In my previous post, I did a vlog about the After JET Program experiences I had, but along the way I mentioned some regrets I held over not taking some chances that would’ve made my life much easier when I left JET. Everybody, I think, has these kinds of thoughts. We look back and in hindsight we could’ve done more or done this thing or gone to this event, generally the regrets are things we didn’t do.
Opportunities can pass by so quickly. One minute you’re contemplating whether or not you should do something, and then all of a sudden, BOOM! That precious moment, probably vital, is gone. When I had the opportunity to get TEFL/TESOL certified, I should’ve gone ahead and signed up for those classes. Without it, I ended up struggling after JET to get a direct hire position. I eventually got one through the merits of my hard work, but I could’ve saved myself nearly two years of effort. Taking those kinds of chance, to better improve yourself in your field (whether you want to stay in it or not) are always good investments.
Many people I know in Japan have taken online classes or correspondence courses in order to accumulate credits for graduate school. I don’t particularly want to do graduate school, but I realize in this day and age the more education I receive, the more the payout will be later. Besides, if you’re not interested in teaching in Japan forever, that would be the smart move. Or let’s say you want to stay in Japan but simply don’t want to teach, then gaining experience in a different field through certifications gained by online courses or correspondence is a great way to start busting out of that bubble.
You also need to network, as in introduce yourself to new people when and where you can and discover what they do. If you’ve got a similar interest, or they know an insiders look into something you want to do, you need to exchange contact info. Even for English teaching, use those business cards and hand them out like they’re candy. You need to expand the people you know, so that you can help them and they can help you when it comes to professional matters.
For me, I have wanted to do freelance or writing in some aspect. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite start hard on my blog when I came to Japan. I was a sporadic in posting, to say the least, because I never thought I would be doing it as a means to an end. Back in the day (she says like she’s so old), blogs were considered a small media form, not really useful or taken seriously.
Nowadays? You can actually make blogging and vlogging a full time career. I wish I’d done more with my previous blog, that way it could’ve grown into something amazing over the course of the three years I kept it up. Granted, now I understand how blogging connections work, and how to make my “brand” (that’s kind of weird to say) stand out a little. I’ve got Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Channel, an Instagram all connected to this blog. I’ve learned and improved quite a bit over the years, but I just wish I’d improved a little faster or done more with the time I had in the past.
However, that’s not to say I’ve done nothing. I’ve been writing for online sites when I can, and I’m going to continue to do my best with this site. Progress, no matter how small, counts as an accomplishment. Still, the future comes quickly, and missed opportunities can mean a lot of roadblocks in your path to your end goal that you could’ve avoided. It’s important to do what you can when you can. Even if you’re working a full time job, even if you’re doing overtime, you’ve got to make time to do something for the betterment of your future.
Your future self will thank you, and you will be where you want to be.