Should I use a
Are they all bad?
Tough issue. I used one for my first job. And this was
back when many recruiters charged as much as US$500 for
placement. (pre-Internet they could get away with
that!) Even though I had been in the Peace Corps, I was
not an EFL teacher in the PC, I still had no idea where
to start. So, I used one - and it worked out.
my first placement problem free? Hell no! I lived in
eight places in the first eight months (from literally a
closet to a shared apartment, to finally - a nice new
apartment). My first school got out of the TEFL
business and left me essentially unemployed in a strange
land. But, my recruiter handled it all and actually got
me upgraded to a college job. All of a sudden I went
from one week of vacation per year - to four months paid
and no. I was patient and dealt with my recruiter in a
reasonable way. I asked for their assistance. I
didn't demand it, swear at them, call them crooks and
criminals, or demand an investigation! Many others did
react in such ways. Because I was reasonable - and
behaved in a culturally appropriate way - my recruiter
tried hard to solve my problems and - in the end - did a
Western Assertiveness - (this IS important!)
Western assertiveness an be your greatest downfall.
Other cultures deal with problems in different ways.
Try to learn the most appropriate way to get things done
- to get the things done that you want done. I
always knew what I wanted, what I needed, but I used
their cultural behavior to get it done. Overassertive
behavior would not have worked. I got what I wanted,
many others didn't. I don't care who is right or who is
wrong. I just want done what I need to have done.
Period. Follow the cultural rules. They work.
What did I say for getting things done - even when it
wasn't my fault and I knew someone was jacking me
around? "I'm sorry I am such a problem - can you help
me with this?" Another one that works well is, "What
would you do if you had this problem?" Swallow your
pride. Life overseas is more like a fun cultural game.
Learn how to play it - so YOU win. It is fun and
challenging to figure out.
"What would you do . . ." question got me a driver's
license in Taiwan, only seconds after the same clerk
told me it was impossible - as my USA license had
expired a few days before. I asked her the question -
she stamped the forms - and gave me my license! Getting
angry and assertive would not have worked. She was
right, she was following the law and had every right to
refuse my request. But because I asked for her
help and advice - she gave me a license.
Recruiter or Not?
to you. Check them out - ask on the boards. BUT -
check out the employer just as you would if you found
the job yourself. Because a recruiter finds you a job,
does not mean you have to take it! Check out every
Would I use one again?
Sure, if I thought it would help me find what I wanted.
Do most people overseas agree with me? Probably not.
But why not take every advantage you can to improve your