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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

CAREER: Go Back to Old Job, Or Keep Trying for New Job?
Letter #: 391619
Category: Career

Original Letter

Hello For six years I had a comfortable though not emotionally, professionally or financially fulfilling job as a teaching assistant in upstate New York. At the beginning of the summer I was offered a job teaching English for a company in Shanghai. I jumped at this opportunity. I thought it would be the change I needed and on some levels it was. Even though I got to work early (often before my manager) and I made a true effort to grow, my manager failed my probation with the company, thus firing me. I had very little time left on my visa so within a few days I got on a plane and left for Japan, where I am now staying with my brother and his wife. Because I am on a tourist visa I am having a harder time than I expected finding work. The Japanese government gave me a tourist visa until the beginning of February.

I don't know what I should do. I've needed to grow for a very long time now. If I go back home I'm certain I can get my old job back with very little trouble. However, I feel if I do that I will be regressing. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Lost in Asia

Elder Response

Dear Lost,

First of all, let me congratulate you in taking a risk and moving to China.  The thing about risks, is that sometimes they don't work out.  And there is no shame in that, it just means there is something better out there for you.

You seem to indicate that going back to your old job would be a step backward. I don't see it that way.  I see it as a way of coming back to the country and getting a platform to find your next job. I can appreciate your concern that it might feel like regressing, but that would only come to pass if you stayed there without expending the effort to find a new job.  And based on your recent history and motivation, you are not going to do that.

Don't let this setback in China define you.  Speaking as one who has been fired and fired other people, the main issue is generally that there is not a good fit between the employing company and the worker.  

By the way, I was in a similar situation as yours many years ago.  I felt humiliated to go back to my old job, but I swallowed my pride and literally within days found a situation that would completely propel my life in a new and positive direction.  That direction which altered my entire adult life. Another reason I suggest considering going back to the old job, is it is to your advantage to look for a job when you are employed.  There is less pressure on you, and without an income, you may even display subtle signs of desperation.  

Meanwhile, I suggest you brush up your resume, get going on Linked In and become to consider where you want to ultimately live, what type of income you desire and what type of work environment would help you thrive.  

If a job appears in Japan, I am not sure how easy it would be to obtain a work visa.  If it is reasonably easy and you can afford it, I suppose there is no harm in trying.  However, I would start getting things lines up for your return to your old job right away.

Write again if you have further thoughts or questions and/or to share how things work out for you down the road.  

Best wishes! 

Best Regards,



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