Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Be or Not To Be

To Be or Not To Be... and be something else...

Im being promoted. One way or another - im climbin’ the ladder. The purpose of this blog is to document my decision making process as I try and figure out which ladder to climb, because it could potentially change the mountain im climbing in the process. Analogy aside, Im being offered two different positions by my school... well two factions inside my school.

Here’s the skinny, I could be:

The Director of Studies at one of the satellite schools under the same owner~

or I could be...

The Marketing Coordinator for my current school as an appendage of the North American school I currently work for.

Baring money as a determining factor, there are some very important issues to consider.

First, both are awesome options. They both would provide me with something new and exciting to put on the resume - not to mention the practical skills I would acquire ^_^. Both also will lead to somewhat reduced teaching hours (15+/-) and an increase of “something else”... Also a plus (+++)

The real dilemma is on a few major points.

Which will give me the experiences that I can market most in the future?

Which one will bring me in contact with relationships that I will be able to work with for future opportunities?

Which one provides the most in depth look at Chinese culture/ business?

Which one involves less outside prep work ^_^ ?

So lets give this a block method approach (sorry... taught it in my writing class)

The Marketing Coordinator position would leave me teaching ESLI classes - which do take some prep work - however it would be much less than I originally put in because I have some more experience and materials now. Also... the books are much better for the higher levels and i’ve found more of a niche in listening-speaking and writing. I would teach basically 2 classes a week, and the rest of my time would be filled with a lot of networking and go-fering. Heck - I love go-fering. For those of you unfamiliar with seeing that word written... its when nick’nack stuff needs to get done. Little tasks like communicating with translators, printers, designers and agents to make sure that everyone has everything and everyone is happy. It would also include a lot of relationship cultivation with agents throughout the city, country and potentially internationally. Sounds cool eh? I love schmoozing... and i’d be willing to suffer a few heavily alcoholic dinners to cultivate some guanxi /gwan shee/ (yes... that IS how business is done here). Who knows who I would meet - but it would definitely be a lot of people.

On the flip side:

The Director of Studies or DoS (Kind of a ridiculous title... DoS - think /doss/....) would be pretty fantastic to put on the resume. Lets be honest. How often is it that an ESL teacher gets to say that they were the (academic) Director of a program overseas - particularly at my age. Now I understand there are some inherent dangers that go with that fact - and I will address some of them in just a moment. For the fluffy and happy portion however, the fact of the matter is that I would teach 15 hours at most. In addition, all of the curriculum and tests are pre-established. Deviation from the material is actually discouraged. The remainder of my time would be primarily in the area of managing the program’s teaching staff (Chinese and foreign expert alike) with responsibilities such as time management (making sure that teachers are on track with their classes/ the preset tests), coordinating data entry, overall quality management. In addition to that, I would be marketing support and a significant communicative bridge between the headquarters in Shanghai and our individual school.

As an aside - both schools are basically the educational equivalent of a franchise. They are systems that were purchased/ brought in - not developed by our owner.

So -- the DoS position definitely involves more responsibility.

Ok - breaking block method style (and GO!).

As far as loyalties, I feel a certain amount of loyalty to the N.A. folks, because they have been to bat for me on a number of things and were the initial funnel for me to even get out here to have this opportunity. However, if I take the marketing coordinator position, I would effectively be split between East and West. My loyalty to the West would be required. I would have to defend what that system represents.

If I take the DoS position, I would be set out into the great big sea of the East. There is a great deal of opportunity, but just like the sea - the East can get real stormy real quick, and crush you like a tin canoe if you don't know how to sail well.

With the East - West option, keeping one foot on dry land, I always have a sort of giant who will go to bat for me if I get into trouble.

Set out to sea in the all East option (DoS) and I won’t have anyone to take up my case. It is possible to go down with a sinking ship. If the wrong person gets spurned, I could be without a job, and in need of finding a new one in order to continue my little adventure.

~I think the whole ocean metaphor could have benefited from a Kraken... tooo late.

Anyhow - when all is said and done. The way I am leaning is toward the DoS position. I know I could learn a lot from both positions. However, I have an important phrase ringing in my head.

Go Big or Go HOME!

I don’t want to look back on my opportunity and say that I choose the safer of two roads. I want to jump into the deep end and show that I can handle it.

The best part is that I know I won’t be totally alone. There are decisions where I will have to be “li hai” (fierce) - but otherwise my success will be dependent on how well I work with people: how well I play the game. I think that is something that my experiences have trained me for more than anything else these past seven (7) months. I have been watching and playing the political games in this time, and I think it is my chance to shine. Its my chance to put my knowledge to work and do a job that will bring me experiences that I’ve not yet had.

We’ll see. Tomorrow I will have a meeting that should more or less cement my decision.

1 comment:

  1. Best of luck with making your decision. Either option sounds pretty exciting!