Another HESS thread

Hello, all, on Forumosa. Just joined today. I’ll make my concerns/questions short and concise. If you could do me a huge service, I’d like you to tell me all you know/your experiences regarding them. My wife is a Tainan native, and we are planning to move back to her home Taiwan for a time. We’ve been together 8 years now, and I feel it is time to learn her native tongue (looooooooong overdue), be closer with her family, and concurrently expand my view of the world/take a look at her end of things.

We’re both fairly educated people, with her having an E.D.s in TEFL and myself having recently acquired a Masters in Counseling (BFA in English/Creative Writing). Well, I was not ready to move onto the state licensure process in regards to counseling. This is a long process. That is on hold for now, because I feel it is time to do the above, while also getting a chance to gain some financial leverage, so we can come back to the states and I can finish my studies/internship on my terms without worry of financial woes. I have lofty goals of starting a travel blog (I know, they don’t pay off for a long time, if at all), taking on some side work, and learning how to invest monies toward making more monies (I know nothing of it, but plan to work hard in learning, from the ground up).

My concerns are that I have been hired by HESS for May 15th. After reading many bad reports about this company, among a few good reports, I am concerned if I’m making the right choice:

  1. I’ve been hired for the standard 580NT per hour. Is this non-negotiable? Does one’s education level grant any leverage in wages? These wages are the same, or even lower, than wages I’m reading about from several years ago. Surely, inflation is occurring in Taiwan,as it is in every other industrialized nation. What should I think of this?

  2. Just how many unpaid hours will there be for a teacher who takes a 20-hour contract? I’ve reconsidered, and I will drop down to the 20-hour to begin with.

  3. What are the schools like in Chiayi City? This is where I will be, speculatively, as we wanted to be close to Amy’s parents in Tainan.

  4. The HESS representatives have stated I am responsible for my air ticket to Taiwan. Many other schools cover airfare as part of the hiring process, no? I’ve heard from others that they’ve seen claims of airfare being covered by HESS in other ads across the netsphere. Has anyone here worked for HESS and had their airfare to TW covered?

I’ve applied at several other schools as well. I have not heard a word from anyone other than HESS. And while I am not for going into this with a negative attitude or assumptions, I cannot help but feel I should have some concerns. After several years of education/incurring debts, I’ve worked this past year in lumber work/road construction. I was taken advantage of badly this past year. Granted, I put myself there, and I did not complain after resigning from both underpaid/overworked positions. I’ve known hard work all my life.

I just want to know, am I setting myself up for another such position in a different realm of work? Give me all and any thoughts you have on these ramblings, please. I’m very concerned. Thanks so much. Glad to be part of the forums.

Sincerely,

Eric

P.S.- I’d love to learn how to add an avatar picture here, heh. Any pointers on how to do that. Computer illiteracy FTL.

Bump. I could really use some insight, guys.

Don’t think too much: Just do it. Think of it as a working holiday.

If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back to lumber work and road construction back home.

[quote]1) I’ve been hired for the standard 580NT per hour. Is this non-negotiable? Does one’s education level grant any leverage in wages? These wages are the same, or even lower, than wages I’m reading about from several years ago. Surely, inflation is occurring in Taiwan,as it is in every other industrialized nation. What should I think of this?
[/quote]

It’s non-negotiable, or at least I’ve never heard of anyone negotiating the starting wage at Hess. Think of it like McDonald’s; they might negotiate a little bit for management positions, but not for the guy flipping burgers. You’re going to be flipping burgers.

[quote]2) Just how many unpaid hours will there be for a teacher who takes a 20-hour contract? I’ve reconsidered, and I will drop down to the 20-hour to begin with.
[/quote]

You should have about 20-30 minutes of making per class, per week. That’s normal in teaching though. Personally, I’ve never had a teaching job, in Taiwan or in Canada, that didn’t require a certain amount of unpaid prep/marking.

[quote]4) The HESS representatives have stated I am responsible for my air ticket to Taiwan. Many other schools cover airfare as part of the hiring process, no? I’ve heard from others that they’ve seen claims of airfare being covered by HESS in other ads across the netsphere. Has anyone here worked for HESS and had their airfare to TW covered?
[/quote]

No cram school in Taiwan that I know of covers airfare.

All things being equal, Hess isn’t a bad first job in Taiwan. You could do worse.

Good luck!

Get your JFRV (with your Taiwanese wife). Work in other industries. Tell HESS to shove it.

But many like to claim they do. Once you get here, they let you know you can pick it up at the end of the year when you’ve fulfilled the contract.
The following year, they offer the same money as a ‘contract renewal bonus’, usually written with the Freudian slip ‘resign bonus’.

If you don’t resign after the second year, you are probably complaining about the lack of the new year red envelope the local employees get.

But you did get it. It was just repackaged as ‘airfare recovery’, ‘resign bonus’, or ‘pay rise more than double your co-teacher’.

A lot of people coming to Taiwan are urgently seeking a job on day one. And many of them start with hess for good or bad. You are not one of those people. I suggest you do a lot of research before you arrive but not lock into anything until you have checked out the place yourself.

Tainan is a much larger city than Chiayi with a larger foreigner group who are very easy to find and meet.

You might not find much financial leverage here as salaries are low for both local and foreigner. Maybe try for a language scholarship but learning Chinese might be the best thing you can do in Taiwan for long term future.

I would give HESS a miss unless you’re desperate for money. There are far better teaching jobs for someone as articulate as you. I say study Chinese for a bit and try to make some friends- it might take a while but you’ll likely work your way into something decent.

HESS plans their lessons in 5 minute increments and isn’t really the place for someone who’s motivated and thinking for themselves (in my opinion).