Should I stay (quiet), or should I go (and blow it all)?
September 26, 2011 4:59 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to Japan no matter what, but should I tell my current employer sooner rather than later that I have decided to do this?

A bit of an odd one this. I've worked for the same company for just over three years now. I enjoy the work, I love what the company is doing, but I have itchy feet.

I have just collected my Working Holiday Visa for Japan, and intend to move out there in January. Now, I genuinely would love to continue working for the same company. We do have other offices, including one in Tokyo.

I have been told, in casual conversation by someone higher up but from another office, that I could have a job in the Tokyo office if I could speak Japanese. I can't, at least not even remotely well enough to do what I currently do but in Japanese. Learning enough to do so simply isn't an option at this time. It would take years.

I do however wonder if there might be other opportunities, but I can't ask without telling my employer about my plans. So the way I see it I have a couple of choices.

1. Ask just before I would otherwise hand in my notice with resignation letter ready, in case there were no option to work for the company in Japan.

2. Ask boss now, or soon, giving us time to formulate how this could work out, and giving employer plenty of time to find a replacement, but potentially making things rather uncomfortable for several months if there are no opportunities.

So I guess the questions is, which way makes more sense?

Plus, would the desire to continue working for the company override the fact that I would be willing to give up my employment there to potentially otherwise earn peanuts teaching English in a foreign country?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
I would go with option 2. Maybe they don't mean "remotely well enough to do what I currently do but in Japanese" -- maybe they just mean "remotely well enough to be the English Speaking Liason In-Training in a Japanese office". If so, you might fit the bill, especially if you get serious about studying Japanese during the next few months (you will be studying Japanese during the next few months, right?)

You'll never find out unless you ask, and the time to ask is now. If you wait until it's handing-in-your-notice-time I think the answer will almost certainly be no, even if the opportunity was there.
posted by vorfeed at 5:13 PM on September 26, 2011

Option 3 - What about asking for a leave of absence from your job for (up to) a year?
posted by lizbunny at 5:19 PM on September 26, 2011

Or Option 4 -- tell them you're interested in gaining more international experience and wondering if there's a possibility of finding something for you to do in the Tokyo office given your current skillset. Don't tell them yet that you're definitely going whether they want you to or not.

That said, a full-time job with your current employer may not meet the requirements of your Working Holiday Visa, so if that seems like it might work out, you might have to look at changing your visa status with Japan.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:02 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I don't understand why you think that have to tell your boss that you are leaving.

Simply ask your boss/HR person/whomever it may concern whether it would be possible to transfer to the Tokyo office in some capacity. Act as if you are interested but just testing the waters. If nothing is available, then just wait until the appropriate time (2 weeks) and give notice. You may find that if nothing is available now, something will miraculously appear when you give notice (and they decide that it's better to have you work from Japan then lose you entirely).
posted by oddman at 7:38 PM on September 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

I did something similar, I simply told them when I knew (4 months in advance) that I was moving and that I was "following my dream", the boss understood perfectly. I didn't have a chance of inter-office moving, but my current employer used me to train two replacements in that time, and we separated very neatly.

If it was worded such that, you would go no matter what, it could be entirely possible that they would be willing to employ you in japan on some base "english teacher" salary for a year.

I got freakishly lucky, and found a job in my first week here, where I still work.
posted by lundman at 8:57 PM on September 26, 2011

Definitely talk to your boss, explain that this is a move you have your heart set on. If you do want to stay with the company, or if you are interested in trying to transfer, be honest about that, and see if it's possible. Try to point out that the growth in your skill set could benefit the company in the long term.

No matter what, be up front. No one likes to be blindsided, and burning bridges is never something to do when it could be avoided.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:00 AM on September 27, 2011

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