Thursday, July 09, 2015

TEFLpocalypse Now!

Of course I wrote a whole 1/3 of a book about my last job in the Kingdom -- an extremely highly-paid but otherwise pretty wretched position in the English language training center of a huge company.

I left out of general malaise with my life, a fear of the "golden handcuffs" holding me in place in that hellhole far past any real need for cash. (As mentioned in my last memoir, it was nearly $8000 a month.)

Really kind of stupid of me, in retrospect. 

Talking with a former colleague, they're not renewing the contracts of about a dozen guys that arrived the same time as me. They're completely cleaning house, not just getting rid of contractors, but of actual "direct-hire" employees, also. 

I should have stayed on that money train to the end, because they always derail pretty quickly, in TEFL.

Most of them were older guys, in their 40s and 50s, hoping to mine that mother lode until they retired. Some of them put down payments on houses in various countries, that kind of thing. Most of them had been assured by their contractors that they could be relatively confident they had a sold job for some time and contracts would be renewed pretty automatically. 

Whether it's the low price of oil, continuing political upheaval and change in the Middle East, or something else, nobody knows. Most likely it's just a "bubble" effect -- the massive amounts of money for hiring that were pumped into the company (and the country) following the Arab Spring of 2011 are starting to dissipate.

They only got a month's notice, most of them. At the beginning of July they were informed they would be unemployed at the beginning of August. A month to settle their affairs, sell their cars and stuff, and get gone. 

Now they'll be out there busting their asses looking for work with the rest of us middle-aged guys ...

Read more adventures in the Middle East in REQUIEM FOR A VAGABOND

Get it HERE on Amazon as an e-book
Get it HERE on Createspace as a paperback

And as a special free gift for TEFLpocolypse 2015, GRAMMAR SLAMMER 
will be FREE for the next five days. 
Get it HERE on Amazon FREE as an e-book
Buy it now, and use the grammar explanations at interviews to cover up for the gaps in your employment history. 


Chris said...

I know that it isn't your first location choice, but seeing that you'd seemingly suffer the sandbox I guess that the following is a rational notion if you do decide to stick with TEFL.

It makes sense that any 'money trains' would coincide with high demand and a high average GDP per capita, relatively speaking. I got the impression that the Saudi money train was less organic demand and more subsidized by the government. Thus, it is/was likely inherently unstable. When I think of markets that meet my aforementioned conditions, I think of North Asia - specifically Japan and South Korea.

I think that Japan is nicer, but it is more expensive and the overall demand for TEFL is a bit less rabid than in South Korea. Though, I think one can make it there and you can work in jobs, even on a whim, outside of TEFL if you wish. Personally, I love Japan.

However, the more sure economic opportunity, outside of opening a school that gets street traffic in Shibuya perhaps, is in South Korea. But it depends on getting a Visa that would allow you to run your own business, likely in tutoring kids. If you could get that Visa, I've heard that 80k is very doable and consistent. Before, the strategy was to marry a Korean for the visa. I'd look into it and see if that has changed. Though, again, I'd prefer Japan overall. I promised myself that I'd never live anywhere just for the money again, and I made that promise to myself in the ROK. I cannot imagine that it isn't better than the sandbox though, minus the winter cold.

englishteacherx said...

i always wanted to work in Japan, but the salaries that I saw advertised seeemed to be pretty dismal, in the $2000 - $2500 a month range, often without accomodation. That's got to be pretty lame considering it's not a country known for being affordable.

Ken said...

ETX my sister works in Japan the one I mentioned here. Same qualifications as you but she has an MA TESOL and a lot of published research in reputable journals.

She makes 480,000Yen which is just shy of $3600 a month and has a subbded apartment.

Thing is though if she worked in the UK she'd be making at least £3500 a month which rises quickly.

Japan has generally been known for crappy salaries of educators at all levels.

englishteacherx said...

Where would somebody make that much money in England teaching TEFL? At universities?

Ken said...

Nah in the UK anything above e3 stops being called TEFL. L1/L2 is more literacy. Above this it is academic study skills.

The trick is to get away from the teaching as much as possible. For instance the grunts who do the 22hours teaching might get £25K. But take on management roles like HoD, pathway leader and other bullshit assorted job titles and your pay starts hitting mid £30K bracket.

There are also PGCE trainers, also heads of departments for PGCE trainers. Pathway leaders etc.

As you go higher of course you get less contact with students and more research, management and paperwork.

Anonymous said...

We'd be glad to have you in Japan, ETX. But, as you noted above, the pay is not so great. Some of the entry level salaries I've seen advertised here recently are really terrible -- even lower than the $2,000-$2,500 you quoted. Coming in mid-career is also a bit of a pain in the ass. In that case, universities and business classes would be your best bet money wise. But I'm sure I don't need to tell you, such jobs are not going to people just off the plane.

Lakybel said...

ETX, Saudi, KSA is a good choice for making some money than Japan.
But in Japon you will see a new world, Poeple who like inventor.
In Saudi, I guess you will never see nothing new