End of job nightmares

Hi folks,
This is a bit of a rant- if you enjoy those and maybe have some advice, read on and thank you VERY much.

I am only a few weeks from the end of my job and running into problems.
Up until about the 6 month point it was ok and I was getting good feedback, but then in the summer some students quit my classes (for various reasons) one class had to close, and I got on my managers bad side (well the new manager- we have had a big recent change of management and staff in the last 4 months).
This has been my first year teaching english and for many/most of my classes I was replacing someone with 5 years of experience (also the prior manager), so I have tried to take it in stride and improve where I can… and I have learned a lot about teaching young kids, I think.

But the social dynamic with my new manager has gotten pretty awful. She can’t speak english that well. (Or maybe she does understand she just says yes when she means no for cultural reasons. ) She will say nothing about problems or written comments from parents for months and be all smiley then yell at me all at once when its a crises…
Well… its her first time managing, and its my 1st time teaching ESL. Its hard for me as I don’t ever know where I stand, as she smiles and says yes when she means no or maybe just does not understand at all. Its frustrating. Plus I offended her badly a few months ago by asking her to double check when my payments for the ARC ended ( was in denial about how long it would take to pay off- 10 months!), and she seems to be holding a grudge, although I apologized… Other problems have followed, and I am not 100 blameless , but neither is she.

Anyways- the current issue and main q I have is over my leaving date and if I should break my contract a few days early.

I asked my boss months ago after she had it out at me about how bad I was when I should leave, and what date I should book my ticket for. I told her I wanted to do what was best for the school and kids, and asked her if she wanted me to leave early so they could replace me sooner, or serve out my contract, and if so , what my last day should be. I also offered to stay a few months longer if they needed!
At that time, she told me ( I SWEAR!) that my ARC ran out on the 10th of Feb and I had to leave the country by that date. I asked if I could work through the end of January and then take a trip, she said yes, I thanked her and told her I would book my ticket for the 10th and work through the end of Jan…
I was lucky that I accidentally booked it for the 11th, as this week, months later, she told me that ACTUALLY I have to WORK through the 10th, or I will be breaking my contract. She just smiled and acted like we never had that prior conversation. She said, oh why don’t you just change your ticket? … I think I was polite but wanted to scream…
I think she is right about the date though though as it matches my flight and arrival last year.

Stupidly I LOST my physical contract. : O so bad, I know. :blush:

All this means I will not be able to take a 10 day trip I wanted in Taiwan or visit Taipei, etc. (I have not has a chance to take a vacation longer than 4 days or visit any top tourist spots. I have been waiting till my contract ends…)

And now yesterday she changed the rules again suddenly, and refused to refund me for some bills for school supplies, because the shopkeeper had not written the date on them! Im letting it go but it was very frustrating as it was just a small fraction of the money I have spent on the kids and she knows it. We got in a big argument about it.

Im at the end, and can get through the next month. But I dont know what to do about ending my contract.
She told me it would be ok to leave 3 days early and break my contract , that I would just loose my insurance for the rest of my time in Taiwan. But as she has flip-flopped and said yes when she means no so much in the past I am scared to take her at her word.

Ideally I would leave 2 or 3 days early and at least have 5-4 days (with the weekend) to visit Taiwan. But I am scared to have more conflict at the end. I was thinking about having a meeting with the owner and the manager, but he is her father and can speak less english then her. He seems a bit more sympathetic to me though. Im just afraid this will set her off again and make her mad at me for “not trusting her”…
I feel like she is enjoying seeing me unhappy, as she thinks I need punishing… and will try to make things bad for me in petty ways if she can. At least that is what she has done so far.
The contract (as I recall, and as my co worker who I trust reminded me) said nothing about withholding pay or charging a penalty for breaking a contract. I read on this forum that it is illegal as well. But if she will be paying me the day I leave the island it will be hard to fight if she does something. :aiyo:

Any advice from veterans?

What are these payments for the ARC you speak of?

I had to pay for my arc, the passport photos, the health check and everything…Some other teachers said that this was cheap but not unheard of. It came to about 300 usd, I believe, and though it seemed like a lot Im pretty sure it was ok. Paid in monthly installments. As far as my research could determine.
Now, asking me to teach on arrival without my permits or health check, and asking me to teach a few classes at the kindergarden homework school-- that I am pretty sure IS illegal. But, I am told, very common.

Another question is about my tax refund. Is it common for the school to handle that or should I do it myself?

Before the end of the month, ask for an advance on your pay. Say you have some pressing issue involving money. Your mom is sick and needs surgery, your brother has gambling problems, etc… ask for at least 60% of the pay you’d get for the month. That way when the 10th rolls around you won’t get fully screwed if she “forgets” to pay you. Cut your losses. Absolutely do not ask to have a meeting with her and her dad. He doesn’t sympathize with you at all over his daughter’s “face”. Taiwanese people do not do confrontation. You’re experiencing what happens when the owner’s daughter becomes manager, knows fuck all about people or management and hides behind their position and your fear of them. Chalk it up, you’ve done the Taiwan thing.

Yep, cut your losses as much as possible, you can apply for the tax refund and check your employer paid your deducted taxes yourself, go into the local tax office they will help you it should all be online. Make sure to
do this now, if they haven’t paid you need them to pay or
give you the money deducted!

So both of you would recommend that I forgo travel in Taiwan and work up to the 10th and leave the country on the 11th? It is the safest route, just sad for me… . No Taipei, no hotsprings! : ( Unless I take a kinda pricy weekend trip beforehand…

Get all the money in advance if you can, see posts above. Then just walk away, and take your holiday in the last few days you’ve got. And don’t sweat it: your contract is broken, but there’s no repercussions even if you eventually decide to come back (because there’s no way in hell you’re going to work for them again anyway, is there?).

I am pretty sure that after a law change last year. The NIA will grant you a 6 month extension to you ARC once you have left you job and you old ARC runs out. I took advantage of this last year. I would take a trip to the NIA and ask them about it.

If so, You should be able to have your travel in Taiwan, and, if you feel inclined, have time to search for another job.

BTW. Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience working in Taiwan. Don’t take it personally, it can happen anywhere. I too left a (non teaching) job here, but, after taking advantage of the 6 month ARC extension, I found another job in a much better company and things have worked out well. I wish you good luck.

Why do you not know the expiration date of your ARC? Are they “holding” it for you or something? If so, that’s a big no-no. They should not have that or, obviously, your passport, either.

re- “TheTruthIsOutThere”
Good info about the ARC extension! Thanks ! My problem is that I already pre-booked my plane ticket. So if I want to take my trip I will have to to change the flight. I think its usually about a 200 usd fine… More than I want to pay. : (

And, duh- I just checked my ARC (which I have in my wallet. ) It expires on the 11th. Is it normal for the contract to end on the same day that the ARC expires ?

Yes, you can’t have an work ARC w/o an ARC. It’s funny that they are going to have you work until Tuesday. Replace you midweek.

It’s too bad that you (or your boss) didn’t know that you could easily get an ARC extension to do a little traveling after your contract and get your things in order. I had heard it was only a month extension but perhaps it is 6 months like someone mentioned earlier.

One thing to be aware of is that when they have a new teacher hired then your hours will be cut before the end of your contract. This happened to me at a chain and I told them that if I don’t have full time hours then I am going to consider the contract completed and leave the following week. They reworked the schedule after that. One thing that you will want to do is get the termination paperwork that says both parties agree that the contract has been completed.

Call the airline and ask how much it costs to change your ticket. It may be significantly less than $200. Even if it is that much, consider doing it anyway – it will be much more expensive to fly back to Taiwan at some future date on vacation.

Sorry to tell you this but the date on the ARC is just for reference. Your boss can cancel it anytime without your knowledge and you could be overstaying since they are in no obligation to inform you. The validity of your ARC depends on the contract that rules the time. The date printed on the ARC is just for reference. Only the boss, who knows when they presented the paperwork to NIA to cancel your ARC, is aware of the true dates. Hence, heads up!

As said, you can go to NIA and get an extension -preferably now, since it has to be done before the ARC expires. I would advice to check the situation with them and get an extension pronto.

As everyone has said, given the dark nature of your boss, I strongly advise you to DO NOT plan to leave the day after you finish working. This, as you have already experienced, is being used against you by your boss as her tool of manipulation. Please do not share any more information with her or anyone at work, for that matter. make the extension and if you don’t use it, no problem, but you will have a cushion, a leeway, for fighting if the going gets tough. You do have rights and many recourses. Please do not cut your loses and let them win. Truly we are not advising confrontation but being cheated out of legal pay/engaging in illegal practices like holding pay is a no/no and no.

Cool, thanks for all the advice…
I will try to find the office and file my taxes…and keep it on the down-low as much as I can, though I think I need a letter from my boss to claim the taxes.

Good point about the hours - There is a minimum number on my contract, so they have to give me at least that. I actually would not mind if there were 2 or so hours less the last week- I would have more time to sort things out. But they are taking so long to find my replacement that who knows what will happen!
I called the airline and it is WAY too expensive to change my ticket. 900! So that option, and the ARC extension, is out for me.
I think I will plan to break my contract 2 days early on the friday before. (So I wont leave mid-week.) I will get my tax money myself beforehand, request my pay the week before my last week, so I can wire it all home…and get paid for the last week in cash. I will ask for termination paperwork the week before to take with me when I leave the country… If I do it this way I will have the option of staying and filing a complaint if they try to withhold pay my final week. Hopefully nothing will happen.

I am not sure if my boss is really DARK. Its funny that her main complaint against me is that she thinks that I “think she is a bad person”, which she finds offensive… But that causes her to be angry with me and play that role. Its lame all around. If she DID lie to me on purpose about the day I should book my flight, that was very f’d up. But I can’t say for sure- she could have just been clueless. Either way, its a huge pain in my butt, and I need to be very careful because I don’t have any support from her.
In this case, because of the ticketing issue, I think I feel better about breaking the contract a few days early than not breaking it and working up till the day before I leave the country. At least this way I will have 4 days in-country to figure things out after I am done. … and hopefully I can visit a hotspring.
Thanks everyone, its tricky to navigate this mess , but it would be impossible without help. :slight_smile: :smiley:

It is quite possible for her to be fucked up AND clueless, of course.

If she is offended you are suspicious, that is her problem. She is being shady. 9000 nts for ARC processing?! I have heard of blood sucking agents, but that is, IMHO, a bit too much. I mean, it is already too late to complain for that one, you already paid, but I have heard of many bosses discounting things left and right to scam the new teachers. Being suspicious at that is of no fault of anyone but them.

BTW, the only deductions by Law from your salary should be the taxes and your national health insurance. Those have to be paid before you leave -good excuse to have your money owed paid in advance- or you ain’t getting on that plane. That simple. What percentage is your boss deducting? How are you going to get your tax return if you are already out of the country? Normally, you get a nice big chunk of money back, so don’t neglect this item.

Thank you for validating my paranoia…
Its been hard since I was hired- I was an on the spot replacement so they did not do the paperwork. The lady at the visa counter gave me a talking too and told me if I was working on my travel visa it was ILLEGAL… Which was a lame welcome to Taiwan. So I have been slightly suspicious from the get go. Its hard to be on your own in a new country, and a little scary- I wish my boss could understand that. Oh well.
Hey a final q- do I need a letter from my boss or some official proof of employment to get my tax refund? I asked a local friend and she called the office. They said I just need the receipts. I have these envelopes they gave me my pay in with the deductions written out in pen, is that enough? Or do they need a company letterhead? My friend is going with me to the tax office so I don’t want to waste her time.

I’d say official proof of employment would be your ARC stating your school location as place of work. That is kosher, right?

[quote=“penelopeFreeze”]re- “TheTruthIsOutThere”
Good info about the ARC extension! Thanks ! My problem is that I already pre-booked my plane ticket. So if I want to take my trip I will have to to change the flight. I think its usually about a 200 usd fine… More than I want to pay. : ([/quote]

I have never ever paid any fine or fee for changing any of my tickets.
I even used a ticket one year after it had been expired.

The law is that the airline that brought you here is also responsible for getting you off the island. At least I think so, cause, I think that’s why they care so much about your visa when checking in/boarding.

Call them and tell them sorry I am sick and can’t travel.

And when you are done with your shady employer, don’t forget putting him/her here on the blacklist.