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"Because it's Your Job!"

I made it to work at 10:45 am, the unofficial official starting time for GEOS gaijin staff and punched in. They told us in Vancouver that the starting time was 11:30 am but that's not true. Punch in later than 10:45 am and eyebrows were raised all the way to head office. I started the coffee maker, put the flowers I bought that morning in a vase, put them on the counter, grabbed the paper and headed for my room to prepare for my 2:30pm class.

About 15 minutes later, Tomoko, the sales manager walked in. I was half way through a (Mike) Royko column when I heard the shout.

"Chris!"
"Yeah?"
"Why are the garbage cans full?"
"Ummmmm, I don't know, why?"
Tomoko was new and seemed to be the designated whip. Spank, (the head manager as we secretly called him) was too busy to deal with the foreigners so he gave the job to Tomoko. She had the great ability to pull all kinds of jobs that the foreigners were supposed to do out of the ether.
"These garbage cans are full." she said quite convincingly.
I walked out of my classroom.
"Yes they certainly are. Would you like a coffee?"
"No. I want you to do your job."
Ohhhhh, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.
"My job? I'm here aren't I?" Where else in the world can you say something like that and not crack up?
"Take all the garbage cans in this school and dump them into one big garbage bag and take them to the corner."
"Uuuuuhhhhhh, OK."

She must be really busy or pissed or both. In all my years at GEOS I had never taken the garbage out. What a spoiled dick, eh? I should have been dancing that garbage out from day one, right? Well, I did try to help with the chores when I first arrived in 1993. I tried to help staple candies to hand out pamphlets, I tried to wash dishes, I tried to replace photocopy machine cartridges but all my efforts were rebuffed. The managers always told me not to do those kinds of things because they "weren't things a teacher does" Hmm...If that's the way you feel...
"So Tomoko, busy day for you I guess?"
"No. Not at all. My first customer doesn't get here until 4pm." And with that she took out a Non-no magazine from her shoulder bag and headed for her office.

"Oh! OK!" I said petulantly as I grabbed a garbage bag and headed for the first can in sight.

As I was walking to the corner with the bag of garbage I met Linda.
"Ooooooeeeeeeooooooo, Christine wants to impress someone! Who have you got a crush on, Chrissy? Is it Tomoko? NO! It's Spank, isn't it?!"
I laughed, "No. No crushes going on. Just doing what a guy's got to do." I kept laughing as I continued to the corner.

When I got back to the school, I went to my room and resumed the Royko column and the now ice coffee. Tomoko walked in.
"Why are the ledges of your white board dirty?"
"...because I wrote something on the white board yesterday then erased it..."
"This table is a little dirty."
"Yep. All those elbows..."
"You must clean this room entirely."
"Um, Tomoko, why are you doing this? Why are you saying all this stuff?"
"Because it is your job. You must do these things."
"Look, I've got no problem with helping out..."
"Good. Then this is your job. You must do these things." And she walked out.

I walked into the office to get the vacuum cleaner and stole a glance at her room. Her room had glass doors and walls. She was munching a Pockey while reading her Non-No magazine.

I went back to my room, vacuumed, wiped and polished. I then returned the vacuum to the office. I still had enough time to read Royko and make another cup of coffee before my 2:30 class.

"Where are you going with that cup of coffee?" Tomoko asked.
"To my room." I replied.
"What are you going to do there?"
"Drink it and read the paper."
"Are you ready for your first class?"
"Yes."
"Do you know when your first class is?"
"2:30"
"What are you teaching?"
"Two part verbs"
"Are your materials ready?"
"Yes."
"Let me see them."
I showed Tomoko the flash cards that I used for this particular type of lesson.
"The edges are too frayed for a GEOS lesson. Make them again."
"What?!"
"Make them again. That is your job. It is your job to make proper material. Make them again."

Other things occurred during the day. The photocopier ran out of A-4 paper and I asked, "Where is the A-4 paper?"
Tomoko quickly replied under her breath but still pretty clearly, "It's your job。ト."

The pen in my room ran out of ink and I foolishly asked, "Can I get another white board marker?"
"Your job...your job..." Tomoko sang under her breath while smiling at Spank.

OK, OK, I understood Tomoko was on some kind of Satanic trip here. It was "my job" and I had to do it.

Dec. 19 rolled around for me for the second time of my stay in Japan. I had taken days off till early January, naturally, and was looking forward to a nice break. I was seeing someone special at that time, too.

I had booked a room at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel Nikko in the Landmark Tower in Yokohama on the 25th. The most coveted date was the 24th but as I couldn't get that I settled for the 25th. I was going to take my girl out for a great time. Dinner in Chinatown, drinks at a cool bar then a room in the tallest building in the land. Pretty fucking slick, huh?

That day was pay day so I went to the ATM in Odawara to withdraw the cash needed and... whoa. Nothing. My account was empty. Well, not entirely empty. My latest pay had not been transferred there. Hmmm...maybe later in the day?

We went to Yokohama and checked in to the hotel. The room was great. Panoramic view of the city, fresh flowers and fruit bowl, big tub, great view of the city from the tub...Things were looking up.

Later, I went to the ATM in the Landmark Tower to check my funds and still nothing. When the hell is Tomoko going to transfer my salary to my account?

I took out a little more and went back to the room.
"Let's go grab a bite in Chinatown!" I said to my gal.

Dinner was great and I could pay for it with cash. Next stop was the Jazz Bar near Motomachi. We cabbed it there and had a couple of drinks and enjoyed the music. Last stop was the room back at the Landmark Tower. My wallet was feeling pretty thin by now

Next morning, after a nice Continental Breakfast, I dashed down to the ATM to get the sorely needed cash. There was nothing. No salary. No funds. Nothing. FUCK!!

I went back up to the room and told my gal the situation. She said, "Don't worry." and she pulled a credit card from her purse. OH FUCK!!! WHAT A FUCKING ASSHOLE I MUST LOOK LIKE!!!

We went to check out and she paid. I've never felt like such a jerk in my life.
"Yeah, let's go to the Landmark Tower...and you pay for it!!!"

She could probably see the smoke coming out of my ears as we went to Yokohama Station.
"Don't worry about it." she said.
"Don't worry? I was supposed to be paid yesterday and I wasn't. GEOS never pays its employees on time but this is before Christmas! The managers usually try to pay this one on time because they know how much we depend on it."

I tried the ATM one more time and still found no money in the account.
"That's it! I'm making a call! I'm calling the school!"

I dialed the number of the school and waited for them to pick up. I was calling from Yokohama station which was very crowded and noisy at that time. I could barely hear the ringing sound of the phone.

"Hai! Eikaiwa-no GEOS degozaimasu!"
"Tomoko. Where is my money?"
"Oh! Hello! Chris! How are you?"
"Tomoko, where is my salary?"
"I paid it to you."
"No. You did not. I just checked my account and there is nothing."
"No. That is not true. I paid you yesterday."
"Bullshit Tomoko. There is nothing in my account!"
"When did you check?"
"Five minutes ago!"
"Oh...I see..."
"Why haven't you paid me my salary, Tomoko?!"
"I...I...did..."
"No, you most certainly have not."
"I'm so sorry! I forgot! I'm sorry!"
"Tomoko. It is "your job" to remember to pay your employees! I do my job, remember, and you do yours!"
"Yes! Yes! I must do my job."
"So, now that YOU haven't done YOUR job, I'm stuck in Yokohama with no money. How am I supposed to get home?"
"I'm so..." and she hung up.

I later heard from my co-workers that Tomoko ran from room to room apologizing to everyone for not paying them. Nobody knew it because they didn't have the time to check their accounts that morning.

So much for "doing your job!" So much for a respected command order of responsibilities. So much for my career at GEOS! My heated telephone tirade no doubt was the equivalent of taking a chainsaw to the rubber dinghy my career there was.

It was another GEOS Christmas, FUBAR. Ho-ho-ho.

Chris

Comments

then I walked out, and went to NOVA, which was still bad, but not AS bad. At least you could have a bit of a laugh. GEOS was dreadful.

So you think Tomoko was bad? You never met Two Faced Sue, the Heavyweight from Melbourne? Dear, dear, you didn't go through as much as you think.

Heavy Sue - what a mess of an Aussie woman. Telling us in those dreadful strine tones to improve our teaching and appearance while she walked around like an elephant who has for the first time discovered clothes and knows jacks about looking presentable. Back stabbing us to the Japanese staff and crawling up their shitholes.

Fat Sue objected to coffee drinking, water drinking, smiling and laughing with students and just about everything. You could see the steam virtually coming out of her ears when attractive J students liked our company because she knew the equivalent in J men would run screaming in hysteria after their class once they'd seen her.

I left before The Fat One did. Heard she got a job being the only teacher at a school which proceeded to go down the tubes because students stopped coming. Hmm wonder why...........Wonder what this completely socially challenged elephant (sorry to real elephants) is doing now.

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