with your bosses. Social skills are real important for moving up in any job. I'm positive most schools can benefit from raising their ALTs up into higher roles. So you gotta catch their ear and get them to realise that.

Our schools plan is now to bring on more ALTs, have them use the curriculum I had made, then when they are ready, do the same that was done for me and have them supported to get their teaching license. In the near future we are hoping to have a whole squad of qualified, native English teachers to lead the department. I think more schools will catch on, specially with the recent changes to the university entrance exams and the national testing. Native teachers have become much more valuable and there should be opportunities.

[–]swordtech近畿・兵庫県 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I just have to say...I love the sound of all of that and that sounds impossible for dispatch ALTs at public schools for all of the reasons I already mentioned and for the fact that dispatch ALTs are working at several schools over the course of a week. Again, I'd be tickled pink if the entire system were to change the way your school is but you alsp gotta realize your situation is the needle in the haystack.

[–]The_Fresno_Farter 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The foreigner staff are just there to teach. That's it.

They do promote some teachers to supervisory positions, although it's almost a lateral move or even downgrade because the pay is barely better while the responsibilities and stress shoot through the roof. The chain I worked at also had "Assessor" positions granted to teachers with good performance histories. When I became an assessor I had to figure out the English level of prospective customers (usually bad, but which level of bad), and then sell them on the expensive lesson packages.

So for a rare few there are a small handful of skills that can be gained in addition to just delivering the curriculum, but you're right - with extremely rare exceptions no teacher is ever going to ascend to the upper management and even a supervisor's resume isn't going to be very exciting.

[–]The_Fresno_Farter 7 points8 points  (3 children)

Eikaiwa and ALT work is actually an amazing thing, when you seriously think about it. It's a path to residence and eventual permanent residency in a foreign developed country for people with zero command of the local language, no impressive skills, no professional ambitions and nothing more than a random degree in something.

People matching that description stand zero chance immigrating to another Western country. An American with nothing but English fluency and a degree in marketing isn't going to have much luck migrating to anywhere besides a handful of Asian countries with an ESL demand.

Could you imagine some random 20-something typical ALT/Eikaiwa type convincing immigration authorities in France or Germany to grant them residency the same way Japan did? No way.

Even less chance for someone from a non-English country trying to move to an English country with that list of "qualifications." It's laughable to consider, say, a Japanese guy with zero English and nothing but a 4-year degree from Akita University getting to go live in the US and teach conversational Japanese.

Japan basically allows any random dope to come and stay permanently just because they're fluent in English. If that person never learns a word of Japanese, never obtains additional qualification or experience, never contributes anything besides their taxes to the country, they can still stay indefinitely so long as they keep showing up to work. What a gift for the lazy Japanophile. What a golden ticket.

But yeah, for someone who measures their own worth by their bank account and what their business card says on it, it's basically McDonalds.

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (2 children)

But yeah, for someone who measures their own worth by their bank account and what their business card says on it, it's basically McDonalds.

There's more to it than that. Personally I require challenges and mental stimulation in my work or I quickly start to go a bit nuts. I can't deal with doing things that bore me. Maybe that's a failing, I don't know, but if I don't have challenges I'm not happy.

[–]The_Fresno_Farter 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I hear that, although in my case I'm not a big fan of the kinds of challenges that employment usually has to offer. I've worked in a bunch of different industries and have finally concluded that "work" bores me. I have to work for myself otherwise it's just a dull slog with a different coat of paint.

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I've built, run, and sold businesses, it's good in many ways. However being a well-paid professional working within a global team of very smart people is also a great experience. There are good jobs out there.

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Summed it up perfectly.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 1 point2 points  (15 children)

Thanks for replying! Hmm. I'm sort of between these two scenarios here. I'm not the stereotypical new English teacher, because I'm near as dammit fluent in Japanese, but... that's pretty much all I have. Zero experience at anything, too.

So does that make me more vulnerable to stereotyping, whether that's eikaiwa or any other looked-down-upon field, cause there's less other stuff on my resume to say 'dw, I'm not like that'?

[–]nofriendseither 26 points27 points  (7 children)

The thing is that just speaking English and Japanese is not really all that valuable. There are tens of millions of employable Japanese people who speak Japanese at least as well as you and probably better.

What you need is a marketable skill to combine with your language abilities. English + Japanese + in demand skill = money. Sometimes a considerable amount of money.

English + Japanese + nothing else = Eikaiwa, ALT, conbini, etc.

The most common category of career in Japan for bilingual foreigners with skills is going to be tech. Programming, networking, project management, tech management, etc. There are plenty of areas to consider. You could self-study your way to a CCNA and an entry level datacenter job. Shit hours, shit pay (still more than eikaiwa though), but you can learn and progress. With time and experience (and a few job hops) you can get to the 8-10mil/year range. Move into PM or tech management later and you can get into the 15-20mil/year range.

[–]Which_Bed 14 points15 points  (4 children)

English + Japanese + nothing else = Eikaiwa, ALT, conbini, etc.

This is one of the most common fallacies I see posted around here and it's entirely bullshit, because

No English + (native) Japanese + nothing else = you are a Japanese office worker

I have worked with so many dumb fucking people who had no skills whatsoever whose only jobs were to pass items from Inbox A to Outbox B. Who would spend five days painstakingly crafting color-coded team project schedules in Excel only to have the boss tell them the project was being cancelled during the Friday afternoon powwow. I had a coworker tell me I couldn't have access to some data because pulling it (a ten-minute undertaking) would take a week and require a form submitted - while he was surfing on Rakuten. They use the hole-in-the-bucket strategy to snowball requests and keep their schedules full for weeks at a time with waiting.

There are plenty of makework office positions for coma victims, ALTs and JETs just have to find them.

[–]nofriendseither 12 points13 points  (3 children)

This is one of the most common fallacies I see posted around here and it's entirely bullshit, because No English + (native) Japanese + nothing else = you are a Japanese office worker

  1. If you can't provide your own visa (spouse or PR) then a Japanese company must provide a justification to immigration to sponsor you instead of hiring a local Japanese employee. Unless you're and English teacher or an ALT generally "speaks English and has a pulse" is not enough justification.

  2. Most Japanese companies do not want to deal with a gaijin unless there is an actual reason for it. There are plenty of jobs where there is justification to hire a non-Japanese person but "mindless office drone" generally isn't one of them.

[–]sxh967 2 points3 points  (2 children)

f you can't provide your own visa (spouse or PR) then a Japanese company must provide a justification to immigration to sponsor you instead of hiring a local Japanese employee. Unless you're and English teacher or an ALT generally "speaks English and has a pulse" is not enough justification.

I got hired at a big Japanese company and they weren't giving me any specific amazing role that only a foreigner could do. I assume all they had was that I spoke both languages and I got the visa with zero issues... so what you're saying is simply not accurate or I wouldn't have got my job and visa.

Most Japanese companies do not want to deal with a gaijin unless there is an actual reason for it. There are plenty of jobs where there is justification to hire a non-Japanese person but "mindless office drone" generally isn't one of them.

Actually a growing number of companies (or group companies of large corporations) have internal diversity-related quotas (voluntarily in place) and also since all the business growth is outside Japan, there is plenty of demand for foreigners (who speak English, Chinese or perhaps something like Vietnamese depending on their target market(s)) even if they don't have any specific skills.

Not saying that it would be the dream job but it possible to get a job outside eikaiwa/ALT with minimal other marketable skills (because that's exactly what I did).

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You'll note that I didn't say English&Japanese as a person's only skills was worthless or that it would be impossible to find a job. I said that as skills they weren't all that valuable and that they were putting themselves in the position of having to compete with 10s of millions of Japanese people who speak Japanese at least as well as they do, likely better. What I said was correct.

The job you describe sounds horrific to me. A worker drone in a typical Japanese company with no specific skills to set you apart from everyone else, subject to the whims of a boss who is at best incompetent but in fact may actually enjoy making his underlings' lives miserable. You'd be able to say you "escaped eikaiwa" but actually you would have jumped from one hell into another, one that actually sounds even worse.

[–]sxh967 0 points1 point  (0 children)

You'll note that I didn't say English&Japanese as a person's only skills was worthless or that it would be impossible to find a job.

Aha, yes you're right. Sorry, my mistake!

You'd be able to say you "escaped eikaiwa" but actually you would have jumped from one hell into another, one that actually sounds even worse.

Yeah you're not wrong but let's be honest the pay was far better (sure cost of living in Tokyo compared to countryside is higher but still the salary bump more than covers it).

Luckily I jumped again and found my dream job so happy ending for me. Plus, although the initial (non-teaching) job was a bit soul-sucking at first, I did end up being placed into a "proper" role after my first year, and I did technically have responsibilities (whether they were important responsibilities is beside the point) which looks good on my resume should I decide to move again (hopefully won't need to).

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Thanks for the tip, I doubt I'll actually go down that route (why would I spend however long working my arse off just so I can go into a slightly different field I still don't care about? What exactly would I do with that much money?) but still grateful that you took the time to reply.

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If it's not the field for you then it's not the field for you.

As for the money, save it so you don't have to work until you die. Give some to charity. Travel and create memories. Everyone's different but that's the thing with money, it lets you do the things that are important to you.

[–]justice_runner 5 points6 points  (0 children)

What else are you doing/planning to do right now? For the longest time, almost 10 years from highschool through to end of college, I worked in various big corporate fast-food restaurants. I still put that on my resume, even though I now have a PhD, publications and university level teaching experience etc. It's just a single line at the bottom of my resume to the effect of "Company: Various hospitality. Dates: 2004~2014. Roles/duties: Food preparation and customer service". If I had done 10 years in Eikaiwa or similar English teaching roles it would be the same deal. If that was all I had done for the last 10 years, of course it wouldn't look good, but given where my career has gone it shows I could manage multiple responsibilities.

[–]Youngtoby 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Unless you apply for an entry level job, or a job where the only requirement is being bilingual, how will you meet the requirements? The hardest part of an application is passing the screening. So in the absence of other experience how will you even get the 1st interview?

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

This is my life right now, no need to explain that to me. I was asking if there were jobs that are literally more of a minus, when job hunting, to have had, than if that period of one's life had never existed at all.

[–]JanneJM沖縄・沖縄県 6 points7 points  (1 child)

With rare exceptions (perhaps fetish pornography, or something outright illegal) I don't think any job is an outright negative compared to sit at home and do nothing.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Compared to literally doing nothing, sure - but we're talking thought experiments here, I mean compared to, idk, everyone collectively forgetting that that time period existed in the world due to being under the influence of some sort of JRPG villain or similar.

[–]Youngtoby 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Well hang in there bud. I’m rooting for you. Made the jump from Eikawa to corporate myself. Took about 18 months but it’s doable!

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Thanks, here's hoping!

[–]qball43 0 points1 point  (5 children)

What about for someone like myself, who plans on becoming a licensed secondary teacher in the United States, but would also like to teach in Japan post-graduation?

In this case, my skill/craft would be being an educator. Is there room for promotion in this instance?

[–]jen452 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I got a BA in Japanese, did JET for a year, then went back to the US. I entered a grad program for Elementary Education (k-6 cert), and while on my internship, I happened to be in a school with the most Japanese families in my area. I translated all their open house powerpoints, and helped the district complete student registrations by acting as a volunteer translator. I was offered a Japanese teaching position in that district on an emergency certification. I went on to get my Japanese K to 12 certification, my 7-9 science and math certs, and taught 3 years there.

Teaching in the US public school system is HARD, so when a position at an international school opened up in Japan, I returned. Within 3 years, I worked my way up to manager. After 4, the owners transferred ownership to me.

So teaching is not always a dead end job.

If you plan to return to the US to go to a teaching program, any experience with teaching/volunteering with students will work in your favor. Solo classroom experience is a big plus (international preschool, etc.)

If you have questions about teaching in either country, feel free to reach out.

[–]qball43 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Thank you! Congratulations to you on your achievements. Sounds like quite the journey.

As I get closer to going back to University, ill keep you in mind and reach out :)

[–]nofriendseither 3 points4 points  (2 children)

You should look towards teaching in international schools, not working as an ALT or eikaiwa worker. As always there is more demand for science and math teachers than softer subjects and teachers who can teach multiple subjects are valued too. You should expect to teach in the US for a year or two and maybe elsewhere in the world (international school) for a year or two. The good schools in Japan get a glut of applications and can pick who they want. You may get into a less desirable (but generally still not terrible) international school in Japan and later move to a top school. The pay is generally good, there are raises for experience, it's a real classroom, and there are often benefits like tickets "home" once a year. If you get married and have kids they typically attend the school for free.

[–]qball43 1 point2 points  (1 child)

That's one thing I continually here- that Japan gets a ton of applications and has the ability to be picky choosy.

Teaching at an international school elsewhere is a great idea, I haven't considered that before.

Is teaching in the US for a year or two mandatory? Or can I jump right into an international school? Either way works fine, I am just excited to continue living overseas honestly.

My strong subjects are English and Social Sciences/History, so I've been having difficulty trying to navigate that as they are definitely softer subjects. One thing I have been considering is getting my Masters in Administration, Mental health counseling, or even HR. though I'm not sure if that would translate well to working overseas.

[–]senseiman 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I would strongly disagree with that short time frame that you lay out (6 months is OK, 2 years is too long).

I did Eikaiwa for longer than 2 years and with the benefit of hindsight now (I left Eikaiwa almost 20 years ago) it didn't negatively impact my career at all. Today I'm in a stable, well paid job that I enjoy in a completely different field.

I think there definitely is such a thing as too much time in Eikaiwa (if you are over 30 and still in Eikaiwa you need to have a serious think or two about where you are going) but 2 or 3 years for someone in their 20s isn't going to hurt. You do learn some skills (mostly interpersonal ones, customer service, etc) which are actually difficult to learn in a lot of other jobs and are transferable. Plus its a good way of saving money for further education (which is what I ended up doing with my Eikaiwa savings).

The only downside is that it delays your entry into your "real" career, whatever it is. But in a working lifetime of 40 years or so, 2 or 3 isn't a huge deal.

[–]nofriendseither 0 points1 point  (1 child)

The longer someone stays in eikaiwa the harder it becomes to escape. I also thought it was a between-jobs stop-gap for OP rather than the "I have no experience but need a job in Japan" type of situation that it turns out to have been. A mid-career break that goes on for years can definitely be damaging while a few months probably won't be a big deal.

[–]senseiman 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh yes, I agree that a mid-career Eikaiwa break is going to look bad if its anything other than a quick stop between "real" jobs in your field.

For someone in their early-mid 20s who hasn't started their career yet though I don't think it hurts at all and just wanted to make that clear, lest anyone reading your comment take that as the message.

[–]Paronomasiaster関東・千葉県 23 points24 points  (1 child)

Recruitment.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Got it. Although honestly it sounds soul-destroying enough that I wouldn't do it anyway.

[–]otherworlds 18 points19 points  (1 child)

As someone who was able to go from English teaching to a completely unrelated "real job", how the English teaching stuff on your resume is seen is going to largely depend on who is on the other side. Assuming you're not going for something education or HR related, a Japanese person more or less ignorant to the actual business of eikaiwa/ALT might see teaching as some valid experience. A foreigner, particularly a western foreigner, is gonna be able to sniff out the BS pretty quickly if you try to fluff up your monkeying experience to being something more legitimate than what it was.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Huh, this makes sense, thanks.

[–]emperor_toby 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Maybe not as bad as English teaching but I feel recruiting can be a dead end career move for a lot of foreigners here - especially when the job market rolls over. But you can definitely make good coin doing it when times are good.

[–]Feeling_Balance3456 19 points20 points  (2 children)

The Japanese wife™ trap

[–]gggxxxaaa 15 points16 points  (0 children)

The not-learning-Japanese trap

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Now that is one I am pretty damn confident I will not fall into!

[–]Daregakonoyaro 7 points8 points  (6 children)

Wow, you're getting the third degree here.

Here's my two cents, for what it's worth.

  1. Income You need to pay the bills. So do whatever it takes to generate income. If it means mopping the floor in a toilet, so be it.

  2. Levelling up This one applies wherever you work. Even a top flight employee at the Pentagon making over 100k a year may see his skills atrophy. There's no getting around this one. The way it works in society is if you just work as hard as everyone else, you will go nowhere. If you work twice as hard you can live a comfortable life. If you work three times as hard, you can raise a family.

So, levelling up, what is it? It means picking up marketable skills. These included IT skills, but in Japan Japanese language skills are a no-brainer. Another one is social skills, if you can work with others, and get along well, this alone is worth learning, if you don't know it already. Plenty of programmers and skilled people can't master this one, and I bet with all the telework more and more people will start to lose their social skills. So this could be a prized skill in the future.

But really it all boils down to working like a m**********r. You need to be on the edge, all the time, sharpening yourself up. In this world, there's the quick and the dead. No middle ground. You are either eating, or being eaten.

So, get in fighting shape.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

The way it works in society is if you just work as hard as everyone else, you will go nowhere. If you work twice as hard you can live a comfortable life. If you work three times as hard, you can raise a family.

Um, no, society doesn't work like that, but we can do politics some other time.

Another one is social skills, if you can work with others, and get along well, this alone is worth learning, if you don't know it already.

And how exactly does one "learn" something this immaterial? Last time I checked it wasn't exactly an option at the local juku.

[–]Daregakonoyaro -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Right, you hit the nail on the head. You don't learn these kinds of things at the juku. That's one of the big problems in Japan. Graduating pasty faced, dysfunctional, "highly educated idiots."

You nailed it. My point is that regardless of where you work, these social skills are of paramount importance. How you pick them up is by interacting with others. Your work environment is immaterial. You can learn how to interact with humans in any situation. It's the will to want to grow, to get out of your comfort zone, understand people and find ways to see the good in anyone.

Someone laser focused on their career or getting ahead can totally miss the boat on this, and end up becoming lonely, someone no one wants to be around.

Hinto...ain't gonna learn none of this on reddit. Gots to gets outs in the real world and meet real flesh and blood people and get in touch with your own and their humanity. Become human.

[–]wheres_my_bb 4 points5 points  (6 children)

Having eikaiwa on your CV isn't any worse (or better) than any other unskilled job, whether it's a cook at Sukiya or toilet cleaner at a JR station. They're all preferable to a gap, but they're not really going to help much with getting screened for unrelated jobs.

What you could call the "trap" of eikaiwa is being surrounded by people with no prospects or ambition. There are different groups of people, but the majority of them are washed up there and have no intention of doing anything about it. Another year of eikaiwa on their CV isn't something that scares these people.

The longer you struggle with finding a real job, the more your current situation is going to be normalised, and the more you'll start to sympathise with the lifers. If you want to avoid the trap, then you need to stop that from happening, and keep up your motivation for finding your way out.

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko 3 points4 points  (22 children)

A lot of translation jobs end up being low skill/low pay jobs.

Same for IT jobs at dispatch companies.

Any job whose only required skill is using your native language (or one of the languages you speak, besides japanese), has a high chance of being a dead end job.

Hospitality can be tremendously hit or miss.

(Finally, speaking from experience, having "ママ活 experience" written on your resume definitely lowers your chances of being taken seriously by employers, despite it being a 100% respectable job. So yeah, it's basically unlikely, but anyone who's done anything even remotely close to sex work, better not list on their resume).

[–]Carkudo近畿・大阪府 7 points8 points  (0 children)

having "ママ活 experience" written on your resume

You what now

[–]Shrimp_my_Ride 7 points8 points  (1 child)

ママ活

Lol, please tell me you actually wrote that on a resume!

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Now I don't do that anymore. Mostly because of discrinination and also because it's unrelated to my current field.

However, when I was looking for my first job in Japan, I was leaning towards working in hospitality and I definitely used to put it in my resume, because (and I'm not kidding) I believe that the skills gained while doing ママ活 can be easily transferred to any job where you have to interact with the public.

After the 100th rejection, and after my dooda recruiter freaked out, I removed it from my resume.

(Also, having done sex work in my home country while I was a student; and I mean REAL sex work, I never thought of mmk as being such a big deal).

[–]darkcorum 5 points6 points  (1 child)

except if boss is your mamakatsu

[–]The_Fresno_Farter 4 points5 points  (0 children)

The good jobs are mostly for people with prime networking skills or who could be doing that job anywhere, but wound up filling a position in Japan. Anyone who came here after school to fart around and "experience Japan" is pretty much doomed to a dead-end job unless they get extremely lucky or extremely serious. Most get neither.

[–]FlickMyLeftNipple69 4 points5 points  (6 children)

Finally, speaking from experience, having "ママ活 experience" written on your resume definitely lowers your chances of being taken seriously by employers

No shit... if I'm hiring for my team and I see "Experience pole dancing in Shinjuku" I would literally think this was a joke CV.

If you are applying for sex work, by all means include your sex work experience.

If you are applying to sit on a chair 9 hours a day and work on spreadsheets and word processors, DO NOT WRITE ABOUT YOUR SEX LIFE WORK.

[–]sputwiler 8 points9 points  (1 child)

pole dancing is not someone's sex life heck even sex work isn't someone's sex life

obviously you shouldn't tell people professionally about your sex life, but those are professions, not your sex life.

[–]FlickMyLeftNipple69 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fair enough I was being facetious but the point still stands - you don't include your sex work experience in non-sex work fields

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko 3 points4 points  (3 children)

That's because you're afraid of things you don't understand.

If I were a recruiter and someone wrote

Experience pole dancing in Shinjuku

On their resume, my screening algorithm would be:

-Is it relevant to the position they're applying for?

Yes: +1 point.

No: Ok, let's move on and see if they have any sone other jobs, whose experience may be relevant to this position.

Period.


Also, I hate to be that guy, but:

ママ活 =/= sex work.

Pole dance =/= sex work.

Sex work =/= sex life.

[–]FlickMyLeftNipple69 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ok sure I misspoke sex life is not sex work - but you completely ignored:

"if you are applying to sex work, by all means add your sex work experience"

There is literally almost no context in non-sex work-related Japanese professional society where saying "I have experience in sex work" is a plus.

I don't care about sex work and would rather it be legal and regulated - but again if I see it on a CV on a job NOT related to sex work, I would think it's a joke.

You can lament how society views sex work and whatever, but given the societal context, adding sex work experience for a non-sex-work related job is a big yellow flag - you are basically telling the employer you are either unaware of or willfully ignoring societal taboos by openly referencing sex work.

You tailor your CV to pander to the job.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Good grief, a lot of people here have weird ideas about sex work, huh? Keep up the good work trying to put 'em right.

[–]FlickMyLeftNipple69 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I was being facetious but the point still stands - don't include sex work in your CV in general. I really just hope this is common sense.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I don't particularly mind if it's low pay, but are they the sort of jobs that other employers look down on?

Any job whose only required skill is using your native language (or one of the languages you speak, besides japanese), has a high chance of being a dead end job.

Does this mean literally only that language (like with eikaiwa), or does that include jobs that use it along with JP in equal amounts?

(Finally, speaking from experience, having "ママ活 experience" written on your resume definitely lowers your chances of being taken seriously by employers, despite it being a 100% respectable job. So yeah, it's basically unlikely, but anyone who's done anything even remotely close to sex work, better not list on their resume).

Thanks, this is the sorta thing I was worried about.

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

Does this mean literally only that language (like with eikaiwa), or does that include jobs that use it along with JP in equal amount?

The first one you said. To be precise, it means that the language you use is your only skill.

However, even when you're using JP as well, there might be some cases that fall in the category I described.

For example, if you translate medical manuals (let's say from JP), not only do you have to know the target language, but you also have to be fairly well versed in the medical jargon. So, no problem here.

However, if, for example, your job consists in translating, idk, videogames, you're not really developing any other skills besides translation itself, and that could be a problem.

I don't particularly mind if it's low pay, but are they the sort of jobs that other employers look down on?

That varies from employer to employer. Rather than your job, I think that things like having done a lot of part time-契約社員 jobs without ever landing a 正社員 position are not gonna look good in your resume. Similarly, changing jobs too often (how often is "too often" depends on your field), without having brought any significant contribution to your previous employer(s) can also be frowned upon.

Thanks, this is the sorta thing I was worried about.

As I said, anything related (in the mind of your your potential employer) to sex work is better kept off your resume.

Also, I wouldn't be too keen on listing 非人 jobs (as perceived by the japanese) either, like cleaning toilets, for example.

[–]Homusubi近畿・京都府[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thanks for the clarification, although it must be said that I don't particularly care whether or not something's a dead end. I don't mind moving sideways instead of forwards, but I do still want the ability to move at all.

[–]FreeganSlayer 0 points1 point  (2 children)

How can you dekinai a kanojo while having a successful ママ活 career?

Inquiring minds want to know.

[–]KanojoGaDekinaiOtoko -2 points-1 points  (1 child)

Jokes aside, being popular with older ladies has always been my family's bane xd.

Btw, I never said it was successful: I had like 7 clients in five months or so. Definitely nothing to brag about.

[–]raffig 2 points3 points  (0 children)

ママ活

You should do an AMA

[–]creepy_doll 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Not really sure if it’s a trap so long as you don’t do it long term.

I did it for a year while I figured out what I wanted to do(did I actually want to live here or did I only like it here because of my time as an exchange student? Etc) and then went into what I actually studied at college.

Of course if you have a degree that isn’t really desirable it might be more of a trap?

[–]thekanjiboy 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Mate, for reals though. Like others have alluded to:

The “Eikawa trap” isn’t what you have just described it as. It’s a super easy job that allows people to be lazy. I know, I was lazy. Still am lazy. And if you are lazy and never do anything to progress professionally, getting a better job is gonna be tough.

I was lucky in that I was always obsessed with learning Japanese. I don’t consider that “work”.

If your Japanese is a decent N1 or better, you live local, you don’t put “I worked in a bar for 12 months during the pandemic” on ur resume (btw, you were “supporting the local community” or “developing my professional portfolio” or something..)

getting a decent non Eikawa job shouldn’t be too much of a chore.

PS: Oh! Just read your comment where you mention your J is shit hot, but you have no other skills. That’s exactly where I was 5 years ago. If you wanna hear my “how I escaped the Eikawa trap story” feel free to DM me.

[–]omg_literally 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The marriage trap

[–]cptneb 4 points5 points  (2 children)

PHP developer (it's a terrrrrrrrible programming language)

[–]ConanTheLeader海外 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Is that common still? I thought it was all about Java, JS and python these days

[–]cptneb 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Unfortunately, its way more common than it should be. The languages you've mentioned are the industry dominant ones and who Id recommend to anyone looking to learn.

However lots of shitty little shops or free lancers who don't know any better keep PHP alive. I guess alot of Facebook infrastructure is PHP but the mind boggles the mind. "Facebook still uses PHP, but it has built a compiler for it so it can be turned into native code on its web servers, thus boosting performance. "

[–]Saffron_Orange_Karma 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There are always exceptions. A wide variety of people work at eikaiwas and there are a wide variety of eikaiwas. It's not like if you've been to one eikaiwa, you know them all, or if you've met one eikaiwa teacher, you've met them all.

That being said, different employers have different views of eikaiwas and potential employees who have worked at them.

Some things that may impede someone's ability to work somewhere:

- unskilled in the tasks required

- not having the proper educational prerequisites

- not having the proper visa

- lack of Japanese ability

- lack of ability to communicate in general

- poor attitude

- unable to start when wanted

- poor performance in an interview or phone screening

- poor references (Although I've personally got jobs in Japan that did not follow up with references)

- incomplete application forms

There's a whole world out there, so different employers have different requirements and opinions about things. It's like trying to explain "women" or "men".

[–]hambugbento 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The Japan trap. You can't go home because you've nothing to go home to.

The marriage and kids trap.

The mortgage trap, because selling your Japanese house will always be at a loss.

[–]hsakakibara1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I am in HR at Japanese companies in Japan. I know many foreigners who came to Japan,
taught English while learning Japanese, then changed careers. So no, I do not
think that working in eikaiwa is like getting trapped in quicksand. However,
learning Japanese and having other skills (e.g. accounting, IT, etc.) will be
key.

[–]ClanPsi0 1 point2 points  (3 children)

From what I can tell, the IT industry is in a simliar situation.

[–]azabu10ban 2 points3 points  (2 children)

how so? Seems to have pretty clear career progression for most IT roles I can think of, unless you're referring to call-centers or something?

That being said I do know people who take easy jobs usually at non-tech related companies, never do anything to improve and complain they can't get anything better but there are people like that in any industry.

[–]ClanPsi0 3 points4 points  (1 child)

I meant more a lot of people getting stuck in black companies.

[–]wheres_my_bb -1 points0 points  (0 children)

This doesn't make much sense. Even eikaiwa teachers don't get stuck at a company. They may be stuck in the industry itself, but it's easy enough to move from Gaba to Nova, or one of those kids' schools where you dance like a certain type of species closely related to humans.

I'm not sure how you're grouping IT, but tech has some of the best mobility around. Nobody can hire the amount of people they need, there are countless recruitment companies "specialising in tech", and tech employees are commonly incentivised to refer people. It's really hard not to find a way out whether you're looking for one or not.

[–]AlgorithmInErrorOut 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think the whole notion of eikaiwa being a trap is utter bullshit. The problem is if you do eikaiwa for 4 years and do nothing related to your field in that time companies will think you are not serious about your field. I did eikaiwa for several years and landed a pretty good coding job afterwards. While I was doing eikaiwa I was coding on my own and doing open source projects. First job still took a few applications but for my second job I got hired by my first choice/application.

[–]gmellotron 0 points1 point  (0 children)

After eikaiwa, most people become a recruiter/sales. Then you are off to something else for what you want to do. Eikaiwa isn't ever an ideal career, you should consider going for something else after 2-4 years working for them.

[–]sxh967 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it depends on what else you have on your resume (ie before you came to Japan). If you're a grad and you have literally no experience doing anything else (other than maybe part time jobs) then having eikaiwa etc as your first "proper" job is generally not going to be good for moving into another industry later on.

Unless you learn some sort of skill outside of work hours (unrelated to teaching) and pursue getting good at that (easiest example would be something tech-related).

There are a few examples here of people who claim to have bucked the trend of "down and out" but given that it sounds like you don't really want to be a teacher anyway (since you're looking for a way out before you even get started), you're safe to ignore those success stories and better off focusing on new skills.

Plus, (if you can speak Japanese as well as you say you do) you should be able to at least apply for other jobs (like translation, even if you don't have any official translation experience).

[–]Known-Pen-7515 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Hi! Any Filipinos here who are English teachers in Japan? How did you applied for the job?