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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Looking for and finding a new job.

As you are all aware I lost my job at Happy Marian (or Sad Marian) as I used to call it.  I was very happy about this because they were horrible and lied all the time anyway.  They went back on a lot of things we agreed on when I signed the contract.  






Top picture, me as dressed as a ghost with the kids at the first school I worked at before they sacked me, bottom picture one of my kids who was amazing at English dressed as Buzz Lightyear.
This threw my life here into a bit of uncertainty and chaos.  The reason it threw everything into chaos is because I need a job to stay in Taiwan, the job is like your sponsor for the visa.  Which means no job, no sponsor and no visa.  I asked what will happen to my status now in Taiwan to the correct and official people, and they told me when your employer contacts us and cancels your ARC we will call you, then I think you have around 7 days to leave Taiwan, I don't remember the correct number.  I was not aware when or if the immigration agency would call me to tell me that my visa would be taken away, that means I would have to leave Taiwan again and I didn't want that to happen because I was unsure how long my money would last, especially since I was now a number of the unemployed.


This meant I had to go back to the same daily routine as when I first arrived on this island.  Jen supplied me with big lists of schools and numbers then we started to systematically call through all the different schools to see which ones had jobs available.  We started to line up the demos and interviews again and my daily schedule was busy, but not quite as busy as when I first arrived here in the summer because not many schools were looking for teachers.


A lot of the jobs I went to for the interviews you could tell straight away that they were a heap of crap and it was obvious why they did not have a teacher, because in most cases the only time a job becomes available is when they are crap.  Who leaves a job they love in the middle of their contract unless for some kind of family crisis.  So I could tell there and then that it was going to be kind of tricky trying to decide which one would be best job to take if the offers started to come in.  This worried me slightly because I didn't want to be in the same situation 2 months down the line as I had been before I got sacked.  


We looked for jobs ourselves but we also decided to contact agents because the situation was quite urgent and we thought we might as well get all the help we could.  As it turns out most of the jobs the agent sent me too were piss poor or what I clearly told her I was not looking for.  She kept trying to send me for full time jobs when I told I wanted part time only, and she also kept trying to make me accept her job that she had in Yilan without looking at the school, meeting the staff, knowing what I would have to do, she wouldn't even tell me the name of the school, and she wouldn't even tell me the names of the schools she sent me to for demos she would only give me the address, I had to force the names of the schools from her.  Oh and Yilan is over 1 hour travel time from my house.  I didn't even know how close the school would be to where I would get off the bus or train.  


In the end I totally pissed her off when I told her I had found a job on my own.  So she then stopped contacting me even though I told her i'm still interested in a morning job.


In the end it seems like she fucked me over anyway by supplying the old school that sacked me with a new teacher before I even left, so the slimy bitch was trying to get a double payment really, money from me if I accepted one of her crap full time jobs, and money from the new guy she sent to replace me.  No wonder her apartment was huge, and seemed like she had loads of wonger, i'm not surprised if thats how she acts.  So I will never contact that agent again, I did have an idea of posting her name and number online for other people to contact her and say it was from the guy who gave the contact to me, because she is quite secretive about it all and doesn't want loads of people contacting her for some odd and bizaar reason, maybe she is working illegally.


I think in the future I would rather fail than use another agent.  No matter where I am they always act the same if you ask me.  Whether it has been in England, Germany or Taiwan they are all horrible at least the ones I have made contact with anyway.


So I started going to interviews again and it reminded me how much I hated demo's and interviews.  They always make me feel so nervous and I always somehow manage to forget my words and everything I know from the past and have read about learning, education and everything else slips out of my mind while the nerves set in.  I think I put too much pressure on my self to be great in the interview and I make myself so determined to do my best it makes my mind go like a blank sheet of paper, and then when I come out of the interview I remember everything again and think shit man, why didn't I say that in the interview or do that!


Another thing is sometimes you feel like they are just using you.  Like when they ask you to come and do a demo, but sometimes they just use you to fill in if there teacher has called in sick or whatever, or to trick the parents and say there kids get a free class or something.  Its wrong but I have heard it happen, and I have felt like that has happened to me a few times.  There is nothing you can really do about it because you can get quite desperate when you really need a job.


I had jobs for all different types of schools, and different styles.  Kindergardens and cram schools etc etc.  All the types of schools here I applied too, I just thought I have nothing to lose.  I even went all the way to Taoyuan for an interview which was a heap of shit.  It was miles away from the train station which took me over 2 hours to get there.  Then when I got off the train it took ages in the taxi, and cost over 200 NT dollars for the taxi journey which means I would lose money by taking the job.


Then I got offered 2 jobs one at a Kid Castle by Taipei Zoo and one at Joy English quite close to my home.  I had pretty much accepted the job at Kid Castle, then the next day I got offered the job at Joy too.  This put me in a situation I have never been in before.  The reason is when I get offered a job I normally get quite excited at the prospect of the new job and just accept whatever is put on the table.  


My new place of work, Long Fu Branch.
Even though I had pretty much said I would take the Kid Castle job, all the staff at Joy English seemed lovely and just what I was looking for.  I was quite concerned about the hours at Joy however, when I thought about the extra money made was going to be spent on the transport cost to get too and from work as it is further from my home.


Another thing that was concerning me about the Kid Castle job is that they seemed like they changed their mind a lot already about what they were going to be offering me.  The health insurance was a classic example they said yes they would provide it for me, then when I double checked and asked again, she said her manager would not provide the health insurance.  It was also taking them ages to answer my simple questions about the job which set off alarm bells ringing in my head.


In complete contrast to Kid Castle the boss at Joy English was a lot more helpful.  She seemed completely nice and pleasant and had no problems about answering any of my questions.  She could clearly see I was deep in thought about what I should do.  I was thinking which contract I should sign, and it is obvious she really did notice.  She let me take the contract home over the weekend to let me decide what I was going to do and think it over.  This was one of the first signs of them being really nice to me.  There were more signs too, some of the others were; the boss meeting me in the MRT station and taking me in a taxi to the school, not doing a demo and having what I consider to be a proper demo by western peoples standards, being up front about everything in beginning in regards to the visa, health insurance and labour insurance and what I would have to pay towards these, regards the visa she said she would get it done the very next day, but she could not guarentee that I would not have to leave the country this was because she had to wait for the government to sort it out and it was out of her control then, and she also let me meet all the other teachers before I even signed the contract this was good because the other schools always tried to give you dodgy answers when asked these questions.  They always tried to keep you away from their teachers too.





First picture is where I get off the bus, second picture is the road I walk down (notice Blockbuster) third picture is the alley with Joy English, my job in the alley.
I was cautious about only have 12 hours per week, but at the time I was trying to study Chinese (you can read about that struggle in the learning Chinese blog) but, now I don't know whether to get another a job, or save money and try and study Chinese again.  At the moment I am doing nothing in the mornings but have started running, and swimming and working on my fitness in general instead of doing it in the evenings.


So I called up my would be new boss, and told her that I wanted to accept the job.  She said that was great news, so I went in that evening and signed the contract.  Ever since I have signed the contract it has been great working there.  I really believe that my manager is one of the best I have had anywhere that I have worked in the world.  There really keen about communication between their staff and training for the staff which is great for me and them.  From my point of view though it is great for me personally because it means your staff will always be up to date and have good ideas about what they should do in classes.  I have struggled a little bit with Saturdays because I have to be up at 6.30am at the latest as I start work at 8am.  I am now getting better with getting up though as I am getting more used to it.


Inside my job, with co-teachers and kids, and one of my bosses in the middle.
I have to be up really early on Saturdays, every other day however I can just lie in bed all morning.  I think it is making me very lazy though, I just sit up all night and then sleep all day until it is nearly time to go to work, but now I have started breaking that habbit as I am changing my routines to make it better for me, and not just get totally lazy.  I can see how it is easy for other people to fall into this routine though, and I can see how Owain done this when he was here too.  Its too bloody easy to do it thats why.


The kids at my new school are really nice, and I think some of the classes really like me a lot.  I think though that they like any foreign teacher, because foreigns teachers are used a lot to play games and make the learning fun for the kids, so I have to realise that I have to just keep doing what I am doing and most of the kids should like me.  


Me with one of my classes.
One of my favourite kids!  He is always so happy!







All these are kids from one of my classes.
I forgot to mention that I work at 2 different schools, 2 days a week in each, but I have just managed to get another 2 hours so I will be working Monday and Tuesday at Long Fu school, and then Thursday Friday and Saturday at Shin Chuan Long School.  Meaning I have 2 days off, Wednesday and Sunday.  I used to think to think this was a bad thing because I wanted continuity but, it means I get to see how both schools work, see the differences and meet a lot more new people and see a lot of kids too.


Everyone at both schools has been more than helpful to me although, one group of staff is more serious than the other group.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, its just they have different personalities.  I really do love the job, and things seem to be going well.  I really like all the people I work with and all the help and advice they have given so far, and I know they will keep giving me good advice until I finish working there which makes me really happy to work there.  I am going to keep working as hard as I can because I want to repay everyones faith in me at the school for employing me when it would be easy for them to see that I had been sacked and just not take me on.  I also want to repay the manager for all her help to me, and all the other staff members help.  So I will definitely be trying my best all the time.


When work give me an extra 12 hours I was really happy because 24 hours was ideal to have enough money to live comfortably, pay the bills, buy what I want and learn Chinese.  They only let me work them for 2 weeks though.  I was disappointed at first when they took them from me but, maybe they think I couldn't manage all the hours or something with being relatively new with working here, and working in their system, plus they still thought I was learning Chinese and thought I didn't have the time to do the hours.  I am over the disappointment now though and back to showing them how great I can be.  I am determined not to mess this job up because I really do love it.




She has a very inquisitive mind.






Some of the classes that got taken away from me, we made loveheart lollipops for Valentines day.
In the end I was kind of sad that I dropped the Kid Castle woman in it, because she seemed really nice too, I had to think what was best for me at the end of the day.  It did really take me ages to get any kind of reply from her which meant it would of been like that whenever I wanted to meet the real boss and not just my supervisor.  I got the feeling her boss was not so honest as she seemed to come across as being.  It meant I would of been in the same situation at Kid Castle as I was at Happy/Sad Marian.  


At the end of day, it is clear to me and everyone else that I have made the correct decision and I do not regret it to this day, I am sure the woman at Kid Castle will have found someone to work there anyway.  I am really happy at Joy English, I am happy with the people I work with and I love all my classes too.