Saturday, April 16, 2016

TEFLpocolypse 2016: Yes is the New Maybe

After I got turned down for a job in the UAE last April, I put in applications for some colleges in the Kingdom, including the one I had first worked at. (I had been assured, when I left, that I could return any time.)

I was confronted with a bold new world of application portals, in which I had to upload photocopies of all my documents and references BEFORE the application would be processed. 

And still I heard nothing. 

Than I took this job last August. (All it took was two interviews, a psychological test, an offer that was rescinded at the last minute, a security clearance, and then an offer that was contingent on me starting in a few days.) This job always seemed temporary to me though -- at the moment we have 34 teachers and 57 students, the rest having been sent home -- so I felt I should find something solid for September 2016.

As October and November rolled around, I got requests for interviews from two colleges in the Kingdom.

Both told me that I had passed the interview and they would submit my application for approval. My former boss at my first job was very happy to hear from me, as they had just opened a new building and desperately needed more teachers. 

My papers were submitted to various bureaucratic bodies for approval. 

I breathed a sigh of relief. The three months of paid holiday beckoned.

Since then?  

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. 

My first boss wanted me for January 2016, although he said knew they probably wouldn't be able to finish everything in that time frame. 

The second manager in the Kingdom wanted me for September 2016, but warned me that it had taken EIGHTEEN months to process the last applicant. 

So here I sit, still with no official job offer for September 2016. In the Kingdom, the job offer is only the beginning; then it takes another couple months to get the contract, and then another couple months to get all your documents verified and get the visa. So Kingdom in September is probably out. 

The terrifying new world of TEFL -- even when you get a job, you don't get a job.

Now of course, it's quite possible, given the low price of oil, that both those colleges had their hiring budgets cut. I'm considering trying China again. Loyal readers will recall new rules about document verification prevented me from verifying my DELTA and taking a job there last year. Any news from readers on that issue?  

Crazy Bob, drowning in debt in the UAE, has an idea for us -- he suggests taking a military contracting job teaching English to local soldiers and ground crew at forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

Now that would be a good book, I bet, right? 


Anonymous said...

Hey X. Enjoyed reading your latest slew of contemplative (if somewhat melancholy) posts.

Vaguely I recall a prior X post where readers were tasked with selecting your next job, and I believe your loyal readership decided on (at least as #2?) a location-primary choice where you would theoretically live off ebook earnings with perhaps an "official" side teaching job (university or corporate) to keep a visa and maintain a credible resume story. Somewhere like Bangkok, Prague, Costa Rica, Cyprus etc. All localews would be girlfriend-visa friendly, travel hubs, local babe options galore, etc. That was my vote then, and it's my vote now. The blogosphere surely knows best, ha. You've got cash in the bank - enough to always head back to America and Survive - and could effortlessly work up to $2k/month in income solely on what you've got in place now (plus $500 a month from the work visa gig). That's an entry-level upper class income in all but the ritziest corners of Thailand.

"Students of Bangkok Women's College, I'm pleased to announce our new Visiting Scholar from Texas, ESL Professor X!". Cheers and giggles. Inappropriate relations & subsequently published ebooks pertaining to same to follow. Vacation escapes with She-Would-Never-Cheat-On-Me from Russia. That kind of deal.

As a caveat, I respect the choice to spend time with your father. I'm sure he wants you to also be (relatively) happy. Most of that is biologically pre-determined but a moving 10% can be adjusted... and like most things, I propose it comes down to location, location, location.

Personally I'd try to gradually move away from the porn genre (gradually! it's an earner) and get into other markets. You know how it damages the brain from a prior posting. Just my 2 cents.

Of course, now that the ruble has declined so much, you might consider another jaunt in Russia. If you are truly/madly inseparable from GF and she won't budge, you could always write ebooks from Vodkaberg with love. As a respectably aging Eastern patriarch, it would be perfectly understandable and perhaps even expected to dabble on the side with the occasional fling. You know we readers hope and expect that from our anti-hero, lol.

Just remember that a slew of psychological tests show men in their 40s are at their least happy stage. Supposedly it gets better in 50s, peaks in 60s and 70s, and then gets worse again in 80s (if still breathing). It gets better from here! Sigh.

Lastly, I suggest Crazy Bob consider some type of bankruptcy scheme if he is drowning in credit card debt. That's what Wall Street would do!

Best wishes & peace out.

Anonymous said...

Move to Thailand...then you can make all kinds of interesting posts about fucking whores and whatnot.

Unknown said...

Don't move to Thailand, it's overrun with something called 'Digital Nomads' - akin to scabies, I believe.

Anonymous said...

I've actually read men in the 40s are the happiest. That is married men with kids and stay at home wives.

Less happy is supposed to be late-30s woman with lowpaying jobs and no kids.

Can you leave your dad and move abroad? How long can this long-distance thing with the gf go on for? Hasn't it been years? Does she want to marry? Do you not care either way?

Ken said...

ETX ~ China is still a cluster fuck, many of the state schools don't recognise anything but the shitty 120hour TEFL certificates. PGCE? What's that? State teaching licence? What's that? MEd education and 10 years of education? What's that?

On top of that I'm seeing many many MANY returnees from China. Essentially it's a buyers market so there is a massive massive oversupply which means wages haven't moved in ten years.

If you're looking you want to look at partnership colleges (when I say that I mean 6th form college as in UK style 16-19). Where a UK college opens a campus somewhere in Asia. Tough jobs to get but Western wages in China.

MA and lots of prior teaching experience required of course.

The illegal route shouldn't be considered at all! Many but not all of those returnees I mention above are deportees.

English Teacher X said...

The only problem with getting a "cheap" job and supplementing my income with e-book earnings are that "cheap" jobs usualy require 30 hours of classtime a week, many of them don't provide a visa, and they usually have no paid (or little) paid vacation time.

University or international school positions might be an option but I suppose I'll have to tweak my qualifications for that.

Girlfriend hated Thailand; I've offered to move us there several times, including last April. Just for the readers, my next post will be about whores there.

English Teacher X said...

I forgot to clarify: the three months of vacation time would be so that I can come visit my father more often.

And of course I'd be lying if seeing how expensive retirement is for my father hasn't somewhat terrified me about money. My huge Saudi-savings windfall would last me about five years in a US retirement home.

Anonymous said...

X, don't you mean it would last you 5 years without social security? If you factor in SS, you'd probably be okay with your current savings. At least based on what you told us about your father's expenses. Anyhow, good luck to you going forward.

English Teacher X said...

yeah, if I had any social security. I have very little.

Anonymous said...

Hey X, absolutely right on the side-gig issue. University jobs are possible once you complete the Masters; the international high school gigs (2nd and 3rd tier) can open up if you get a U.S. credential from taking a lateral entry test.

I know folks who have state teaching licenses (provisional) from taking a couple of tests like the PRAXIS online. I think Florida and South Carolina (?) have this option. The license will only be good for your "qualified" area (college major or significant credit hours on transcript) but lower-tiered schools aren't so picky about subject expertise. For example, you can get a license in middle school history but teach high school ESL. But yeah, most of the international schools will require significant class hours. You know the deal from Korea. And forget the top-tier schools with an Internet-based license and no US K-12 experience.

@GF not liking Bangkok, understandable. How about a university gig somewhere cheap (relatively) in Europe that will issue her a visa? Or Singapore, Malaysia, etc.? She might even like Shanghai, or a place with a large Russian population like Harbin or Shenyang.

Personally I would not choose to live in Vodkaberg at this stage in life either. It's starting to sound just like Texas over there, just with moderately hotter women (and a population that is increasing anti-American). I hazard to suggest that if you went to a place like Vberg again in a single status, you'd not maintain that status for long (assuming that's what you want).

Re money for retirement care... the sad truth is, you can never have enough. Depending on health issues, if you are self-financing, even a million bucks is not gonna last you more than a few years in a nice assisted-living place. Basically, you either have to go RICH (say 2mil in bank+) or BROKE ($5k or less monthly cash flow with no savings) to come out ahead in the dying-old-man game. If you end up in a home that costs $10k a month, need another $1k for prescription drugs, more for medicare "gap" coverage (and that shit won't kick in until age 75 if Republicans have their way), not to mention rent, food, subsidies to your kids, and the occasional Russian escort, is a $400k nest egg really going to make a significant difference versus $200k? I suppose if we time it just right and die when the money runs out, we win. More likely, we will exhaust our savings and then get shifted to Medicaid. That covers the "entry-level" nursing homes that get investigated every few years by 60 Minutes.

For younger folks, I'm not suggested that savings don't matter - high interest debt kills your credit, then your job prospects, then your SMV/spouse-finding prospects, and house-buying prospects. But at some point I think we need to balance things out. Personally, I don't think it's worth ruining your middle decades just to make the last few years a little fancier. Just my perspective.

Life happens when you're busy making other plans. A giant nest egg can get wiped out via alimony, a health crisis, governmental siezure, etc. at any time. Having a basic "homestead" available (protected even in bankruptcy) plus a good potential/dependable income stream counts as a huge success in my opinion.

I think you've done well so far in this life, X. All things considered. If you need to amass more cash for a specific goal (like buying an apartment in CityX that GF approves) another jaunt in the sandbox makes sense (not that you need to listen to me, lol). But if it will make you miserable, I suggest moving to a place that will make you moderately less miserable (even happy?). Understanding the dad situation affects all this stuff and only you know what's best from that perspective.

As my anonymous bro implied, qualifying for social security may also be important. There are ways to do this online (and via home business) but that's a boring topic. I'd rather read your upcoming Thai whore stories. Sigh.

English Teacher X said...

As regards Crazy Bob declaring bankruptcy -- they don't have bankruptcy in the UAE, they have debtors prison.

Lawrence said...

Kazakhstan has fair conditions in the Intellectual Schools. the south is very nice good weather beautiful countryside. Avoid Astana if you can, its a weird place sterile, soulless and the winter is a real horror, but the jobs at Nazarbayev University are very well paid. Almaty is a fab city and I would return there if a good job came up. haven't seen any that pay well though. Karaganda is fun and cheap to live there, Atyrau is awful but some decent jobs in Oil industry training.
BAE in Saudi sounds like a terrible place to work now, just too many hours turnover is huge.....
Aramco are hiring again now for Sept, and its ok if you are near the causeway and can commute to Bahrain every day.
My job in the UAE pays very well (enough for the house build in Issan) but no hiring going on. Schools are hiring but seem to take mainly Irish for some weird reason. Irish and Canadians.
Good luck wish you well with your Father.

Anonymous said...

If you are worried about retirement savings, then you didn't really take the time to read and explore the previous message that I took time to write and send in regard to it (specifically about paying out extra for your father). In fact, I think you erased it.

Out of respect for the laughs that you gave me over the years, I'll write it again:

Just have enough savings to plan to initially get accepted into a non-profit home. Check State laws. Once in, assuming that the State has modern protections in place, they can't / won't kick you out once you run out of money.

The next thing that you can do, if you don't want to save at all, is but long term care insurance. Unless you need round the clock nursing care (only really sick people generally do) it should be enough without savings. But, again, if you were to go into a non-profit home they would not kick you out once accepted - even in nursing care. But you would need to get accepted. just be sure to go in before you would need 24/7 nursing care. My grandparents could have gone in 15 years before they eventually did. Instead, they stayed in retirement apartments. Assisted living would have been a much better option, earlier. Long term care insurance is something that you should start looking into at your age. The earlier that you get it, the cheaper it is.

English Teacher X said...

I don't know what state you lived in but I'm guessing maybe one of the ones with good social system like Washington State or California. Unless I'm drastically missing something, out here in the Midwest, the only "not-for-profit" places are the ones that accept Medicaid, which my dad makes too much money to qualify for. From what I've heard, and seen with my own Alzheimer's-stricked grandmother, the Medicaid places are pretty grim.