Sunday, April 18, 2010

Can't Get Me No (Job) Satisfaction...

Working! A Job! Argh....really, if only I could get paid to sleep! Where is that job?

Actually, I do like teaching. It took me years of different careers and employment fields to realize that the only thing I like to do is go to school - and since it is difficult to make money being a student, being a teacher is the next best thing!

Recently I was on the job hunt again - my teaching contract was over for the 2009-2010 term, and it was time to find a new contract. My previous contract had me placed at a school that took almost a two hour commute - door to door. So, short commute was high on my list of priorities.

Also, I really hate to strapped for money. Tokyo has high living expenses anyway, so I wanted more extra spending money as well.

Initially, I was offered several high school teaching jobs. Unfortunately the money was less than the previous contract AND the commute was just as long. I declined these.

What seemed a perfect job came to me. A small International preschool nearby! Only 20 minute commute, great pay, paid vacations. Sure, the age group was younger...the kids would be 2 and 3...and my specialty is high school age...but no biggie!

I took this exciting new job. I loved the short commute, I adored my pay per hour, the staff was great. The kids were....2. And 3. And some need diaper change. And runny noses wiped. And to be feed at lunch.

I tried to convince myself that due to short commute, better pay - I could do this! Man-up! Bite the bullet!

But...I just could not...I had to realize that money and commute time, at least in my case, will not give me any satisfaction. I was miserable and frustrated. I had to force myself to go in to work. I lasted two weeks before I gave up.

This situation reminded me that job satisfaction comes from the job you do - are you making a difference? are you doing what you enjoy? do you want to get up and go to work?

Fortunately, immediately upon leaving, I received an email with another job offer - same pay as previous high school job, but commute of only 45 minutes (rather than 2 hours!), and back with high school students.


  1. Because I do contract work, I often have interviews with agencies where they ask stuff like what kind of industry I want to work in and if I prefer large or small companies. I never know how to answer because I think those things much little difference to job satisfaction.

    To me, the team of people you work with and the company culture are the main things - if you feel supported rather than constantly defensive.

  2. Hear, hear, sister!

    I have had the misfortune to work in companies (in the US) with an assortment of back-stabbing coworkers. It makes you hate to go to work - even if you love the job. In Tokyo, since I do not speak Japanese, I have NO idea if anyone is being mean - and it's lovely. I just assume all is well, and go on my way.

    What types of contract work do you do?

  3. I do IT work atm but I actually have some questions to ask you about teaching in Japan. My email addy is kathrynoh @ if that's okay :D