My name is 某 – you can call me Bō – and I work in a relatively small town in the Tohoku area where I teach as an ALT at one elementary and one junior high school three days out of the week and perform various managerial and administrative affairs in City Hall for the remaining two. I’ve been working in my town for almost a full 8 years: I started out as a JET for five years, was hired on as a private ALT in my 6th year, and was eventually promoted this last year once again where I started working in city hall. I’m married with two kids, just moved into a new apartment last summer and things had been looking up. I really thought that this was going to be the safe career track for me. I dreamt of becoming a bona fide public official – someone who didn’t have to worry about whether or not they were going to be hired for the next year. To be honest, I was feeling pretty confident about my future until I recently got it into my head that I could make more money doing any other job. Well, maybe not any other job, but a lot of other jobs.
I make about 33 thousand dollars a year. I’m not doing terrible by a lot of standards, but for the past couple of years I’ve had to sit and watch nervously as the savings I had managed to build up before getting married slowly dwindle into nothing. I’ve had promises of higher pay and a permanent contract, but looking at how much a lot of the other public officials I work with make, I know that I shouldn’t expect much. Especially not as I sit here at the literal bottom of my workplace’s totem pole.
So I’ve decided to move on.
My deadline is July 2017. Whatever happens, I will quit my job. It’s almost a 100% given that I will be moving back to America with my family – something I never thought would happen – and now I have to figure out what kind of work I’m qualified for when the time finally arrives to begin the job hunt in earnest.
I have one year. This blog is about that journey.