My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

#NotAboutThatLife Part One

By this time, I realized that working as an ALT was not a sustainable career choice and I needed to accelerate my plans on making a career change a lot sooner than I thought, because if I didn’t then I’d be in deep waters.

I’m going to fast forward a little bit to the part when by the grace of God, somewhere during these turbulent times, I met a very special person who brought new fulfillment and happiness in my life. Challenged me to become a better version of myself every day. And eventually would become my life partner who I’d travel around the world with. This person helped me through some of my toughest times and even pointed me in the direction that would lead me to realize my career calling.

It was during this time when I realized where I actually wanted to be career-wise. After going through a whole lot of soul-searching and career tests, I knew from this point on that I wanted to break into the IT field. It was a field that was much more suited toward my personal interests and natural talents. But there was definitely no way I’d land a job in the tech field at that time since I was only getting started. I knew that if I wanted to have any sort of fighting chance, I’d have to do a lot of studying, networking and resume-building beforehand if I wanted to be successful. And that would obviously take some planning and a lot of time.

The priority however was to first GET OUT from the ALT biz and from Interac, and find a better job. At this point, a better job was basically any job with a salary higher than the one I currently had, even if it was another teaching job. The goal was to find a job that would at least get me out of poverty-level living, and would allow me the time, energy, and financial resources needed to focus on starting to make my career change.

I signed up for multiple job boards to get me started with my search. Here are some of the main ones I used:

These were all great services, but the one that ultimately helped me out the most was a local service based here in Sapporo, but covers areas also outside of Hokkaido. This service is Hokkaido Insider and is run by Ken Hartmann, a long-standing member of the Hokkaido community β€” I could not recommend his service enough.

In fact, JapanTimes.co.jp wrote an article about his amazing life story and contributions to the Hokkaido expat community, check it out!

>>> http://www.hokkaidoinsider.com/HOKKAIDO-INSIDER/FAQ.html <<<

Hokkaido Insider is basically an email subscription service to job listings that you won’t normally find on other job boards. To get a feel for what I mean, here’s a screenshot of my inbox:

Hokkaido-Insider-Job-Subscription-Service.png
Within a month, I received 12 different job listings ranging from part-time to full-time, to even university level positions. This is literally inside scoop material that you would never be able to find on your own.

Perhaps with a stroke of luck and some vigilant job post watching, I eventually found a teaching position as a native English teacher for a private high school.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 9.54.04.png
BINGO

Getting the position at the school was not hard, and I believe most of it had to do with my prior experience as an ALT. Another factor that I believe played a large part in me getting the role was the fact that Ken directly passed on my resume to the principal and personally recommended me.

I met with the principal at the school a few days later, and what I thought would be a formal interview ended up being just a semi-casual meeting. I was asked a few general questions about myself and then after some more back-and-forth small talk, I was asked when I could start, and that was it. Direct hire position achieved!

For the time being, I was finally set free from the time-consuming mentally-draining soul-crushing minutia that is ALT work.

***Maxceed was Interac’s alternate name for the company’s existence specifically in Hokkaido.

+++++

My ALT Timeline (3yrs)

  • 2011 Feb 02 – Submit Online Application
  • 2011 April 28 – Phone Screening Request
  • 2011 May 06 – Phone Screening
  • 2011 May 21 – Interview Seminar
  • 2011 June 02 – Offer of Employment
  • 2011 August 15 – Japan Arrival + Training (15th~20th)
  • 2011 August 21 – Sapporo Arrival
  • 2011 September 01 – START
  • 2014 August 15 – LAST DAY

Jump to a Section

  1. Oh So Bittersweet
  2. Post-University Life
  3. Sapporo: My Second New Home
  4. My ALT Experience
  5. Living On The Poverty Line
  6. #NotAboutThatLife Part One
  7. #NotAboutThatLife Part Deux
  8. Learn To Code The Hard Way
  9. Democratize Publishing Part One
  10. Democratize Publishing Part Deux
  11. Welcome To The Chaos

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Movement. Growth. Ambition. Everything Builds.

12 thoughts on “My Journey of How I Went From Teaching English in Japan to a Career in Tech With The Coolest Company in the World

  1. Thanks for sharing your story, Paulo. Even though I knew the outcome I still held my breath a little there at the end, nervous for you! The GIFs were perfect too. Congrats on finding a career you love and on your beautiful family as well!

  2. I believe they’re always hiring. Lol. How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses? I’m planning to apply, and I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog. I think I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application.

    1. I’m pretty glad I ran into your blog.

      Thanks for stopping by! And I’m glad you were also able find something useful πŸ™‚

      How long did it take you to do all those self-taught courses?

      In total, give or take 3 years β€” a bit long, but this was on top of a full-time job, parenting, and not having any background in web development. And I literally dipped my hand into everything i.e. programming, digital marketing, design, etc.

      I might do the same thing you did – take a lot of courses to prepare myself for the application

      Yeah, that would definitely help! If I were to look back on what I could have done to prepare more effectively, maybe I would’ve considered focusing more on CSS proficiency, WooCommerce, and making sure I know how to work & navigate the WordPress.com platform like the back of my hand πŸ˜„

      I’d be glad to answer any other questions, so feel free to shoot an email anytime: https://peaeb.blog/contact/

  3. What a journey! I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.
    I’m currently learning JavaScript with TreeHouse and Codecademy at the same time, using the second to practice rather than as the primary source of learning tool. I’ve also learned CSS, HTML and Python from Codecademy but I might need to practice and start working on some websites of my own, to experiment and stuff.
    While the degree I’m pursuing at university is not related to tech at all, I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

    1. I recently applied to become a Happiness Engineer, and I’m very anxious. This would be my dream job and I can’t wait for my first interview.

      Nice, and best of luck! If you haven’t already, check out the Happiness Engineer blog:

      https://happinessengineer.blog/

      I really want to be a developer and I think the best way to do it debt free is through self-teaching.

      Absolutely. Being self-motivated to continuously learn is an invaluable quality to have. Keep at it, and you’ll eventually find that many opportunities start opening up for you πŸ™‚

  4. Hey,
    This is the very first time, I read any post for word by word without any break. Most of the time, I read few sentences and just get the overview.

    But your post and the journey to Automatic keep me curious to read what will happen in the next line.
    It will really awesome.
    It also encouraging me to do my preparations for Automatic.

    Thank you for inspiring. πŸ™‚

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