So, my current job is ending in July. That doesn’t leave me too much time to figure out what’s next. After today, at least, I have a clearer idea.
The Jet Program holds a conference in Tokyo for any Jet participants who are leaving that year. so three of us from up in Fukushima drove down together yesterday (wednesday) after work. We got to the hotel around 10 or so, but that was fine.
Today, conference started with opening ceremony and a keynote speaker. The keynote speaker, named Ryan Paugh, talked a lot about not focusing on the final goal,but rather what was the next one or two steps that you wanted to accomplish. The only thing that didn’t seem like good advice was when someone mentioned that not everyone has the financial capabilities to not work for a year or two like he did, and he kinda implied that he thought that everyone did.
After lunch, there were three blocks where you got to choose which panel to go to. First I went to Careers in Travel and Tourism, then I sat through the beginning and end of Careers in Translation and Interpretation. Not the middle, because in the middle, there was an opportunity for a one on one consultation. And I ended up getting a consultation with Mr. Paugh, the keyno speaker. I felt like I talked too much, of course. But Mr. Paugh did help. He helped me get a clearer idea of where I really want to be long term. I had already known, a bit.
One thing I told him was that being an ALT was a job that I’d never once dreaded going to. Dreaded getting up early for, certainly. Had some days where I thought it was a pity I couldn’t be outside because it was so nice out. But dreaded the job itself? Not once in the past two and a half years. He seemed surprised, and looked at me and said, “That’s not a job. That’s the job.” And that that was most people’s goal, to find a job like that.
Another thing I told him, when he asked, was that, ideally, I’d find a job where I could spend half the year in Japan, and half in America. Barring that,next best would be something where I could go back to America to see my family at least twice a year. And when I said that I knew the next two years would likely be the same (assuming I find a job in Japan for after JET) he told me to remember that I could ask if wherever I was working could be more flexible. They might not know me now, but after I’d worked there for a year or two, they might be willing to compromise.
An interesting question he asked was “If there was nothing else to consider, where would you want to live?” Not counting family? When I confirmed he meant straight up just place, I had an immediate answer. “Japan.”
And he said he could tell that I was passionate about Japan from how I’d talked about it so far. And in that, I think I had my ultimate answer to where did I want to live. The next problem to solve is just how to better keep in touch/ see family and friends back in America…
After the consultation was one more workshops. I didn’t like that one as much as the other ones. It felt a bit off topic from what it was supposed to be, so I zoned out a little. I did like the networking time when all the speakers from the day gathered in a room and you could go over to them and ask them any questions. (Well, the guidebook had what topics they would know about).
I ended up talking mostly with a university teacher (was one of several people that had come to talk to him) and a topic he was passionate about was grad school and getting a master’s. I hadn’t gone to his presentation, but I wished I had. Grad school is something I’ve considered before, but always dismissed because of expense. But now, I think I want to take a look at it again, see if there’s a way to do it. I’d get it in ESL or a related topic… It sounds like being a university teacher could be fun. Since I want to be an ALT for two more years, if I can find a job, perhaps I can either start online classes at the same time, or just keep putting aside money and maybe I’ll have enough by the end of that time.
Tomorrow is a career fair, so we’ll see how that goes. But overall, I do think it was worth it to come to this conference.