Well, today is April Fool’s Day. What does that mean here in Taiwan? Not a hell of a lot. They have a translation for it, but people just sort of say, “Okay,” and carry on… No, today will not be an April Fool’s Day entry.
How many times have we listened to our parents say things like, “Go find a job. No one will come knocking at the door to give you one!” Or how about this saying, “Opportunity Knocks”. Or, “Seize the Opportunity”
What is an ‘opportunity’? A website that I frequent to help describe words for kids when I’m at a loss, is http://www.dictionary.com. Now, this may not be the best source, but when all I have is my iPhone in class, it helps. It states:
op·por·tu·ni·ty [op-er-too-ni-tee, -tyoo-] Show IPA
1. an appropriate or favorable time or occasion: Their meeting afforded an opportunity to exchange views.
2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.
3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
1350–1400; ME opportunite < MF < L opportūnitās convenience, fitness, equiv. to opportūn(us) (see opportune) + -itās- -ity
Okay, so what does all this mean? Personally, I equate the word opportunity to meaning number 2. This is what has transpired over the past few years.
Living in Ontario, way back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was living in London. After having a few odd jobs, and getting a bit of 'cabin fever', I decided to take a long weekend and go on a trip. At that time (and, by the way, I still practice this, but to a larger degree), I used to save all my pennies (1 cent coins). Every time I got one or two or a handful, into the jug they'd go. I had, at the time, about 4 jugs full of pennies. I took them to the bank, cashed them in, and had enough cash to afford me a train trip to Ottawa for four days, and 3 nights stay at the YMCA. Okay, not luxurious surroundings, but it was cheap. I also got used to eating once a day. Hey, this was an opportunity to change my life.
I was given the opportunity to work in Ottawa, on the condition that I MOVE to Ottawa. So I did. Over the 18 years I spent there, I had many opportunities of work. I started out doing temp work. Then the opportunity arose to work at Agriculture Canada. Then an opportunity opened up for me at the Minister of Agriculture's office on Parliament Hill. Then an opportunity to become an assistant manager at Consumer's Distributing. An opportunity at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions. Then the opportunity to work in a casino in New Westminster, BC. An opportunity to finally see a bit of the world, and work in Taiwan. You never really know what kind of opportunities you have, until you look back. W-O-W!
Now, in Taiwan. I thought I'd be working in Taipei, but alas, that was not to be. I would be shuttled to a smallish community in southern Taiwan, called Gangshan. I spent about 4 months there, and realized, this was insane. I still wanted to teach, but Gangshan just didn't have the opportunities that larger cities had. So, I had the opportunity to work in Tainan. I had the opportunity to purchase all the belongings of a teacher who was going back to Canada. I had the opportunity of working for a large language school, but I turned that opportunity down. In retrospect, this was one opportunity I could afford to turn away. And it has done me well!
I had the opportunity to return for a second year, then a third year, then more work, more jobs. Now I find myself with almost too much work, and not enough time to get it all done. I do, however, enjoy this work immensely. I put 110% if not more, of my time and effort into my work. I have built a damn good reputation for myself, and the various places I work, realize that. Yes, I may be a hard and difficult teacher, but damn it, they pay me good money, to do a job, the parents want to see results, and I'm just not a 'games' teacher. If you want me to work for your company playing games, then my babysitting rates are a hell of lot higher than you are willing to pay!
Nonetheless, I have had a couple of unique opportunities that I don't think a lot of people actually get. When I talk about my parents saying that, "… no one will knock on my door…", well, I'd like to say that, if you are good, and in demand, people will '… knock at the door…'.
This has now happened at least three times since being in Taiwan. I had one school that would not hire an English teacher for their classes, until I was able to work for them. I had had a good recommendation, and they were willing to wait until my schedule would allow me to give them the hours. W-O-W. I have had parents beg, and offer more money per hour, to privately teach their child. To this end, that is why I do classes on Saturdays and Sundays.
Today, I had another such opportunity. A school that I have been working a few hours for each week, wants me to be the assistant head of their English Department. My experience at their school, the fact that I've been here going on 9 years, working for the same companies that I started with 9 years ago, have made an impression on them.
I must weigh the pros and cons of taking on such a venture. More hours, DEFINITELY more pay, but having to drop a lot of classes that I presently enjoy. Is this a good opportunity? Who knows. I will think very carefully about this one. At this point in my life though, it is nice to know, that someone is '… knocking at MY door …"!