A Reminder

Sometimes I still ask myself, “Why have I taken my degree in Japanese and chosen to develop my career in China? Why don’t I consider going back and pursuing something in the States?”

Oh yeah, now I remember. Thanks, Monster.com, I’m not so sorry now that I still haven’t removed myself from your job update e-mail service.

Note: Of course, yes, I do love my life in China, learning every day.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. ÍÐµÄ Says: May 9, 2005 at 4:17 pm

    I remember looking at job projections for careers when I was in college. Degrees in foreign languages were ranked literally last in terms of future job prospects (in the US). So, of course, I immediately changed my major from Japanese to philosophy.

    You have to be practical about those things.

  2. It could be much worse. You could have an advanced degree in Chinese, be in the Foreign Service, and find yourself in a remote visa mill outpost in South India of all places.

  3. Tim P. Says: May 9, 2005 at 9:29 pm

    The links don’t work. At least they don’t work for me.

  4. I have a friend who graduated with a degree in both Chinese and accounting, another friend, who had learned German, received a management certificate in Business from a German University and along with Chinese. My wife use to teach Japanese (for a program associated with the University of Washington) to scientists engineers, and managers. I personally think language training is very useful and need not be limited to just those studying the humanities or social sciences. Associating language skills with other skill sets can be very rewarding.

  5. Prince Roy,

    Haha, yeah, State Dept. jobs just fall in your lap, I hear, what with those ridiculously easy exams and all… I will be wary.

  6. Tim P,

    Oops, not trying to be tricky there, but those are not real links. It’s an image I captured from the e-mail that I got.

  7. Ah, China. One of the last outposts where you can bum around for half a year without an income and not end up eating ramen for breakfast, lunch AND dinner 😉

  8. Da Xiangchang Says: May 10, 2005 at 2:46 am

    I don’t know, Prince, but I’d think most people would kill for your job–esp. the ones on a few Yahoo groups. 😉

    Yeah, the job market’s pretty bad stateside, but with your background, John, you CAN always join the Foreign Service. The exams are no picnic, but even a retard like me passed the written the first time out–and I’m sure you could, with your 7.5 high-school GPA. Haha. I only took the written, though, and didn’t show for my oral (which I heard is MUCH harder) cuz I changed ambitions midway through my studies. Probably the biggest mistake of my life! 🙁

    Here’s another career possibility: writing fiction. It’s sort of funny how I don’t know of any laowai-written fiction set in China. I mean, in Japan, there are a LOT of books written by gaijin that have gotten a lot of attention. “Number 9 Dream,” “American Fuji,” and “Tokyo Suckerpunch” are just a few. In China, however, you only get laowai memoirs or Chinese-written fiction in English. Maybe you can corner the market on Chinese fiction, like write a Chinese version of Isaac Adamson’s Billy Chaka series. Of course, one would need storytelling talent, but how would you know you don’t have talent until you try?

  9. DXC,

    Let’s see, hand over my prime to my government to squander having me doing paperwork in whatever corner of the world they see fit? No thanks, I’ll never be that kind of patriot…. The job really doesn’t appeal to me on any level, even at the more senior levels. I’m no fan of politics or history. I just feel it’s my duty to know a certain minimum amount.

  10. I’ve found out that a straight consular job at a visa mill is one of the worst jobs you could have, especially for someone not even consular coned. But I’m sticking with it because my next post is much more my style, and I’m holding out hope that eventually they’ll use me for the reasons they hired me. All things considered, it isn’t too bad though. Far better this than Big Law.

  11. What’s wrong with the Navy John? Hmm?

  12. Carl,

    Nothing wrong with the Navy. But I’ve never considered the military as a career choice that suits me.

  13. Prince Roy,

    But I¡¯m sticking with it because my next post is much more my style, and I¡¯m holding out hope that eventually they¡¯ll use me for the reasons they hired me. Would the “eventual” post be a “permanent” one rather than another rotation? What after your next stop has to happen before that eventuality?

  14. Man – I’ve been looking for summer jobs in Philly, without much success. It’s amazing how few people here want Chinese translated into English for them, and it’s not like I have any other skills. I’m told that there are more job opportunities for Chinese speakers in New York, but they seem to be of the business type, which wouldn’t really suit me anyway.

  15. Brendan,

    Have you considered the Navy? I hear they have openings.

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