How to Quit a teaching gig in Japan a little ovet a week before starting?
August 23, 2012 11:55 PM   Subscribe

Teaching job for a dispatch company in Japan starting in two weeks. Had a panic attack and decided I want to quit, with no time for 30 days notice - how to do so with as few problems as possible?


I recently completed training for a dispatch teaching company in which I would be working at a public school in Japan. It is not a typical ALT job in that I would be teaching completely solo(the pay is still cruddy, though).

I had a bad feeling in my gut from the moment I entered training that this job was was not for me. During the final day of training before a teaching demo I had to give, I had a panic attack (first one in a while). I told the trainer that I felt ill and needed to go to the doctor, and left. I think he could tell I was anxious as all hell - I was shaking and close to fainting at the time.

I realized on the way home that teaching is just not for me, especially in the environment I will be teaching in at my school. I would be miserable doing this for at least a half a year. So I am 100% sure I will be quitting. Also, the school I would be working at is particularly demanding as well - apparently the previous two teachers were either canned for not living up to expectations. (on a side note, they lied to me during the interview regarding this fact among others - the company said the teacher left to get married) If I am already feeling this way about the job, I believe it would be better off for the school and students as well if I were to quit before I was officially introduced.

So long story short - I realized that I thoroughly dislike teaching and want to quit before I start, for my own mental health. I have no time to give 30 days notice (school introductions are late next week, with classes starting the following week). I would prefer resigning without going in to the office. How can I go about doing so with as few repercussions as possible? Do I make an excuse, or tell the truth(I wouldn't be able to hack it)? Should I say I am going home to my own country? Should I call, or send an email? This is the first time I've quit a job, so I am unsure of how to do this (especially in Japan).

Thanks all. Feel free to memail me :(

- side notes: I used to be on anxiety meds, and I'm pretty sure I have ADD. I have already been sponsored for a visa by this company. I don't know if it will become invalid. I also have a stash of money and a place to stay for the time being. I am not sure whether I will go home to my own country or not yet. Finally, although I am being paid for training, the starting date for the contract is not until early September. I honestly don't care if they withhold my training pay, I just want out.
posted by Kamelot123 to Work & Money (9 answers total)
Just tell them that it won't be possible. Tell them asap so that they can hire someone for the school year.

It's okay if you don't want the job. Listen to your body. It's sending you strong messages.

I backed out of a teaching offer in Japan once. I just had a bad feeling about it, even though I'd been to Japan before, had studied Japanese and so on. Something made me feel uncomfortable. It's okay to listen to your gut. It's what keeps you safe.

I'm not sure how to quit a job long distance in Japan, so I leave that to others.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 12:01 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Damage limitation is the best you can hope for. Could you get a medical note to explain your wihdrawal? You are in breach of contract and have made things awkward for them, they could get nasty unless you take steps to prevent that.
posted by epo at 12:54 AM on August 24, 2012

Tell them part of the truth - that you found out that you were lied to in the job interview about why the other teachers had left and now that you know the true reason, and also that the school wasn't honest with you, you don't want the job after all.
posted by lollusc at 1:53 AM on August 24, 2012

I know this isn't the advice you want, but people always freak out before starting something new. Plus, teaching is something that takes getting used to. My advice is to try and suck it up for a while to see if it doesn't get better. Until you have actually tried it out, you will never know, and you might regret it down the line.

Also, if the company paid your airfare to Japan and put you up during this training it is pretty uncool of you to just quit because you got anxious. It also sounds like they sponsored you for a visa and that you are considering staying in Japan, putting them in a position where they paid for your airfare and got you a visa without them getting anything in return. That seems really uncool to me.

To answer your questions, though...As far as the visa being cancelled or not, it depends on how vindictive the company is. I've worked at places that actively pursued ex-employees for airfare and expensed that were owed as per the contract that was signed, and I've also worked at places that didn't bother doing anything. However, if you used them for a flight to Japan and then are planning on staying in Japan on the visa that they provided you, they will probably have a problem with that.

The thing is, though, that people quit overseas teaching jobs all the time. I wouldn't be worrying about making a huge problem for them, because I am sure that other people have done worse. If you are so freaked out by the whole thing, just send them an email saying you quit and move on, but you had better be ready to leave the country. I seriously doubt they will be amenable to you staying in Japan on their visa and airfare.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:40 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the replies so far, guys.

I'm not quitting long distance - I am in Japan at the moment. I should have stated that in my question.

Yeah, I might be able to get a medical note to explain - that's a good idea. I mean, I had lunch to try and calm down a bit after I dodged the demo lesson and subsequently puked it up. That is a first for me.

Any other suggestions? Anyone been in a similar situation, or know of someone that quit early? I should probably at least mail the recruiter tonight, and let him know.

(I actually just noticed on the contract that none of the terms of the contract are accepted by the employer until evidence of the visa is presented to the employer, so there's that - the visa has not been mailed to me yet)

PS: They have not paid for anything besides the visa - I paid for my own airfare and stayed at a friend's place.
posted by Kamelot123 at 2:45 AM on August 24, 2012

Oh, Kamelot, in that case just email them and quit, I'm sure it isn't the first time it happened. I wouldn't stress at all. If they haven't paid for anything for you it isn't a big deal at all. So what are you worried about exactly? Them cancelling the visa? Well, that's just a risk you are going to have to take.

I actually accepted a position in Hong Kong but then a week later got a better job offer and emailed the lady to tell her I wouldn't be taking the job after all (they hadn't paid for anything at that point). The woman sent me a really long nasty email about it, but that was the end of that. I don't think you have anything to worry about, no matter how you handle it.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:54 AM on August 24, 2012

I suggest also getting in contact with your embassy. They can help be your advocate, and they have access to loads of resources. (Just a little ancedata to push you to contacting them: when I was living abroad, we had a friend get attacked by a wild animal, and the embassy was extremely helpful in giving us medical advice.)
posted by emilynoa at 5:29 AM on August 24, 2012

I can't speak to a Japanese style of handling quitting. However, call to let them know you will not be able to continue with the position for medical reasons. That's true! Then follow up with an email, "As we discussed, I am withdrawing from this position effective [date]. Thank you for this opportunity."

You are taking great care of yourself There are other positions that won't crank up your anxiety. You'll find one. Best of luck!
posted by BigJen at 5:46 AM on August 24, 2012

Response by poster: Hi all,

As it is too late to call the company today (and they are closed sat/sun, I just shot off this email:

Dear _________,

Please accept this message as notification that I am leaving my position with _______ effective August 24.

Following training, I have come to realize that the position is not a good fit for me, and will most likely be heading back home. I will be sending a resignation letter as well, but I would like to give you as much time as possible to find someone who is better suited for the position. I have only wonderful things to say about _______ - I will be sure to speak highly of the company to others.

If I can be of any assistance during this transition, please let me know.



Thanks for all of the support, guys! I hope things work out.
posted by Kamelot123 at 6:03 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

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