I hope I can give you some advice before going into a new venture this year in 2020

Jan 01 '20 Beltran 1082 clicks share

Happy New Year Dear to those who are Teachers!

I hope you're having an awesome time with your work!

I know that y'all are doing your best to provide the quality teaching that only you can give.

And here's the thing...

2020 will have lots things in store for everyone.

So I hope I can give you some advice before going into a new venture this year.

Now, this might sound unsolicited. But I think that the following can benefit from this. It could be...

... the newbie ESL teacher finding the right job or gig to help him or her get cash

... teachers going from one ESL company to another

What's that advice?

COUNT THE COST

Let me tell you a story...

A friend of mine, let's call her Jane, wanted to start working as a home based ESL teacher. She's a single mom who just left her call center job to try working from home.

After all, she saw those ads telling her that working from home for this and that company can help her...

EARN BIG

WORK AT HOME

HAVE MORE TIME WITH FAMILY

One of her friends found out about her desire to work for an ESL company. And as luck would have it, this friend works for one! This friend told Jane to apply for this company (NOTE: THIS FRIEND GETS A REFERRAL FEE FOR SUCCESSFULLY INVITING ANOTHER TEACHER INTO THEIR COMPANY).

The rates were relatively low. But Jane was happy for simply being able to work from home and stay with her kid.

But sooner or later, the work situation became stressful for Jane...

Jane realized that she has to work more than 40 hours a week to get a comfortable cash flow that would help her and her kid survive. This has left her exhausted and barely able to take care of her child. Worse, she now tends to snap at her kid because she's stressed and exhausted.

The company she applied for also required her to buy things that would ensure that she work even in bad weather and power outages. She had to buy a generator, backup internet connection, and other paraphernalia that was supposed to help her continue her classes even in inclement weather.

Also, the company gave massive deductions whenever she can't attend classes.

Then the unthinkable happened...

There was a HUUUUGE TYPHOON that devastated her town. There were also power outages. And the generator and backup internet she bought wasn't enough to cover the classes she's supposed to teach. She wasn't able to have a class for nearly a week! With a sense of foreboding and disappointment, she watched the company deduct massive amounts from her salary.

She tried to appeal to what she thought was the good nature of the company. Alas, this company was only concerned about the bottom line. For them, even if there are circumstances beyond the teacher's control, it's always the teacher's fault when they missed the class.

Now...

Imagine you being swapped in the position of Jane. What could you have done better?

Heck, you can curse the company for their draconian policies to high heavens. But would that make a dent? I doubt it. They would still go on their merry way penalizing teachers like Jane.

Instead, you'd be better off when you...

COUNT THE COSTS

But how do you do that?

Understand, that getting a job, any job, will be incurring costs on you.

Sure, they will compensate you (too bad it's often measly). But if you don't look at the time, money, and effort that you give out to work for companies, then you might as well be wasting your precious and limited resources.

Imagine if Jane only looked and assessed her situation before applying to the company. Wouldn't it be more prudent? And most likely if she did, she would have found a better option.

Now, you're going to ask me. Thanks for scaring me bucko! I don't want this to happen to me. So ...

HOW DO YOU COUNT THE COSTS BEFORE WORKING IN AN ESL COMPANY?

Consider the following things...

...your goals

...your capabilities and resources

...the time, money, and effort you're going to use to accomplish your goals

Ok. So how does this fit in when you're working for an ESL company.

Let's look at goals first...

Looking at Jane's example. She has to know WHY she needs to work in an ESL company. This WHY is part of her goal.

This could mean that she wants to work in an ESL company because she wants to stay closer to her child. Or earn a reasonable amount of money to live a comfortable life.

The clearer her picture of this WHY and the corresponding things that support it, the better Jane's chances of choosing the right company to work for.

Now, let's look at capabilities and resources...

Jane knew that she has the potential to give immense value to her future company and students. But she also has to realize that her resources are limited. This could include the savings at hand that she has. Along with this are her health and motivation.

If Jane tried to fit her resources so that they are conserved, then it would be a win for her. But alas, she didn't factor it in. And she had to spend more than she could earn.

Finally, let's look at the time, money, and effort you're going to use to accomplish your goals.

If only Jane calculated and planned her move, then she would never have to work hours upon hours for measly pay. She wouldn't have felt the regret of snapping at her kid while exhausted. She wouldn't have felt the frustration and helplessness while the company took her hard earned pay and never gave her some slack.

But you can learn a lesson from Jane.

Here are some ...

THINGS YOU CAN DO THAT WOULD HELP YOU COUNT THE COSTS

  1. Start with understanding your needs and goals.

Ok. This might take some time. But the more clarity you have with your goals, the better chances of you making your move.

Think in terms of...

-Your work situation

-Your target income

-The time you want to spend with your family and self

-Your rest and recreation

-The amount of money you can save for future investments

In fact, try to factor in as much as you can so can have a life that is filled with impact.

  1. Loyalty to yourself, your family, and your goals SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED over loyalty to one company

Sure, you might not really care about the money and all you want is the warm fuzzy feeling of teaching your students. All well and good. That's your funeral.

But if you have decided to have an aim that goes beyond teaching in a low-paying job, then consider making decisions based on ...

-YOUR WELLBEING

-THE WELFARE OF YOUR FAMILY

-YOUR CLEAR GOALS

No amount of incentive or recognition from the company you're working for will compensate for this. Does that make you sound selfish?

Sure. But remember, the company you're working for does not really care about you in the long run. They care more for their bottom line, their shareholders, and their students. For them, you are expendable.

Be conscientious and responsible employees always giving your best. But don't be naive in thinking that they will extend help to you in the long run.

  1. Before applying to a company, take the words of the ads, recruiter, or the person who wants to refer you with a grain of salt.

It feels amazing that you're being courted to join a company. Oh! And here's another ad telling you that you'll POTENTIALLY be getting tens of thousands of pesos if you get hired.

Then there's this recruiter guy with his picture wearing the company's logo plastered prominently on his social media profile. He's encouraging you to apply because the company is in need of hundreds or even thousands of teachers.

There's also the friend who keeps on telling you to use his/her link to apply. And since they're so magnanimous, they promise to share the "referral fee" once you get hired.

Beware...

They may not have your interests at hand.

First of all, an ad's job is to get more applicants. And since companies can afford to hire marketing professionals to create an ad, they will make something that will entice you to apply. It could be misleading and lack transparency. But what do they care about you? As long as they can hoard applicants, the ads have done their part.

Another thing, company recruiters have the responsibility to get more workers for the company. Sure, you can ask them any question. But when it comes to the costs of you working for the company, they would find a way to be evasive and lack the transparency needed to give you a clearer picture of the work and compensation.

Imagine this kind of conversation:

Potential Recruit: How many hours will I work to get tens of thousands of pesos in a month at a rate of 100 pesos per hour? After all, your ad and you are telling me that I can earn up to tens of thousands of pesos.

Recruiter: It's a secret (flashes what he thinks is an alluring smile)! But if you work for us, you will find out!

It's no secret. You have to work more than 40 hours to even get to a fraction of their "potential earnings."

Finally, there's that friend who keeps telling you to "click on their link" to apply. Sure, they want you to earn while working for that company. But they're most likely in it for the referral fee. It's not a secret that in some companies they have a "top referrer" award. Why? Because they're not really in it for your benefit. They're in it for the money that they can get referring you.

In fact, when you ask recruiters and people who look for referrals about the costs of working for a company, they will never give you a straight answer. Oh well, maybe a few who have a conscience will probably do. Otherwise, they're happy to receive their thirty pieces of silver at your expense.

But don't blame them. IT'S NOT THE JOB OF THE RECRUITER OR PERSON REFERRING YOU TO TELL YOU THE COSTS. IT'S YOUR JOB TO COUNT THE COSTS.

That's why you have to COUNT THE COST.

Ask yourself,

WHAT'S REALLY GOING TO COST ME IN TIME, MONEY, AND EFFORT WORKING FOR THIS COMPANY?

Because if you don't you're going to lose more than you earn.

  1. Start small, but always look for better opportunities

I will say this, and a lot of you will be pissed off at me for saying this, because...

THE COMPANY THAT GIVES YOU LOWBALL RATES AND "INCENTIVES" TO KEEP YOU WORKING FOR THEM YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT DOES NOT DESERVE YOUR LOYALTY.

First and foremost, they are a business. And their primary responsibility is for their bottom line and for their stockholders. Sure, they may also prioritize students. Which leaves you, the teacher. To them, you are expendable.

True, they may raise your rates to a couple of tens of pesos every year. They might even feature you in their shiny ad. Or probably bring you on a trip to headquarters. But ultimately the one who benefits is them and not you.

What do you do then? Here's what you do.

  1. Work well like the model employee that you are. After all, that's who you are. You were meant to give the best. At the very least give them that for hiring you.

  2. Work for a sufficiently limited time. Work for a year or two at most. You get experience and training. But don't delude yourself that working for the company for longer than three years is to your advantage. You're just putting yourself into a trajectory that will ultimately undermine you and show that you are expendable to them.

  3. Improve your skills.

  4. Find better work situations. If you have experience, training, and skills for a year or two, why be stuck in a job that pays you less? Why work for hours with a low rate while you can have a rate that is sufficiently high to make you work for less hours. Find a better work situation! You, your family, and your goals deserve this.

When you work for an ESL company, you are not only trading your expertise as a teacher. You are also paying for it with your limited and precious time. TIME THAT WILL NEVER COME BACK TO YOU.

Why work for countless hours for a low rate when you can save time and earn more with another company that gives you higher rates?

Treat that company as a Godsend if you must. But never fall to the mistake that you owe them what little time you have in your week and months. You have better things to do. You can serve and provide for your family more even if you don't work long hours. You can create more impact on your goals.

  1. Never fall into the trap of your emotions

Let's face it, we're all emotional creatures (And I wouldn't doubt that those who are too emotional will give hateful comments here proving once and for all why the Philippines has a low reading comprehension rate). But we have to look at things in the most objective way.

Think about it, you working for an ESL company puts you into emotional hooks because you get a warm fuzzy feeling of teaching a student. You glow with positivity knowing that you impact a handful of students.

But when you dwell on that, it will be to your undoing.

Really? What impact do you give them aside from teaching them a language? Sure, you might be changing lives. But in the end, you're not doing a big enough impact on you, your family, or your goals.

It's nice to feel good after teaching. It goes to show that you are competent and when push comes to shove you can make an impact.

But your goal in life is not to impact a handful of foreign students (and if it is, woe to you! Yourself, your family, and your goals deserve more impact from you). Will your foreign students give back to you once all is said and done? At the end of your classes, they will most likely forget you.

Don't fall into the emotional trap that you are needed by your students. Because after classes, they won't really need you.

Harsh I know. But look at things objectively and it will be to your benefit.

Remember, your loyalty is to ...

...YOURSELF

...YOUR FAMILY

...YOUR GOALS

Never let the company invalidate that. You have better things in the horizon. Never fall into their trap.

Now, I wouldn't doubt that people will argue that what I wrote is too long. And they don't have the time to read it.

So:

COUNT THE COSTS OR THE COSTS WILL TAKE OVER YOU.

FOCUS ON YOURSELF, YOUR FAMILY, AND YOUR GOALS.

THE ESL COMPANY THAT YOU'RE WORKING FOR IS A BUSINESS. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO GIVE THEM YOUR LIFE AND LOYALTY.

If you actually got to the end of this long-ass post, then kudos to you! This means that the Philippines still has hope in terms of reading comprehension.

In any case, good luck this 2020 getting the right job for you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

6 Replies

Nice... Thank you its just a confirmation for me that i did the right thing😀

Well said and true!

A good read. Thank you!

I think I know one of these ESL companies who ALWAYS consider it teacher's fault whenever there is an emergency or unavoidable situation.

The only long post I spent time reading and I couldn't agree more. I'm really happy that I invested on improving my skills. I remember I was paid Php62/hr last 2010 - 2012, then Php 130/hr (2014-2016), Php 150/hr (2017), and finally, now Php700/hr. Never stop learning and improving your skills!

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