A bird in the hand is better than waiting for more rejections, right?!
November 4, 2018 10:48 PM   Subscribe

Was finally and quite suddenly offered a job after months of looking. Not really the job I want, though, and in the place I want to be. Should I take it anyway?

I've been job-hunting since July, though not as seriously in July and August as in September and October, and so far have had nothing but rejections. Usually, the recruiter it goes through and the company I interview for act super excited, "wow, you have such great language skills, we need someone just like you, bla", and then I get asked my age (29) and how long I've been married (I stupidly changed my last name to my Japanese husband's, so it's obvious I wasn't born with it as I'm white) and then I get rejected a while later with a generic reason. This isn't in the US, it's Japan, where age and dependents go on your fucking resume. It's one reason why I want to leave, but as I've said in a previous question, I also want to be closer to my very old grandma in Germany. Husband has a job in Tokyo right now, but wants to move to Europe soon if he finds something in his field, or try to get into a PhD program if I find something first and he couldn't work in that city. (It seems like there are very few cities in the world we could both find meaningful work in.)
I've just been offered a job by a start-up here in Tokyo and need to reply by tomorrow. The pay is good, they actually offer 4 weeks of PTO a year, and the boss is foreign, which probably explains why no one asked about my marital status for once. (Yeah?) It's also the kind of job I wanted to move away from (assistant work), and I'd have to work one weekend day each week, so less time to see friends and husband. :( And obviously still not enough time with grandma.
Relocation hasn't been going well (my best shots are with Japanese companies that have offices there, but then the problem I talked about in the first paragraph pops up again), my husband almost got a job that was then eliminated, and I'm not really qualified for much besides Japanese (and English, obviously, but every German and their mother thinks they're perfectly bilingual in English).

My friends say to just take the job and leave if I receive a better offer (it would be a non-permanent contract for now anyway), but my work history so far is already pretty spotty with two years at one place and a lot of short-term and part-time in between, plus as you all know from the green, I've quit and re-entered grad school once. I am scared that I'm ruining my last shot at a fulfilling career if I do this wrong, but I also don't want to waste my grandma's last few years (she's 96) and then later find out I will never have that career anyway.

If I take this job and quit after six months, did I doom myself? How would I explain my quitting in interviews for new jobs? I don't want to say "my husband got a better job somewhere", which is what my best friend suggest (bless her heart) because I don't want to talk about my marriage in interviews anymore. "Relocated for my family" sounds better, but I'm still really worried. Help, please?
posted by LoonyLovegood to Work & Money (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think you should take the job just because between the both of you it doesn't seem like your income situation has stabilized at all since you've been there. Then move to Europe whenever the fork you like! No doom!

"Family reasons" should be fine as far as explaining why you only spent 6mos at your last job...if it even comes up, since European companies will have a more Western hiring style and 6mos at a startup is just fine. And you should use whatever reasons will get you over that hump which may not turn out to be a hump, especially if you're a startup type worker. "Syphilis in the drinking water." (Don't say that) "Husband got transferred" is better.

You sound really anxious about all of these details. Maybe that's a part of being a fish out of water in Japan, maybe it's my aforementioned stability questions, but on those points the new job would put you in the water and get you some money coming in. Sure, assistant stuff is not your favorite, but you're in a foreign country, probably not there for long. (I think of all the cab drivers I've had who were doctors and lawyers in the old country) You could be stuck tutoring English or nannying, which is a story I've heard several times. Regardless: deep breaths. from the belly.

About Grandma, check into how soon your PTO kicks in. If they want you six days a week they may also not leave you alone on vacation, but that's just a testament to how much you're needed. :) But seriously, if you can't get away on vacation to see grammy, treat the job as a launching pad to moving. Save money, have hubby figure out his next step, and get a plan together.
posted by rhizome at 11:20 PM on November 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Not threadsitting, just clarifying:
1) We don't have any money issues, as husband makes more than enough, but I don't want to keep searching forever either, as I'm afraid that will look worse than leaving a job too soon.
2) I'd rather teach English (my field anyway, but too many native speakers here), and I've been a nanny and loved it.
3) The job isn't for six days, it's five days but not Mo-Fri.
4) Even in Europe, Japanese companies are my best bet due to my skills, and for them I'm a) at an awful age and b) once an admin, always an admin, unless I change that soon.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:30 PM on November 4, 2018


I think you should take it. You haven’t raised any flags about the job itself, if anything it sounds positive (moves you away from admin, better benefits). Your hesitation is based on a huge unknown - when and if you relocate - and you’ve admitted it’s not going well. Better to have stability and start building some job history in a non-admin field than still be unemployed with only spotty history in fields you don’t want to be in. You can leverage any experience you gain from this job whenever the relocation happens. It won’t be “another short term job” it’ll be a “stepping stone” towards a new career. It’s all how you spin it.

You can totally say you relocated to be closer to family. Based on what you tell me here, this is a true statement.
posted by like_neon at 11:40 PM on November 4, 2018


I swear I'm not threadsitting, but apparently I didn't make it clear that this job is admin as well.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:49 PM on November 4, 2018


Also, just seeing it’s a start up, depending on how small it is there is the potential to take on more things than what is just strictly your job. Don’t get me wrong, this could be stressful, which is why start up culture is not for everyone, but the multiple hat wearing aspect was something I appreciated for exposing me to areas of a business I normally wouldn’t in a larger or more established role. Maybe something that could also help open doors for your future?
posted by like_neon at 11:50 PM on November 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Ah yes sorry I kind of misunderstood. Well one data point related to my comment and yours: at the startup I worked at we hired an admin/assistant. However as the business grew she needed to stretch into customer service and event planning. She’s one of my favourite people in the world and I’ve been delighted to see her spin that eventually to a job that took her to New Zealand (from England) to get a job as retail operations coordinator at a university.

I’m not saying it fell into her lap by virtue of working at our place, but she took advantage of every challenge that was thrown her way. If I recall correctly she actually hired her replacement at the startup when the CEO was convinced (partly by her advocating for herself) that she was better suited to go full time the larger responsibilities that he had thrown her way on a temp basis.

This isn’t exactly answering your question as I was under the impression that it wasn’t admin work again, but I still think with the better benefits and the potential nature of startup culture may make the bet worth it.
posted by like_neon at 11:58 PM on November 4, 2018


If you don't need the money right now why do you have to take a job that you clearly don't want instead of working on those other priorities? I say this because it sounds like you have many different goals that this job won't help you to progress (relocating, spending quality time with Grandma, launching new career).

For example, if Gran is the most pressing concern (and I totally understand why it would be) you might be better moving back to Germany now and just temping whilst you sort next steps - maybe even stay with Grandma whilst husband applies for work in Europe.

Work out what your priority is, focus on that for six months then re-evaluate.
posted by freya_lamb at 12:52 AM on November 5, 2018 [14 favorites]


I don't know what the job market is like in/near Germany but it sounds like, while you're looking for European jobs that use your language skills, you could probably get a regular admin job of the sort you're describing relatively easily and figure things out from there.

So I agree with freya_lamb: if you and your husband are both on board with this I'd say go to/near where your grandmother is (96 is 96, and she seems very important to you).

Btw, if you enjoy teaching English have you considered teaching Japanese or preparing Germans for the Japanese work environment?
posted by trig at 1:21 AM on November 5, 2018


2nding what freya_lamb wrote above re your various priorities which seem to contradict each other. Since your grandmother is the most pressing one and it sounds like you can afford it, why not go home for a month. See her and sound out the job market. You'll get some relief with the visit but you aren't fully committing yourself just yet.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 1:26 AM on November 5, 2018


If you decide to stay in Japan instead of going to Germany ahead of your husband, take the job. If your husband gets an offer very soon, just don't put this most recent job on your resume.
posted by bunderful at 3:55 AM on November 5, 2018 [4 favorites]


You could also consider returning to your unmarried name. That might help in this job search, but I know it's a huge pain to do, and you clearly have already decided to take his name. If you do move back to Europe, you will probably face misunderstandings on paper all over again as people will only see your Japanese last name. Just a thought.

Cultural biases seem to trip us up no matter what we do.
posted by citygirl at 8:07 AM on November 5, 2018


Thank you, everyone! It seems like I never really get my intended goals across with my asks, but I have just received a better job offer for a one-year interpreting job. It's in Tokyo, so not close to grandma, but she says I should take it and call her a lot, because it will be good for my career, so I will. I'm half relieved about finally getting a good offer and half sad, but I'll soon be too busy to worry about that.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 11:09 PM on November 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


That's great news, congrats!
posted by freya_lamb at 12:58 AM on November 6, 2018


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