Once Upon a Tanbo

Call to the masses

Posted on: October 17, 2008

I am really trying to decide what to do about my contract. I’ve written about it here before, but I think I’m just going to write out the pros and cons and ask you lovely readers what you think. To be honest I keep flip-flopping back and forth because there are a lot of factors at work.

Leaving my work 4 months early

– Ryohei and I do not have to separate, we can go straight to living in Nagaoka together
– I will finally be able to leave my job, which is pretty much a waste of time and be able to work part-time (English teaching – I’ve gotten two offers already) since I really need a break
– I will be out of my current apartment (broken apart/bad AC etc)
I will be not working full time so doing things like exercise and cooking healthy meals will be more possible
– I can finally get/start using an oven (this is a big deal lol)
– Obviously, I won’t be getting my salary any more. I don’t want to talk money too much but I am pretty good at savings so it – would be forgoing quite a bit of money which could be helpful in the future (~4,000 dollars or so)
– I will have to clean and get rid of all the stuff in my apartment which has had people constantly living in it for the past 15 years (If I stay I can just pass it on to my successor next summer)
– I will only have a little over 1.5 years of translation experience to put on my resume.

Staying through summer

– Ability to save quite a bit of money before moving up to Niigata
– Ryohei can live and commute from his parents house for the first 3-4 months or so we can save up to live in a slightly nicer apartment/ buy slightly nicer fridge/washer than we could afford that just moving up straight away.
– Will have 2 years of translation experience and 1kyuu, so perhaps getting (technical) freelance translation work will be easier*
– I will probably lose weight because I tend to eat less when I live alone (This always happens)
– Living alone after over a year of living together will be very difficult.
– If we get pregnant in the next couple months, I will have to spend part of my pregnancy alone. **
– No AC when it starts getting hot.
– Work drains my soul and no Ryohei to kiss me and make me laugh after a bad day


* If I DO end up getting some sort of big literary translation project or two, this obviously will be less of a problem. In fact I’d probably be much more for quitting since I would have a supplementary income coming in. For the most part a lot of the literary stuff once you get your foot in the door with one publication its easier to get work, although the pay isn’t as good as technical. (Technical translation is more difficult, but it pays well and there is always a market for it. MOST agencies I’ve seen want you to have at least 2-3 years experience. Sometimes in the area you want to specialize in… Probably the closest to what I do would be law/environmental translation but I would need to start reading specialized books/dictionaries to gain more vocabulary and understanding. And to be honest – I’m not sure if I am ready to delve fully into that world since I want a break from all that at the moment)

** In the case that I am incredibly fertile and fall pregnant in the next month, I would be due before my contract ends. In which case I would probably work here (as much as possible) until my maternity leave before going up to Niigata. There are a couple issues with this, but I will think about them more IF that situation arises.

There are a few random things but pretty much it works out to being apart from Ryohei or making more money (both in the present and possibly in the future). It’s a really difficult choice. I get so lonely, and I don’t have a lot of friends in Kobe so I know that most of my time will be spent by myself… but the money I can save just for working 4 extra months would be really helpful in various ways once I did move up.

There is just too much going on and I don’t know where to turn…Ryohei is fine with both choices so its really up to me. I just wish I knew which would be better. I feel weird putting all this out there, but sometimes I get so caught up in stuff and need a little perspective. Is being apart for 4 months worth the extra money? What would you do?


10 Responses to "Call to the masses"

Hi Sara,
I am all for writing lists of pros and cons, and think you did a great job putting yours together.
Just wanted to add a few things that you might want to consider.
-When you start the literary translation job, there is a good chance that your agent’s payment period will be longer than a month, sometimes they can be two months, so keep that in mind. Also depending on the project, if it is a book, sometimes you they pay in installments, so a small fee at the begining, then a chunk in the middle, with the majority of your payment once you finish the entire project.
-Having 2 years and 1kyu on your resume will be a huge plus getting your foot in the door.
-You and Ryohei are still very young, so you guys have plenty of time for kids. And I would recommend that you stick with the same obgyn throughout your entire pregnancy. I would recommending waiting till at least you guys got to Niigata, and you are settled and find a obgyn in your area that meets your needs and can see you through the entire pregnancy. I think this is important for your first bub, cos there will be so many new things and a lot of uncertainty, also the fact that you will be giving birth in Japan and doing the whole thing in Japanese.
Just a few things that come to mind. Sorry if it comes across as being very negative. I hope you guys can come to a decision that is best for you both, your future kids, your resume and your wallet!
Good luck!

A tough decision, but just to add my two cents, if I were you I would hold off on the pregnancy thing until you have the whole contract/ job thing figured out. You never know how your body will react to being pregnant- I was a tired, grouchy, cry at the drop of a hat pregnant type- and it might not be a good idea to add too much stress on top of that. I would say step one figure out the contract/ work thing first and then think about pregnancy. i know that it is hard when it seems like everyone around you is pregnant and/or has kids but it is a big change. Slow down a little and enjoy were you are at.

Stick in for the four months. Save as much as you can. Don’t worry about getting pregnant – cross that bridge when you come to it. Ryohei is new to his job too and no doubt, as a civil servent, will feel the need to prove himself more at the start – late nights and long hours. This might be upsetting for you if you had chucked in your job to be with him when you could have stayed and saved a lot more money – even if it means buying a hotty for the winter! That said, part time English teaching, and cuddles with your man at night is also nice :p

good luck deciding.

Remember English teaching will always be there so doing what you need to do for your translation stuff might be the way to go right now.

Nooh – Thanks for your long and informative comment! I know you have a lot of experience in the translation fields, so I am glad for your opinion. Actually you are on about the literary translation. Mine pay per volume, two months after the deadline. In all honestly it doesn’t give me too many issues since Ryohei will be working and all my money will be saved away for vacations emergancies. I just want to have some work coming in.

This might get a little long…
I’ve put some thought into your second question as well… its true I would have to switch obgyn if I moved but I’m willing to deal with it. Its really hard to explain… ideally… I’d like to have a baby soon after I get to Niigata. I absolutely hate having nothing to do, so I would rather be pregnant while I’m still here in Kobe with my job and a few friends in the area then have to wait out my whole pregnancy in Niigata and not be able to really take on anything because I would have to quit so soon after. (Which is why I want to do freelance work in the first place – I want to make sure I can be at home with our kid) I’m still really not keen on moving to Niigata, but theres no big career or excitement waiting for me to be had there, so theres really no point in putting off kids. I figure by having my child bearing years over by 30 or so, Ryohei and I will be able to enjoy our time together/travel when they are all grown up as opposed to couples who wait for a little longer. I actually know where I want to go in Niigata as well – I’ve done a lot of research. I mean I’d have to meet the Drs. first, but I’m pretty happy with the place so far. They are pretty progressive for the inaka, have epidurals, and follow birth plans. My OBGYN here is great, but she doesn’t deliver anyways so it works out. (At least in my head)

I feel like I can never explain things properly!

Opps! Sorry had some commenters in the middle there!

Trisha – Yah, I had a feeling if I made this post there would be a lot of people advising me NOT to get pregnant now… (lol)
I am trying to enjoy my life… but honestly all I have to live for is the future right now. I just don’t know 😦

Gaijin Wife – Yah, that makes a lot of sense. To be honest the smart and responsible Sarah is leaning towards staying.. but the emotional and samishigariya part of me is not so compliant.

*sigh* I’m glad I still have a few months left to decide. On paper.. staying does seem to be the better option.

Opps! Sorry had some commenters in the middle there!

Trisha – Yah, I had a feeling if I made this post there would be a lot of people advising me NOT to get pregnant now… (lol)
I am trying to enjoy my life… but honestly all I have to live for is the future right now. I just don’t know 😦

Gaijin Wife – Yah, that makes a lot of sense. To be honest the smart and responsible Sarah is leaning towards staying.. but the emotional and samishigariya part of me is not so compliant.

*sigh* I’m glad I still have a few months left to decide. On paper.. staying does seem to be the better option.

Sara, good to see that you have looked into the agency payment period, and that you are good on that front. I have to say that I agree with Trisha on the pregnancy aspect thou. I am going to play the devils advocate here and say I think you need to ask yourself why it is you want to get pregnant now. Reading your response above, it sounds like you are looking for a quick fix to avoid being lonely and having nothing to do when you arrive in Niigata. Even though you and Ryohei are in a good place now, remember that it was only a month ago that you guys were discussing if you had a future together and the common comment from everyone then was good thing there are no kids in the equation and to hold off on those plans. Having children is a big decision and not something you should rush into for the wrong reasons.
I think that the best thing you could do would be to see out your contract and get the translation experience and ikyu, let Ryohei settle into his new job and commute from his parents place for the first few months (shorter commute for him while he is settlng into the new job), join him there when your contract ends (more savings for you both), and then think about TTC (trying to conceive) when you are both settled and certain about your future together in Niigata.

*sigh* I really did not want this to turn into a post about my wanting to have a baby. 🙂 I know that you are only playing the devils advocate… but… this isn’t necessarly a hasty decision for me (us)

Its frustrating to explain, especially online for a number of reasons. If it comes across that I want a baby just because I am lonely.. then I just can’t seem to explain myself well, and to be honest there are other person things at play that I would rather not write to the whole internet lol.

I obviously don’t share every detail of my life in my blog, and I’m beginning to sort of regret writing about that, I don’t expect 100% of people to agree with me, but it does hurt to read that I’m making a hasty decision or wanting a baby for the wrong reasons when that wasn’t even the topic up for discussion in my post.

I really hope this doesn’t sound angry or rude, because that isn’t my intention at all. I guess this is one of the more controversial things I’ve posted on my blog… I do appreciate your comment and the advice, Nooh.

Sara, You are right, there is a lot more at play here that only you and Ryohei know. I am sorry if my comments upset you. That wasnt my intention.

Nooh – I’m not upset at all. I know that you didn’t even know that saying that would get a reaction like that from me (Maybe I’m just too sensitive) But either way, I think I’m going to have another chat with Ryo just to make sure we are on the same page about things. I may just close the commenting for this post since I feel like it sort of lost the original direction.

Although if anyone wants to contact me via email or facebook regarding this post please feel free to do so!

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