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Where's my best shot at a good income?

 
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MariaD2018



Joined: 26 Mar 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:48 pm    Post subject: Where's my best shot at a good income? Reply with quote

Female, 52 yo, native speaker, neutral American accent. Certified (120 hours) + additional cert in pedagogy. BA in humanities. Dual national with U.S. and E.U. passports. Looking for long-term work, at least several years, in any E.U. country (outside the E.U. is okay, too, it's just easier within it).

20+ years teaching EFL/ESL in the U.S./Asia, primarily adults in universities, companies, and private tutoring. Also course/curriculum design. Limited (volunteer) experience teaching children, I prefer adults.

20+ years as a technical writer/trainer: product documentation, user manuals, employee handbooks, classroom instruction, etc., mostly in IT. I've also edited academic books and papers and co-authored a script and translations for an academic film.

I speak/read/write Spanish, not fluent but I can converse comfortably. I also speak some basic French and Portuguese. I'm good with languages and learn quickly so I'm open to new ones.

(continued)


Last edited by MariaD2018 on Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MariaD2018



Joined: 26 Mar 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a hard worker and rather a quiet person with a quiet lifestyle, not a partier/drinker. I'm looking for an income that would allow me to live alone and save some money. A tiny studio apartment would be fine, a small house or cottage would be better, I'll rent a room in a home if need be. I typically get a gym membership (if in a city) and lease/buy a small used car so I need to include those expenses in my budget. Otherwise I live pretty modestly.

I enjoy hiking, camping, walking, bicycling; mountains and beaches. City or rural, warm or cold. I've lived the expat life many times and adapt well to wherever I live. I have a good sense of humor about life and take things as they come.

I'll be in Europe this summer starting in Ireland and traveling eastward to Poland, doing tourist things, so I can fly anywhere in Europe to interview.

What are your opinions about where I should start looking for work and when? Ideally, I'd like to write for a company from 8-5 and then do privates in the evenings and weekends but I'm certainly open to more than that (no split shifts, though; those are for people younger than I am)!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MariaD2018 wrote:
20+ years as a technical writer/trainer: product documentation, user manuals, employee handbooks, classroom instruction, etc., mostly in IT. I've also edited academic books and papers and co-authored a script and translations for an academic film.
....

Ideally, I'd like to write for a company from 8-5 and then do privates in the evenings and weekends.

Writing for a local company would likely require native fluency in the target country's language. A better path might be contracting with a US company in a situation that allows you to work remotely.

Others can comment about snagging a TEFL job in Europe.
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dragonpiwo



Joined: 04 Mar 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:30 am    Post subject: sorry Reply with quote

You won't earn anything anywhere in Europe, certainly not enough to rent a car and house. Even with all that experience, you'll be like any other TEFL teacher looking for a job. I have a house in Poland, so write that off your list as the money's dreadful these days after its golden era in the 90s when salaries were the same but it was cheap as hell.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Female, 52 yo, native speaker, neutral American accent. Certified (120 hours) + additional cert in pedagogy. BA in humanities. Dual national with U.S. and E.U. passports. Looking for long-term work, at least several years, in any E.U. country (outside the E.U. is okay, too, it's just easier within it).

20+ years teaching EFL/ESL in the U.S./Asia, primarily adults in universities, companies, and private tutoring. Also course/curriculum design. Limited (volunteer) experience teaching children, I prefer adults.

20+ years as a technical writer/trainer: product documentation, user manuals, employee handbooks, classroom instruction, etc., mostly in IT. I've also edited academic books and papers and co-authored a script and translations for an academic film.


Part 1: I disagree with dragonpiwo (as usual). I think you might find something decent, but it will require some time, commitment and, frankly, a bit of luck.

To establish my creds (and to give an idea of the limitations of my experience), I've been teaching in the EU since 1998, in 3 different countries. I have been at universities since 2001, and have contacts and partners at other universities and institutions across the region. I mentor a program that sponsors teachers across the CEE region as well; this year we have about 100 on this program.

Your paper credentials won't set you very much above the majority of candidates for university positions in most countries. The 120 hour cert is a given, though the pedagogy cert is a plus, and there are a lot of related-MA holders around these days. Many European employers are a bit wary of experience earned in Asia, as student expectations and motivations are often quite different than those in Europe. Your US experience could help to offset this, particularly if you have worked with European students in the US to any significant degree.

The academic editing experience may also be useful. This isn't work that many people want to do, and/or they aren't very good at it. This is something you will want to highlight.

Curriculum design is helpful, but of course it takes time to get to know a 'new' institution well enough to write effective courses, so this may be more useful as a secondary step.


Last edited by spiral78 on Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and as a post script: unless/until you work your way up the ladder a bit, a car probably really will be out of the budget range - however, you really don't need one in most of Europe!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 2: I think your best bet for success is to choose one or two cities that you think you'd enjoy living in. Then, come over in peak hiring season (usually early-end September) and interview in person everywhere you can get an interview. I wouldn't distain starting out in a private language school if that's what it takes to get a foot in the door in the area. The relatively few 'better' jobs on the European market (universities, international schools, and working direct for private companies) usually go to people with local connections and reputations, so it can take some time to work your way into something like this.

Actually, contrary to nomadsoul's advice above, working for a company is a fairly common way to make a bit more money (and often to have a more satisfying job) than working for a private language school. The schools generally send teachers out to companies, so working direct cuts out the middleman and thus can be more lucrative for the teacher. This also limits travel around the city to get to your students (often lessons are held in offices).

Keep in mind that university openings are few and far between. The relatively numerous MA holders on the job markets compete pretty fiercely for those that are going.

The economy of your target country also matters; there are fewer jobs in, say, Greece, Italy, and Portugal than in more central/northern countries. Netherlands and Germany are going more towards qualified locals, as in Scandinavia.

When you narrow your search, if you want to send me a PM, I might be able to provide more targeted info (or hook you up with someone who can).
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
MariaD2018 wrote:
20+ years as a technical writer/trainer: product documentation, user manuals, employee handbooks, classroom instruction, etc., mostly in IT. I've also edited academic books and papers and co-authored a script and translations for an academic film.
....

Ideally, I'd like to write for a company from 8-5 and then do privates in the evenings and weekends.

Writing for a local company would likely require native fluency in the target country's language. A better path might be contracting with a US company in a situation that allows you to work remotely.

spiral78 wrote:
Actually, contrary to nomadsoul's advice above, working for a company is a fairly common way to make a bit more money (and often to have a more satisfying job) than working for a private language school. The schools generally send teachers out to companies, so working direct cuts out the middleman and thus can be more lucrative for the teacher.

The reason I suggested the OP secure a US technical writer job that allows her to work remotely is because those positions pay an average of $65-$70,000 US a year. Her 20 years of experience would net her even more. (See https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes273042.htm.) She can still teach on the side.
.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11481
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're talking about two different things. I was referring to language teachers working directly for large companies teaching their staff - a pretty common 'better' job in Europe.

Maybe I'd better try to secure one of these technical writer gigs -heaven knows I do more than sufficient editing of technical texts to qualify!!
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Maybe I'd better try to secure one of these technical writer gigs -heaven knows I do more than sufficient editing of technical texts to qualify!!

Smile
It's funny how those with humanities degrees worry about earning a living post-TESOL. The OP's tech writing experience already gives her solid options for a good income while living abroad.
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MariaD2018



Joined: 26 Mar 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
The economy of your target country also matters; there are fewer jobs in, say, Greece, Italy, and Portugal than in more central/northern countries. Netherlands and Germany are going more towards qualified locals, as in Scandinavia.

Can you recommend some online sources about European economies? I'm looking for trends in hiring and salaries.

My relatives in Ireland tell me Spain is currently experiencing a tech/small business boom. That's my strongest European language so writing and translating would be a possibility there. I could focus on the northern part of the country, where I used to live. However, my understanding is the demand for native English speakers in Spain is filled by UK/Irish retirees who have pensions and are happy to work for next to nothing just to occupy their time, and young people who emigrate from the UK/Ireland and are just starting out and willing to work for very little. That keeps salaries (and demand) low. It might not be what I'm looking for.

Some of my ancestors came from Poland (Gdańsk) but I don't know of any relatives living there now. Poland appeals to me for its cultural and religious aspects but I know salaries are low there as well.

My choices are driven primarily by salaries, that will tell me where I want to live. If I have to ride a donkey to work, that'd be fine. Barring really extreme weather (think Oymyakon), I can be happy just about anywhere.

Thanks for the responses, all. Much appreciated.


Last edited by MariaD2018 on Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 11247
Location: The real world

PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MariaD2018 wrote:
Can you recommend some online sources about European economies? I'm looking for trends in hiring and salaries.

My relatives in Ireland tell me Spain is currently experiencing a tech/small business boom. That's my strongest European language so writing and translating would be a possibility there. I could focus on the northern part of the country, where I used to live. However, my understanding is the demand for native English speakers in Spain is filled by UK/Irish retirees who have pensions and are happy to work for next to nothing just to occupy their time, and young people who emigrate from the UK/Ireland and are just starting out and willing to work for very little. That keeps salaries (and demand) low. It might not be what I'm looking for.

Working cheap for what type of job? Tech writing is a specialized niche; it's doubtful many UK/Irish retirees and millennials have those skills or extensive experience.

Try the following basic searches:
    • In addition to an Internet search using European economy, for country-specific trends, Google employment economy [target country].
    • Since your main interest isn't TEFL... For tech writing jobs, Google technical writer jobs [target country] to get an idea of qualifications and locations.
.
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MariaD2018



Joined: 26 Mar 2018
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Working cheap for what type of job?

The jobs in question, tech writing and teaching EFL.

I can search online, it sounded like spiral78 had some particular resources in mind.
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