Friday, June 29, 2007

The Corporate Life vs. Drunk On The Beach

Being accused of being an old whiner on my last post, I feel I need to make a few additions to my comments. (Even though the guy who accused me of being an old whiner is probably some young puke who thinks he's hot shit because he became an English teacher and laid a decent-looking chick for the first time ever.)

I've never worked for a big corporation; in fact I've pretty much never done anything other than teach English. (I worked as a bartender and a gardener briefly in and around the time I finished college.) I have no idea how tedious office work is -- I suppose those engineer guys work 10 - 12 hours a day, and are probably generally under a lot more stress, and all that.

Nonetheless, they are usually, in the evenings and weekends, exactly where the English teachers are -- hanging out. But with a lot more money.

Now, the obvious good question: if you hate it so much, or envy them so much, why don't you suck it up and go get a corporate job?

Hey, you know, it happens -- a former DOS in Moscow ended up getting a job in the Personnel Department of some big-ass pharmaceutical company's office in Moscow, with the attendant high-five-figure salary, on the strength of his managerial experience and his excellent Russian.

But that probably ain't for English Teacher X. I'm a teacher, and I actually like it pretty much. (Although, as I said, I don't really have anything to compare it to -- I might fucking love office work, for all I know.)

However, as we all know, the salaries and benefits of being an English teacher are pretty woesome -- and please, don't tell me how much money you made from your private students last month. I've done that too -- let's see, nearly $400 this month -- but it's rarely a steady or reliable income, and can dry up as quickly as it came.

People's wages versus cost of living are suffering in most places, I suppose, but I think this is especially true of English teaching. Despite the increased need for English in this global economy, globalism is actually killing this job -- steadily, wages (and course fees) continue to plummet as the allure of studying with a foreign teacher becomes less and less exotic. Foreigners are everywhere, and the whole world is connected by cheap flights. Local teachers are increasing well-trained and experienced, too.

And inflation, of course -- everything in Russia costs twice what it used to 5 years ago, but my salary is barely 20 percent more, in comparative terms, even after becoming a DOS.

Without getting into the pros and cons of whether English teachers are free-living rebels or global bottom-feeders, and whether freedom really is just another word for nothing left to lose, the financial realities of it are a bit frightening as you get older. For example, this post on Ernesto Rodriguez's blog detailing how he can't afford his diabetes medication. But it's not like only English teachers have THAT problem.

There's always the Middle East for decent money and benefits, I suppose, but the fun quotient is pretty low there, obviously.

So whither English Teacher X?

Well, I hope to get a Master's Degree in the next couple of years, and get into working for some of the international charities and NGOs. I knew a guy here in Vodkaberg who was making a reasonably sweet $45 - $50,000 a year, plus a local stipend, working for the Soros Foundation, mostly involved in training Russian teachers and giving seminars. Then, I guess, there's always international schools and universities, teacher training, and so forth.

I guess you can stumble along in any career if you don't make any effort to improve your lot in life. After all, these engineer guys worked hard and got great degrees and qualifications to get where they are. I became an English teacher as a result of backpacking through Thailand and running out of money. . .

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a plan!

By the time you are 68, you may just be able to afford car!!

It makes me all warm on the inside when old whining losers finally cotton on the what most people know when they're 18. You gots to play the system if you want to get by.

Anonymous said...

Well said X...

But what would we do without you?

I agree, privates aren't stable and hardly reliable, but as prices have gone up, so have rates and demand. I don't know about Vodkaberg, but in my little corner of the former USSR my salary has been keeping up with the rates of inflation, I manage to have a comfortable life, a much nicer flat than I had 8 years ago and still sock away more than a few hundred a month just from my school salary. I'm turning away more privates than I can handle, even though I've raised my rates 3 times in 2 years. My corner isn't saturated with foreigners, on the contrary, as the quality of life has been increasing the number of spoiled foreigners coming and staying has actually been decreasing, probably better described as rates of attrition. I don't know about you, but the longer I stay the better it gets. Everything here is done by recommendations and word of mouth, contacts. Most teachers leave before they have a chance to get to know the ropes and make the contacts necessary to do alright here. Anyway, I can only speak for myself.

I've had other opportunities to do other things that might be more interesting than teaching. Unfortunately, I actually still enjoy it... Even with all the bullshit. Maybe this post is a little too positive, maybe you've reached a point in life where you need to move on..it's sad, because you're not the only TEFL Teacher that talks like this. It's the norm, most people get into this as a way of supporting themselves living abroad, I'm no exception. They hate their jobs and come to despise their students(maybe not you) and really do a disservice. I wish that all those who didn't like their jobs would do their students and the rest of us a favor and get out, it would shorten the playing field and possibly force schools to treat the rest of us a little better. That's not going to happen though because most of them have nothing else to do and prefer to whine, bitch and moan.

Hard to believe, but I've come to really like teaching, it's fun, I don't care what others say about teaching poor schumks English in Kongolia in the false hope of getting a good job. The fact is that they do have more opportunities if they know English and only people who are blind or were born with English as their mother tongue and never leave the States fail to realize this fact. I nor anyone else I know back home would ever pay at least 10% of their monthly income(rich guys excluded)and after working all day long, go to classes 3 nights a week to learn another language. I literally run into students all the time I taught 5, 6, 7 years ago and the satisfaction I get when I hear what they're doing with lives, the good memories they have etc. of those classes and how learning English had a direct impact on all that. Those things far outweigh the negatives of TEFL.

By the way, thanks for that link to Ernesto's sight. He seems like a nice guy just trying to get by...I wish him luck. You too X, whatever you do and however you feel, you've at least created an interesting website and blog and that's no small feat.. Maybe if you do get your Masters and change fields, you'll create another cool site... Keep the faith..

Jason said...

I don't know, it's a different system where I live in Germany. There are good jobs and bad jobs and good jobs that don't pay well and bad jobs that pay great and I'm just trying to find the best mix of all of them. I currently have 9 employers and 2 private lessons and it gets to be a bit much sometimes but it allows me to travel a lot and try and some a bit of scratch.

EnglishteacherG said...

I just want a day job that is good enough to where I don't have to have a night job.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh..isn't this lovely.

It's like a meeting of maladjusted losers. I bet X just loves being a beacon in the night for various middle-aged fuckwits to congregate around!

Robbo said...

Hmmmm....

Depends how you define 'fuckwit', mate.

I'd suggest a fuckwit is a faceless coward who has nothing better to do than troll blogs...

Anonymous said...

Engineers are always going to make a lot of money. I remember in college, all my friends who had engineering degrees always received larger salaries than the rest of us. They always had more beer money :-)Its a given no matter where you. But not all of us have those abilities, ie., good in math and science.

As for the detractor, I do not think English teachers are "rebels", as you say, sticking it to the man. We are just people who like or need travel in our lives to be happy. There is a bit of the old nomadic soul in most of us. We like living in foreign countries. Some of us like the experience of getting deep into a native culture, and living in the country is the only way to do so. They're are not a lot of jobs where you can do that, especially if you are not an engineer or working for an oil company.

I'm American, but I have always felt more at home abroad. Always. That does not make me a rebel. Just someone who loves living overseas.

Anonymous said...

I guess I must be one of those losers, if you call a loser someone who lives and works( ie: supports himself) in a tough second or third world country, learns the language, party's and shags women almost half his age(without paying for it, by the way), just basically having a fun and interesting life a loser, well then I'm a BIG LOSER, please all you detracters have pitty on my lost soul for not conforming to acceptable western standards of conduct for a middle age, bald, back sweating man.. Please forgive us for we know not what we do. Please forgive us, please forgive us....

Anonymous said...

I guess most of the detracters on this blog are not English Teachers living abroad, but sad lonely people who have nothing better to do than to troll blogs of people who are living more interesting lives than themselves......

Anonymous said...

With the exception of the maladjusted newbee whose TEFL dreams of being the Great White Hunter have been blown away while he sees his middle aged bald fuck collegues with balls banging the chicks at his school while he goes back to his rat infested school provided flat to jerk off and ask why????Then does a runner, goes back to Kmart, gets on these TEFL blogs and websites and slams the rest of us for doing what he wishes he could've, would've and should've done.....And I thought Gopnicks or Russian Nationalists were bad, but at least they have the balls to say it to your face if they don't like what you're doing, not go anonymously on some blog.... Are we seeing the downfall of western civilization? Is there some truth to Russia rising again??

Anonymous said...

You can't face it back home in the real world. You think you are James Dean with less hair and a belly. You think your a pioneer. You are not used to girls looking at you at all, let alone with doe-eyes.

If all of the above are correct....you should contact your local English First branch A.S.A.P...you my son, are an English Teacher!!

Anonymous said...

Are you poorly educated?

Do you like to image you are intelligent?

Do you self-medicate?

Do you sweat profusely?

Walk with a faint limp?

Enjoy the company of whores?

Experienced in living paycheck to paycheck?

Worked in KFC AND Burger-King?

Spend at least 4 hours per day online?

Have a small dick?

Have an enormous chip on your shouler?

Then there is only one job for you!

Contact the writer of this blog for more info.

Regards TGWJOYA (the guy who just owned your asses)

kiev said...

You guys can argue back and forth about reasons and circumstances, but having been in both worlds, in the office as an IT pro and in the classroom as a semi efficient English teacher, it seems to depend on the individual. Both situations can provide certain individuals with great pleasure and lifestyles.

It all boils down to who you are and only conflicts when your situation is based not on your passions but on a desire to achieve certain "somethings" from that situation. Many people I worked with love the "office" life because it allows them to practice what they are passionate about, while making a ton of money in the process. Mind you, there are plenty in the offices who hate it, but they like what it provides, a big paycheck. Many of the latter end up leaving the office environment and seeking happiness elsewhere, even English teaching abroad. Some get trapped in the office life they hate, as well as some English teachers get trapped in teaching only because they don’t wish to leave the country they love and teaching provides them with the only reasonable situation to stay. That is where all the distress comes from, because many of these English teachers want to stay in the certain country because their original home was not that they wished it to be, not for others around them, but just for them. They see this new country and lifestyle as "superior" because in comparison to their original situation it is.

I taught in Ukraine and had a lot of fun, and "boned" mad broads, but it was no different than the lifestyle I had back in Baltimore in the US. I wouldn't say I had more fun in either situation, but then again I had "something" to love about both of them.

Bottom line there are a lot of so called "losers" teaching English abroad, but that is based upon their original situation and now they have transformed their passions into a viable lifestyle they enjoy. There are always the bad eggs ruining the rep for others, trust me, I met many such teachers in Ukraine because they heard there was desperate sexy women here who will have sex with any western man, same with office life, people are lured there through money and subsequently give it a bad name. You can't go around hating on everyone else because of a few people who twist everything to the negative.

Hating on people and complaining about their lifestyle only goes to show how little you respect your own situation and probably means you need a change yourself.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

FUCK ME!

What boring mother fucker really thinks like that?

Life, something which you have obviously never experienced adequatly, is tough. It's not SUPPOSED to be enjoyed. It's hard, it's dark, it's miserable.....it's life.

Perhaps this refusal to see the world in the cold, harsh light of dawn; this flat out white-washing, is the common demoninator of boring old, withered, sagging, pussy-whipped cock-munchers everywhere.

Regards. TGWHYATYOAP.......................................now that is how you write people!

Anonymous said...

Man oh man. Are you the Weasely Old English Bastard? Your life really does suck. You make me sad. I suggest you put a gun to your head and paint the wall with your brains.

kiev said...

Yeah he does seem to be hauling a big load of regret in all his hating, perhaps he couldn't ass here or there =\

Anonymous said...

My only regret is that when I shit on your wife's face after anally raping her, it was nice and brown and solid, not runny and soft like she wanted.

Tell her I apologise.

Bunch of balding old fucks.

Anonymous said...

Im an office jockey making a killing at the moment. So lets see what my day consists of

1) Im up at 5:30AM to get my ass to the gym. You see, being a single these days requires more then just a decent personality to get laid. You need to be in shape, have lots of money, stay in a nice place, have game and a lot of patience to basically fuck average looking women (you leanr how average the women are here when you have travelled a bit)

2) Home by 7:00 to shower and hit the road. Traffic means its going to take me an hour to an hour and half to get in. Need my car because Im a consultant.

3) I spend the rest of my day doing crap that is pointless in the greater scheme of things. I have between 15-25 meetings a week, the majority of which are masturbation material for management. They are there to stoke the egos of the MBA's. Its all about the KPA's, and the ETA's, and the good job that HR did putting the last team building event together. Screw productivity, its all about looking busy and kissing the right asses.

To be honest, anyone who says they actually enjoy their jobs, IS A FUCKING RETARD. Anyone who enjoys the repetitive nature of work, the stress, the idiots you have to work with, etc = braindead brain washed tosspot

4) I work with people I absolutly despise, so I fill the rest of my day surfing the internet (like everyone else) or by taking 3 hour lunch breaks. Its too dangerous career wise to get close to people. Ambition = knife in your back when they need the one up.

5) My day finishes at 7PM. I stay later at work because I miss traffic and despite the fact that I am only productive maybe 2 hours a day, its better to stay later because it creates a good impression. This is good for your KPA's

6) I go home to cook for the next day and do a few chores. After all, need to eat six times a day to maintain the washboard abs and 18 inch guns. The fatties love em.

7) I watch TV or read a little before I hit the sack at about 10:00.

Thats my Monday to Thursday. I see my family once a week for dinner on a friday night. The most important people in the world to me get a whopping 6 hours of my time a week.

Saturdays are spent doing shit like shopping and chores that cant get done during the week. Its amazing how much shit I own. I got furniture, toys, gadgets. Pointless really, but you need a nice place for when you get to fuck one of the fatties.

Im out on a saturday night with my mates. That normally becomes nothing more then a piss up and an attempt to fuck one of the fatties. Im ready for that jelly. Sunday I play golf. Sunday night I start preparing for the next week.

An entire week consists of doing something I hate non stop for everything but my round of golf, dinner with my folks and a sessions with my friends.

Living the dream. Just another yob paying a fortune in taxes, paying a fortune for furniture and toys he never uses, stress levels so high my blood pressure is now high enough to require medication (Im 29), doing a job that I hate with people I cant stand all so I can earn a shitload of money.

My retirement fund is looking good and I own property. Lets hope that I dont have to give half of it to the man hating fatty that thinks Im worthy of marriage. If she does not get it, my kids should inherit it when I die of a heart attack at 50.

But hey, I got 15 days leave to look forward to this year. And I got a big screen TV. The Fatty next door has also been making eyes at me.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

I don't really understand that post? Why is some suicidal, overworked 29 year old pussy posting about his job?

UNLESS it is X yet again. Hell...I am probably X as well.

Deep huh?

Anonymous said...

That post pretty much sums up college-educated life in America. Well said. You're old by 30. It happens to all of us who are apart of this system. Most just do not want to admit it.

The US is an air conditioned nightmare ...