Steep Opportunity Costs.mp3
My Eikaiwa (English Language School) time is limited. I have exactly 67 days until I have to leave the job that I’ve had for three years now. I’ve blogged your eyes out and ears off about job hunting and apartment hunting. I also mentioned that interviews are starting, and offers are happening with some of the AET/ALT (Assistant English Teacher/ Assistant Language Teacher) dispatch companies. One company that I mentioned, the one that I want to work for most, was Interac. The reason I have my sights set on this company is because I know it’s one of the largest providers of AETs to public schools in Japan. Now, when it comes to Eikaiwas, big doesn’t necessarily mean stable, Nova is a prime example of that. If you aren’t familiar with Nova, it’s the Eikaiwa that went bankrupt at it’s peak…being the largest Eikaiwa in Japan at the time of the filing. However, when a company is linked to the public school system, I feel it’s pretty stable, because the public school system isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, I would imagine Interac’s lifeblood is the contracts that it secures with schools all over Japan, whereas Eikaiwas have to rely on contracts with students and the resulting payments to keep business healthy.
In my “What Kind of Job Am I Looking For Anyway?” post I mentioned that I had interviewed with Interac last year and had some really positive feedback. On Monday, I have to do another demo lesson for Interac, but this is the one that counts. If I do a good job, and the school likes me, it means that I could end up with a job in Moriya, which is just a 17-minute train ride from Tsukuba. I did get some more details on the position, and if all goes well, I would have to be ready for training in late January, and be ready to start on February 6th.
Last Sunday I had a chance to speak with a member of the AEON head office staff; he’s the one that’s in charge of contract stuff. Unfortunately, I got the news I didn’t want to hear. Because this Interac opportunity doesn’t allow me to give 60 days notice I would forfeit my entire completion bonus…which sucks because that’s money I need live on until I get my first check at my new job. The other downside is that I bought my plane ticket home through JTB (a travel company here in Japan) about three months ago, and the ticket is non-refundable…damn it!!
So if I’m offered the Moriya job and I take it, it means I have a secure position for my next three years in Japan, I’ll only have to teach at one school (which is rare for most AET jobs), my job will only be 30 minutes from Tokyo, and I’ll have the schedule to do modeling, karate, etc. But…on the flip side, I would be taking a pay cut, sacrificing the trip home that I’ve already paid for (I haven’t seen my family in almost a year), my February AEON income, my bonus, and the chance to say goodbye to my students. Financially, I think sticking out my contract would be best (I’d be letting go of over ￥300,000, over ￥400,00 if you include the flight cost, which is currently the equivalent of 3,572.70 USD), I just worry that I won’t be able to find a job in this area because there aren’t so many.
I remember taking Management Decision Science in my business curriculum at Morehouse College and remember discussing opportunity costs*. Never have those lessons been more applicable than right now.
What would you do in this situation? Would you take your bonus and fly home (in hopes of finding another Japan job that fits with the end of your contract)? Or, would you terminate your contract for the promise of a stable position, albeit a lower-paying one, now? I’d love to hear your thoughts…please feel free to post in the comment section below.
どうしょうかな？ (Doushoukana?/ I wonder what I should do?),