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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai, my job, and babymaking

I don't think I could ever get bored with life. There's just too much going on.

For a start, there's events in the news. I don't follow the news religiously, but I have recently subscribed to the Guardian feed on my iPhone - I scroll through the headlines on my way home to keep abreast of world events that my students may refer to. It's not entertainment, but it does push me into a different space, changes the context within which I live. Things today are different from how they were yesterday.

I'm finding it difficult to put the horrific events in Mumbai into context, as I have not known this sort of thing before outside of Hollywood movies.

Then there's Bangkok airport, temporary home to my friends Catherine, Stew and Annie. They tell me they're safe at least, which is a relief. My brother-in-law, Leigh, who lives here in Japan is also stuck out there - I reckon he's secretly happy to be able to extend his business trip into a holiday (Leigh is quite an inspiration for me, having come here a few years back for the first time with nothing, and having established his own successful football academy has now created a second company that is contracted by Nike to provide coaching clinics throughout Japan).

A meeting was held at work today. There are big changes afoot in our office. The departure of a fairly central employee has prompted a major overhaul of the way the business is run. Whilst I was initially hired to search for / interview / place new teachers, it's now been decided that my 'talents' are needed elsewhere. Whilst initially surprised as the announcement, I soon realised that this was a very good thing.

My new roles suit me down to the ground. I have several.

The first is teaching English over the phone. As as far as I know we are almost unique within the industry for offering this service. Whilst it can be quite exhausting (8 students per hour) I find it pretty enjoyable - it helps me practice my communication skills - I get to play the game "How quickly can I suss this person out and connect with them?". I feel really good when it's clear the students have enjoyed talking with me.

My second role is that of The Cleaner. We're not talking dusty shelves or dirty carpets (a little old lady comes in everyday to do that. She always asks me if I've got over the cold I had last month), we're talking stripping down and cleaning out the old systems/ workflows, and rebuilding them using a lean model. We're talking clearing out data archives, transferring operations currently carried out manually / using real paper to semi-automatic self-cleaning databases.

I love this kind of thing. It's kind of funny, but at the same time sort of expected that a job be created especially for me that involves my doing what I love.

My third role, and this one's a little more long term, is to revolutionise our web presence. We need to embrace mobile platforms, need to harness the power of these new technologies that will allow students to study wherever they happen to be - I can't help but think how effective iAnki is in giving me the freedom to fit study in with my everyday routine, with no significant additional impact upon my schedule (it's really working by the way. Amazing program).

I find this all very exciting - I'm going to get paid to learn about and experiment with new systems that I have a natural interest in already. The only difficulty is in fitting all this in - there's only so many hours in the day. Thus, I've been given the go ahead to work overtime whenever I wish too, paid at overtime rate. This is great, just what we need as we save up more money to move house. I'll start tomorrow.

This evening I met up with a bunch of boy-mates for a 'boys night out'. All eight of us have Japanese wives. Except for me, everyone had been married for several years.

At one point the conversation turned to baby-making. "Oh no, you're not having to go through that are you..?" said one boymate to another. "You're lucky" they said to me. Sex is still for fun for you, right? For us, it's just a job, only to be done when the wife is 'on heat'."

It all sounded a bit mechanical.

I wondered if that would be *Twinkle* and I in 2 years. I hoped not.

Anyway, it's now 1.15am. I need to get these photos processed before work tomorrow. TTFN

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4 Comments:

Blogger Orchid64 said...

I hope one of the changes will be with the crappy student database. It'd be great if it could be accessed remotely.

I also hope this isn't bad news for me - that is, I hope reports will still be farmed out my way. I was sort of counting on the extra money.

29/11/08 08:57  
Blogger Joseph said...

I was just talking to to Mr. D about the remote access thing yesterday - something else for me to look into.

Mr. D and I are pushing for the reports to go to you. I'll ask him to talk to Ms. T and get back to you.

29/11/08 09:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eight Westerners with Japanese wives...hmmmmmm. Not sure there are many other countries in the world you would witness this kind of phenomenon...(countdown to outraged gaijin backlash...5, 4, 3, 2, 1...)

Anyway.

So, the job you were forced into through lack of funds turns out to be your dream job after all. Well, that is convenient isn't it? Here was I thinking you'd sacrificed all your "don't do a job just for the money, be your own boss!" stuff and were actually joining the rest of us "plebs" in the real world. However, it seems you have had the last laugh and (although you'd never professed any real interest in teaching until six months ago when the realities of life in Japan hit) turns out you actually love teaching!

But seriously, glad you're enjoying the work...could've been a real grind if you didn't but you seem to have taken to it like a duck to water, which is cool. Anyway, sounds like you're getting along just fine Joseph, nice one,

Yours cynically,

Anonymous

30/11/08 03:54  
Blogger Joseph said...

Anonymous, hisashiburi desu ne... How I have missed your cynicism!

I wouldn't exactly say I was 'forced' into this job by a lack of funds. Now if I had ended up working for GABA (who had actually offered me a contract) then perhaps that would have been the case, but this job was more the result of a natural series of events sparked by my writing about my situation on the Mumble.

I must admit I did hesitate initially when offered this job - having worked for the same company 6 years ago I was reluctant to find myself going back in time ...but had this feeling that taking the job was the 'right' thing to do, for whatever reason - there were forces at play that I didn't (and wasn't supposed to) understand.

A part of me is pretty surprised at how right everything has worked out, but then another part of me is saying, "of course it's worked out perfectly!"

Whilst I do enjoy teaching, I know it's not my forte. Thus, I'm pretty happy with the balance I have - a bit of teaching, and then quite a bit of time (and freedom) to be creative and use my brain to find solutions to various issues. And work on my Japanese.

I think this having faith, thinking positively and using intuition experiment is yielding pretty positive results.

If you ever get bored of cynicism I recommend you try it - although I'd be grateful if you kept up the cynicism around here at least, I've found it really useful.

Hope all's good for you, wherever (and whoever!) you might be.

30/11/08 14:48  

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