I promised myself I’d fit a Japan-related one in here, to balance out my Pennsylvania one. I have been focusing more on what is going on in the state, and I wish, through it, that I could make more progress on the job front.
Someone joked–and I think this is a joke constantly aimed at bloggers–that there must be some way to make a living at it. Truthfully, it’s going the other way, though, isn’t it? Journalists can’t make a living. Newspaper columnists have it even worse, if they didn’t have a solid following to begin with. If the people who are actually going to tell you what is going on are having it rough, and the people whose canned opinions, and sway, used to prop up editorial pages are now redundant, where do you think that puts the blogger?
I occasionally get asked if I would want to go back and work in Japan. That’s a complicated question. When you’re in the hunt, you really have to be ready to take work where you can, if you can do the job. But practically, look at how tough it would be to work in Japan:
1) If you’ve been following my analyses, it’s clear that the professional job openings are few and far between, and news of them is kept to a small group. (Not small elite group, because I don’t think friends of the headhunter are necessarily elite, unless you consider Eikaiwa or ALT selection processes to be “elite”.)
2) Anything having to do with ALT or Eikaiwa is out for the simple fact that I am one of the more prominent commentators about the issue of pension and health insurance (social insurance). Unlike the foreigner unions, I actually will contact officials and ask, “why the heck are Americans being cheated on this?” So, would that make one more or less likely to be hired by an Interac? Just because some Americans sell out their countrymen for questionable business gain doesn’t mean I have to, too. At some point, words and agreements have to mean something. And we have an agreement with Japan on the issue of social security coverage.
3) I am tired of playing the game of the Three Cards. Remember, these are:
What is your language ability?
Hey, you’re not Japanese! (If you’re language ability is good);
(for someone of Japanese background), You’re not from here, so you don’t understand the ‘wa‘!
I’ve had the first played against me; and have friends around the world that I made in Tokyo, who’ve had the second–and the third!–played against them.
I’d have to see some genuine effort on the part of the Japanese Labor Ministry to clean up the antics that go on when a foreign person tries to work as a career in Japan. Alternatively, I’d like to see our own court system—U.S. federal court system–defend the rights of Americans who have worked in Japan, where they should be protected under law.
If you don’t have any of that, it’s really the Wild West over there, which is why the kiddies (20 somethings, maybe 30’s) predominate. I know several of you have contacted me about that. But, other than me just saying, and making a “wish list” of sorts, there’s not much that can be done on our side ex[cept] to witness and talk about it.
[More when I feel like it.]