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Rinjin Blog


Hang in There

2012/09/17

America and Japan are two countries with a lot of similarities and quite a lot of differences, but one thing that comes as a very late-blooming culture shock for many people is the difference in how businesses and schools hire and keep employees.  It's just hard to understand at first, until you get used to the system and experience signing a contract or two.

 

In America, many jobs don't hire you for a predetermined, set period.  They just hire you.  So technically if you give enough advance notice according to the legal rules involved, you can stay as long as you want or quit whenever you want.  Japan is much different.  A whole lot of the hiring that goes on is contract-based, and since many of you reading this work in the education industry, you'll be aware that the most common contract period is April 1 to March 31 of any one school year.  (Of course, most contracts are renewable if both parties are happy.)

 

This is very important to realize, because as a teacher at a school you don't have the freedom to just quit in the middle of the school year.  It's very bad for the students, but it's also not good for you.  If you quit one school in the middle of the year just because you're unhappy, what will the next school who interviews you think as soon as they see your resume?  It's just very hard to trust someone who quits their contract half-way through.  And since the school year is almost always one year starting from April, it sticks out as quite obvious.

 

If I had to give solid advice to those looking to come work as a teacher at a private school in Japan, it would be to recommend acting like a responsible, dependable teacher, and proving it by your actions and career history - not just in the hiring process but throughout every year you live in Japan.  Anyone can understand the feelings of someone unhappy in their working environment, but you'll be seen in a much better light by overcoming adversity in the workplace and fulfilling your contract in a responsible way.

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