Saturday, October 11, 2008

List of the Month - 10 jobs I don't have

My employment situation does appear to be uncommonly bleak just at the moment. In September, I was "in discussions" about a lot of projects that looked quite promising, but...... well, my contacts have gone ominously silent on me. All of them.

A somewhat maudlin list of the month, then. Forgive me.

10 jobs I thought I was going to be doing this month

1) Training co-ordinator for a major international advertising agency
(I got a personal introduction through a friend who works there. The preliminary meeting seemed to go swimmingly. And then...... SILENCE.)

2) Training co-ordinator for a major international engineering consultancy
(That gig was supposed to have been starting this week, but...... well, allegedly they're waiting on budget approval from the head office in the UK.)

3) Training co-ordinator for an American software firm
(Again, "budget problems" are cited. This one is particularly galling, because I have devoted a lot of time and effort to cultivating this client, and had already done some very successful preliminary trainings for them. The idea was that they were going to invest so heavily in English training for their Chinese engineering staff that I would be able to make a comfortable income just from liaising, supervising, choosing teachers and materials, and generally co-ordinating the process - and not have to do any of the goddamn teaching myself. This is my Holy Grail - if I stay in the education field at all! - but it remains maddeningly elusive.)

4) Teaching a Business English course for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
(I have friends at CASS, and they have been a fairly regular - if not terribly reliable or well-organised - employer of mine for the past 5 years. A few weeks ago - with teachers still in short supply here, thanks to the Olympic visa fiasco - they were desperate to staff their autumn courses. But they haven't got back to me.......)

5) Teaching a Legal English course at Beijing Foreign Studies University
(Might still happen - this one is rather my fault, for not following up promptly or eagerly enough with the contact there.)

6) Writing/editing a new listening practice textbook
(One of my contacts from the recording studios set me up with this a couple of months ago, but...... they've been "too busy" with other stuff to get started on the project, and I'm beginning to doubt if it will ever happen.)

7) Recruitment consultant
(I was working over the summer to try and find some well-qualified English teachers for a number of schools and universities around China that I've developed contacts with. It was such a busy and potentially lucrative field, that I was considering trying to move into it full-time. Alas, the visa situation has been a huge obstacle this year. Many institutions had to get by on recruiting from amongst the small pool of teachers who'd been able to remain in the country. Many apparently decided to begin the new teaching year with a vastly reduced foreign staff. And I rather think that one school has hired a number of people I introduced to them, but is just not going to pay me the promised finder's fee. A messy and frustrating business - I'm probably better off keeping out of it.)

8) Recording listening practice exams
(This has been my bread&butter for the past 3 years or so, and I had thought I was becoming established as the most in-demand British English male voice. And a couple of the studios had told me that this month was going to be "very busy indeed". But the telephone remains silent.....)

9) Film star
(I've told this story before. The project we'd been discussing was supposed to have been a three-week shoot, starting at the end of September and running on to around about now. I had been promised a meeting with the director a month ago, but it never happened. I tried chasing up the production assistant I'd met, but she didn't answer any of my calls or respond to my text messages. I probably talked myself out of consideration with my rather obvious lack of enthusiasm in that first meeting.....)

10) Travel writer
(This doesn't sound all that promising: negligible pay, and a rather uncertain promise of 'full reimbursement' of expenses. Nevertheless, it would be an interesting new departure for me, so I've put in an enquiry. I'm waiting to hear back. Waiting......)

Yep, I originally said there were going to be 10 items on this list. Then I ran out of steam a bit, and called it a day at 8. Then I remembered these last two. There are actually a couple more as well, new editing job prospects that look to be going nowhere. I fear I am staring into the abyss rather. Starting to wonder if it isn't time to try out a new country......


Tony said...

If you move to a nearby country you may find better job prospects but you will not get away from the inability to express a negative.
You proably know that the Japanese have two quite separate modes of converse, tatemae and honne, depending on whether you want to be polite (normal)or blunt (very rare).
The DPR Koreans are even worse. I was once involved in organising an event in Pyongyang and came to realise that no-one there could ever say "no". Asked if something would be done, they would answer "yes", meaning "yes", or "I hear what you say", meaning "no".
As you found in China, no-one will ever say anything you might not like, and they get upset if pressed.

Froog said...

Yes, it is frustrating. One tries to appreciate it as "cultural difference", to find it quaint and charming - but a lot of the time it's evasive or obstructive, and it's a pain in the arse.

Froog said...

As someone pointed out to me last night, "You stay here 5 or 6 years, and you find you've pissed everybody off."

I may have reached that stage.