Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on December 12th, 2008
Hi Blog. A blog called “Jason’s Random Thoughts” has a thoughtful post for those NJ facing restructuring in Japan. Since it’s a recent theme on Debito.org, I thought I’d post an excerpt and a link here.
I’ve posted (a bit irreverently) before on what sort of jobs are available for NJ, particularly those of the former Eikaiwa ilk. Read that here. As for those of you seriously facing a job loss and a reassessment of your life in Japan with the economic downturn, Jason’s blog post is food for thought. Props to Sendaiben.
For almost two years we have heard how companies are shutting down all over the world in response to a slowing economy. Whether this is the ultimate result of corporate greed, globalization, out-sourcing, or something that can be understood only by leading economists, one thing is clear: our current employment is no guarantee of future security. Of course, facing the prospect of unemployment is scary for everyone, but it’s particularly painful when living in a foreign country.
Here in Japan, a number of private language schools have shut down due to this slowing economy, and others are struggling. The larger companies are starting to offer discounts as high as 40%, and language instructors are beginning to lower their private lesson rates in a bid to stave off their own financial troubles. But how long can a person do this before it’s no longer realistically viable?
This aside; hundreds of thousands of foreigners will be forced to ask one or both of the following questions:
- Is it time to go back?
- Am I prepared to take “living in Japan” to the next level if the current job disappears?
I’ve been thinking about the second question far more than the first, as I have no intentions on leaving Japan. Reiko and I are quite happy here, and we hope to stay for at least another quarter century before considering relocating. But many colleagues and acquaintances have been leaving the country in droves since the fall of Nova. Not only has it become more difficult to find work as a language instructor, but it has become next to impossible for many to secure a nice contract position that offers a healthy completion bonus.
So what options do foreign workers have if they wish to continue to live and work in Japan?
Assessing Our Strengths
Arudou Debito in Sapporo