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Is AEON a cult?
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1201
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My understanding is that it depends on where you are based and what accommodation they are offering. Although the official line is that you must have their accommodation, if it's a LeoPalace/gaijin house , they will often let you leave and choose somewhere else instead. But if it's a leased apartment and AEON have coughed up the deposit and key money, you are stuck with it.

The logic being that once you move on they will have to pay out again to get a new place for your replacement. So you have to pay for it, cos it's part of your contract.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1116
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nobody has the exact details (again, I wish we had some real Aeon employees on the forum) so it's difficult to reach any firm conclusions, but this policy might not be as nasty as it sounds.

For those who aren't aware of the Japanese housing situation, I should explain why the policy exists. Renting a half-decent apartment in Japan can be hard. You have to pay the equivalent of several months rent upfront ("key money"), a big chunk of which will never be refunded, and many landlords are reluctant to accept foreigners. Many schools solve this problem by finding the apartment for you, paying the upfront costs, and letting you pay it back in monthly instalments over the first year of your contract.

So in principle, this needn't be a problem. But the devil's in the details. Do Aeon explain what's going on upfront? Do they allow teachers to opt out and get their own place? Do they allow teachers to buy their way out early, and are the charges reasonable? If so, that's fine. But if not, I'd treat that as a big neon warning sign that you'll have to watch out for your own interests, and leave at the first reasonable opportunity.

By the way, does anyone have info about Aeon's policy on health insurance? If they're pushing teachers onto a private health insurance scheme instead of shakai hoken or kokumin kenko hoken, that would be another big warning sign.
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rxk22



Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 1627

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if Aeon does this, but I know other schools and ALT companies will help you get a place. Only problem is, you pay above market rates for it. Which most likely gets skjmmed off and shared between theandlord and the school.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1116
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rxk22 wrote:
Only problem is, you pay above market rates for it.
What's the market rate for a furnished and equipped apartment that you don't have to search for, with nothing to pay upfront?
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 1201
Location: Ecuador

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's on their recruitment website
http://www.aeonet.com/application-requirements/contract-stipulations-benefits/

55,000y / month flat rate for accommodation. Around here that's a good deal, would that be considered overpriced in other areas? In most cases teachers cannot get out of it though (unless they are in a Gaijin house, but my limited experience suggests few are). It's written into the contract/handbook.

That's one of the downside of going with a company that does most of its recruiting overseas. It attracts the people who are looking for a babysitter, and that seems to be the ones they pander to.

Health insurance is government, not private.

Their site also lists the overtime rate as 3,000y /hr, which is the same rate friends there have told me they get. Although the OP insisted that AEON don't pay overtime.
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Solar Strength



Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 557
Location: Bangkok, Thailand

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
rxk22 wrote:
Only problem is, you pay above market rates for it.
What's the market rate for a furnished and equipped apartment that you don't have to search for, with nothing to pay upfront?


You need to settle down. Throughout this thread you've been acting like a jackass.

Several eikawa chains have provided new teachers with accommodations at higher than market rates (often much higher), and, no, posters here hadn't need to have worked at AEON to know this.

You seem to be someone who has been in Japan a long time, so why does eikaiwa companies charging exorbitant rents for their housing surprise you?

Pitarou's posts confirm one thing: No one is harder on gaijin than fellow gaijin.
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rxk22



Joined: 19 May 2010
Posts: 1627

PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
rxk22 wrote:
Only problem is, you pay above market rates for it.
What's the market rate for a furnished and equipped apartment that you don't have to search for, with nothing to pay upfront?


Good question. Though from what I have seen, is that you just pay more for the company to guarantee you. 'Furnished' usually means, an old table, fridge, and a futon. That really maybe cost 3δΈ‡ at the recycle shop. Now if you are getting a proper furnished apt, and don't have to pay the security deposit, that is great. From the eikaiwa and ALT apts that I have seen, that is not the case. Aeon might be different, I am not sure.

A good example, I worked for an eikaiwa, and my coworker lived in a LP. He paid the secuirty deposit, and was paying 5,000 over market rate. As the other places in that building were all 5,000 less than what he was paying. So he was just paying for his company to sponsor him really
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1116
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar Strength wrote:
Pitarou wrote:
rxk22 wrote:
Only problem is, you pay above market rates for it.
What's the market rate for a furnished and equipped apartment that you don't have to search for, with nothing to pay upfront?
You need to settle down. Throughout this thread you've been acting like a jackass.

Several eikawa chains have provided new teachers with accommodations at higher than market rates (often much higher), and, no, posters here hadn't need to have worked at AEON to know this.

You seem to be someone who has been in Japan a long time, so why does eikaiwa companies charging exorbitant rents for their housing surprise you?

What gave you the impression I was surprised? I merely questioned whether the rent was as overpriced as some were suggesting. And it prompted rxk22 to expand on his early comment in a thoughtful and informative way. I think that's a good result, don't you?
Solar Strength wrote:
Pitarou's posts confirm one thing: No one is harder on gaijin than fellow gaijin.

I don't get you. The only person I've been hard on is rslrunner, and he's had it coming for months. I'm just trying to get at the facts behind the grumbles. Grumbles are what alert us to a problem. Facts are what help us deal with them.

And, in fact, Aeon's housing policy is an excellent example of this. Since nobody else seems to have the information, I went and googled for it myself. Here's what I found:
Quote:
[Aeon's] Foreign Teachers' Policy Manual states that "the employee may be required to compensate the employer for the losses incurred as a result of the employee's decision to change apartments".
Source: http://www.generalunion.org/aeon/news/350

So on the face of it, it looks like teachers aren't required to stay in the housing after all. And I see no indication that the charges are unreasonable (if they were, I can assure you that the General Union would be screaming about it). Of course, there's more to the story than that but, in a nutshell, teachers who are still paying rent after they leave are either clueless or intimidated.

If they're intimidated, we need to know that Aeon intimidates its teachers.

If they're clueless, we need to know that Aeon lies to its staff.

Combining this with rslrunner's original complaint, from eight months back, about how he was talked into surrendering his visa, it seems that Aeon might have a culture of lying to their staff. That's very important to know.

Unfortunately, that information isn't going to reach the right people. The kind of person who takes their time to learn about Aeon before they join the company is the kind of person who wouldn't fall for management lies anyway.
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if or how much AEON overcharges for the apartments. Yes, you can leave the apartment, but you will have to pay for the apartment you are leaving for the duration of the contract.

I see both sides in the discussion about housing. You are locked into a housing arrangement for the duration of the contract from a financial point of view, but you do not have to worry about finding a place, which is congenial to gaijin neophytes.

AEON did not lie to me about the visa. I want to be very clear about that. I asked if I would be able to keep it, and an AEON rep. told me that it was up to me, but I may have some tax liability after one year if I were to keep the visa. This statement is technically true on its face, but on closer examination, there was no good reason for me to cancel the visa before I left, and I would have been better off not taking this, um, suggestion.

I think it is rare for someone from AEON to outright lie. They pay people on time. AEON also paid people during the earthquake, even though teachers were not teaching. As an organization, they monitor themselves strictly. Now, this does not mean that they are open and transparent or even sincere in my opinion, and my original post still stands. But the organization is both principled and smart enough to know that lying outright is unacceptable and counter-productive.

___________________________________________________________

What could I have done differently for my first week of orientation?

1. First and foremost, I should have held off on coming to Japan until I was healthy, and I should have been upfront about my medical situation as soon as I got there. There may have been a price to pay, but if I was taken to the hospital, it would have become clear that I was sick. The reality was that I was not prepared for the week when I was having chronic coughing fits.

2. I would have tried to get to Japan earlier before the orientation. It takes a few days to adjust to any time zone, and it is particularly important to be prepared for the first week.

3. New hires were given a video to watch before their arrival in Japan in which the teaching method is demonstrated. I saw that video twice, and I should have seen it dozens of times. I read the through the contract stipulations, which is 80 pages in length, small print, single-spaced. While that information is nice, the most vital information to focus on was the lesson plan.

3. I overthought the whole process, in the sense that I was focusing on little details within the lesson plan instead of the overall flow of it. I just needed to model, copy and imitate what I needed to do.

4. I was nervous that I had to learn the lesson methodology of one type of lesson in a day while under the weather, and resentful that I had so little time from my perspective. These negative emotions came to the surface. It made the AEON staff uncomfortable, and certainly hurt my chances.

5. Big picture: I wanted to do too many things in my own way after I fell behind quickly, which was precisely the wrong thing to do in that situation. I had to give up some personal control, and I simply was not able to do that.

6. Related to number 5, I didn't want to be told things that I considered "small stuff" when I was behind the ball with the lesson plans. When I bowed while saying "Ohio Gozaimus" to the AEON staff, I bowed for two seconds instead of three seconds. When I was reviewing the lessons with a staff member, I was told to keep my hands off my hips. I was told to correct these mistakes. In my mind and heart, I didn't want to bother with these things when the lesson plans loomed, and that probably showed up in facial expressions and and my body language, even unconsciously. The reality is, there is no small stuff over there, and I had to be willing to act like a sponge and soak up all of the information, both large and small, at the same time.

7. In addition to being physically sick, towards the last couple of days, I was emotionally unhappy as well. Expressing feelings of confusion, frustration, sadness, regret simply were unhelpful, and I was not able to keep those feelings in check, to my detriment.

8. I was also hostile to criticism as well by the end of my time there, which is simply not possible in the AEON environment.

9. If I were to get into the mind of an AEON rep. who is aware of the situation, they might summarize the whole situation as follows when talking to me: "You made the whole situation a mess all by yourself. There were staff members who were dedicated to getting you up to speed, but instead of following their advice, you were literally too full of yourself to change. Instead, you see this grand conspiracy when we simply ask everyone else to do the exact same thing. Other people can do this. Why can't you?"

What can people considering AEON learn from all this? A new AEON hire has to be willing to be open to suggestion pretty much constantly, and be able to copy and model the lesson plans and the personal behavior that the company deems appropriate.

For people considering AEON, I hope this helps in one way or another.
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Pitarou



Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 1116
Location: Narita, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, rslrunner. That's really helpful. I take back everything I said earlier.
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pitarou wrote:
Thanks, rslrunner. That's really helpful. I take back everything I said earlier.


Well, I appreciate the sentiment, but I am not sure why you are taking back what you said earlier. I haven't taken anything back myself.

Are you willing to cede control over your personality and behavior to someone else? That's the serious question that all applicants should consider before proceeding.
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natsume



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 409
Location: Chongqing, China

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rslrunner wrote:


Are you willing to cede control over your personality and behavior to someone else? That's the serious question that all applicants should consider before proceeding.


This is what has puzzled me about this thread from the beginning. Doesn't one have to do this for most service industry jobs? McDonald's to Starbucks to Macy's? Workers must conform to a corporate model/norm in behavior and dress, or they just won't fit in to the "culture" of the company, and thus won't work there. It is my understanding that eikaiwa are service industry jobs more than "just" language schools. That was my understanding years ago when I was considering working for one, and it was one of the reasons I didn't want to (and wound up not having to).

Regardless, "cult" is needless and unhelpful hyperbole in this context.

Rslrunner, I do appreciate your last long post, it clarified things.
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

natsume wrote:
rslrunner wrote:


Are you willing to cede control over your personality and behavior to someone else? That's the serious question that all applicants should consider before proceeding.


This is what has puzzled me about this thread from the beginning. Doesn't one have to do this for most service industry jobs? McDonald's to Starbucks to Macy's? Workers must conform to a corporate model/norm in behavior and dress, or they just won't fit in to the "culture" of the company, and thus won't work there. It is my understanding that eikaiwa are service industry jobs more than "just" language schools. That was my understanding years ago when I was considering working for one, and it was one of the reasons I didn't want to (and wound up not having to).

Regardless, "cult" is needless and unhelpful hyperbole in this context.

Rslrunner, I do appreciate your last long post, it clarified things.


I wrote the last long post to point out what I could have done better. I did not state, of course, that I really never should have been there to begin with, because I am not temperamentally inclined to have people treat me like an object.

Of course, any work environment in general and service job in particular requires employees to adhere to professional standards and conduct. The goal is to create a better product and to meet certain standards for business processes that are tangible and clear for everyone to know and see.

But with AEON, YOU, the teacher, are the product. And as the product, AEON sees fit to determine who and what they want you to be. What's worse, they do not tell you how they intend to change you while in Japan, and how one is forced to be on the receiving end of an unequal power arrangement that far transcends traditional business concerns. While AEON is extraordinarily meticulous in many areas, they are very vague in this respect. There is a reason for that.

One post had an AEON employee state, and I wish I had heard this myself, that they want to mold people. Not so they can meet certain standards, but to mold people as an end in itself. There is a name for organizations that seek to mold people as an end in itself. They are called cults. Cults do not have to be evil or sinister. But they are always in the business of social control.

I do not think there is any hyperbole here at all. None.
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jmatt



Joined: 29 Apr 2012
Posts: 122

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rslrunner wrote:
natsume wrote:
rslrunner wrote:


Are you willing to cede control over your personality and behavior to someone else? That's the serious question that all applicants should consider before proceeding.


This is what has puzzled me about this thread from the beginning. Doesn't one have to do this for most service industry jobs? McDonald's to Starbucks to Macy's? Workers must conform to a corporate model/norm in behavior and dress, or they just won't fit in to the "culture" of the company, and thus won't work there. It is my understanding that eikaiwa are service industry jobs more than "just" language schools. That was my understanding years ago when I was considering working for one, and it was one of the reasons I didn't want to (and wound up not having to).

Regardless, "cult" is needless and unhelpful hyperbole in this context.

Rslrunner, I do appreciate your last long post, it clarified things.


I wrote the last long post to point out what I could have done better. I did not state, of course, that I really never should have been there to begin with, because I am not temperamentally inclined to have people treat me like an object.

Of course, any work environment in general and service job in particular requires employees to adhere to professional standards and conduct. The goal is to create a better product and to meet certain standards for business processes that are tangible and clear for everyone to know and see.

But with AEON, YOU, the teacher, are the product. And as the product, AEON sees fit to determine who and what they want you to be. What's worse, they do not tell you how they intend to change you while in Japan, and how one is forced to be on the receiving end of an unequal power arrangement that far transcends traditional business concerns. While AEON is extraordinarily meticulous in many areas, they are very vague in this respect. There is a reason for that.

One post had an AEON employee state, and I wish I had heard this myself, that they want to mold people. Not so they can meet certain standards, but to mold people as an end in itself. There is a name for organizations that seek to mold people as an end in itself. They are called cults. Cults do not have to be evil or sinister. But they are always in the business of social control.

I do not think there is any hyperbole here at all. None.


For one who worked for the company for a grand total of, what was it, 3 days, you sure know a lot about AEON.

You were asked to leave not only the company, but the country, after those 3 days. Anyone here who knows anything about the Eikaiwa industry knows that is an extremely rare occurrence and says far more about you than them.

It's time man. Put it behind you and move on. You're starting to seem a little unhinged.
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rslrunner



Joined: 12 Feb 2010
Posts: 252

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jmatt wrote:


You were asked to leave not only the company, but the country, after those 3 days. .


This is not true. I was never asked to leave the country.
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