Nov 18

My name is Rick Ambrosio (Ibaraki-ken, 2006-08).  And whether readjusting to post-JET life is something you’re facing now, will deal with in the future or if you just enjoy reconnecting with that awkwardly uncertain feeling you had when you got back from Japan, come along with me as I look for a new job, a new apartment, and yes, mow the lawn of my parent’s house.  Tadaima!


Zannen…. Motainai“…..She repeated it again as she circled the computer skills on my resume. This was the third woman I had talked to today from this recruiting company.

It was 3:42pm in Manhattan and I had to decide if I was going to stay to see some people for drinks later tonight or take a train on the LIRR back home to my parent’s house – where I live now. Three months ago it was sayonara parties and teary goodbyes.  Now it was recruiting companies and resume dos-and-don’ts.

Yuki (not her real name) was clearly disappointed. Even though we had been speaking Japanese most of the time I met her, she still felt it was not good enough for a Japanese business environment. She then explained that the business culture I dealt with in JET was a lot different than what I would experience in a normal job. I understood her perspective, of course, but it’s not exactly an ego boost when someone casually dismisses the most recent two years of my resume.  And the only arrow left in my quiver seemed to be that I could write code for e-commerce sites.

She then shifted gears. “Also, finance is very difficult right now…but if it is your dream you should do it.  Though  IT will be much easier.”  I knew this as well.  I had hoped to find something more “business oriented” after JET, as coding had become monotonous for me, and I wanted to make a shift.

So while in Japan, I used my time productively to delve deep into books about stocks, banks and finance.  I read Alan Greenspan’s memoirs.  All 505 pages of it.  All in hopes of finding something new.   What I found when I came home was the Dow diving like it was trying for a gold medal in the Olympics and thousands laid off in the Manhattan area, most of which came from the financial sector.

With a feeling of conceit I told Yuki that I would consider IT jobs as well, since finance was apparently not an option.  She smiled and said her co-worker may have something for me.  I hoped she did.  The idealized vision of myself in a Brooklyn apartment with my old college roommate, both of us working in Manhattan and living it up the best I could in my post-JET life was slowly becoming darker and fuzzier.  Not that anything is wrong with living at home in Suffolk, mowing the lawn to pay rent.  But it is a long fall from your own apartment and your own rules with a safe job in the suburbs of Japan.

Mika (also not her real name) then came into the room.  She was quite upbeat, placing a document in front of me with information about a job.  A help desk job.  Temporary, about six months.  Hourly pay.  Not exactly what I was looking for.  Still, I smiled and thanked her, telling her I would e-mail her with my response after she tried to find out if she could make it a salaried position.  I was then politely ushered out of the office and I made my way back down the elevator to the streets of Manhattan.

It was raining.  Apparently I knew little about Japan.  For added measure the message on my cellphone was my mother.  She somehow found out before I did that when I arrived back at Ronkonkoma station, there would be a ticket waiting on the windshield of her Explorer that I borrowed for parking in an unmarked stall. Also, clean the basement when I go home, please.

Welcome to life after JET in this fabulous new economic landscape.

one comment so far...

  • Wotka Said on November 26th, 2008 at 2:04 am:

    Don’t gorget that winter is coming, and lawn mowings will soon cease…Good luck, Rick. Remember, you can always go back to school!

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