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Job Transitions as an ALT

Updated: Mar 20, 2022

The thing about being an ALT in Japan is that most jobs will always be contracts, and year in, year out - you will need to deal with the possibility of not having work at the very last minute.

No matter how well you plan, or how much you try to job search - there is always something that could happen. Your new employer's promise might fall through. Or maybe your current company had not disclosed that they had no work for you, and had not thought to tell you until two weeks before contract renewal. Maybe even, you just saw red flags in the new company you're about to join and decide it's best to pull the plug before it even starts.

It's tough.

I remember when I used to work for Dispatch Company and would always worry whether or not my current placement would still be available.

The thing is, if you are a good ALT, your dispatch company has no reason to not renew your contract. If your current city does not use your dispatch company's services (thus sending you off without a job), your dispatch company will absolutely do its best to find you a different city within reason.

But the thought of having to move, and leaving your current city and not really knowing 100% if your work situation will stay the same or not can be frustrating. Especially when you didn't even think it's possible that it COULD be happening.

My first contract was very clear cut that no one (absolutely no one) will be staying in that city come April, and dispatch company will do its due diligence to find other placements for us. But most of the time, we all assume otherwise that it's a given - though its not. Your contract is highly dependent on whether that city's Board of Education wants to continue its relationship with your current dispatch company or use an entirely different one altogether.

This information might not be disclosed until your last month of work.

Once you find out (if you even do), then it's a scramble to find a different city for you to work in. Then you need to figure out if you need to move and find a new apartment, because new city is too far. Or, do you try to find work elsewhere and stay in your city? Is there even work in your city this late in the year? Do you even have extra cash for the move? What about your friends?

It is an absolute nightmare.

Now that I'm in between job transitions (my 5 years at my current school is finally up) - and thank goodness it's not dispatch - I'm reflecting on all the times I had to go through with all these uncertainties.

Though, I suppose I should not speak so soon... after all, there's still one month of this transition for me for all this to go wrong.

But let's hope not.

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