How I got a job, apartment, and cell phone in Thailand in 6 days
Posted by Heliocentrism on December 19, 2009
December 7-12, 2002
We didn’t end up heading down south.
This is a spoof of Finding a Job in Thailand in 10 Days. If you’ve ever thought about packing it all in and moving to Thailand, you’ve read that article. Mark and I read it before moving to Bangkok hoping that it would work for us. Turns out that it was easier than we thought… for us at least.
I would not recommend anyone else doing the same. We were incredibly lucky!
We’ve read many blogs and websites on the best way to get jobs in Thailand and here is what we learned.
- December and January are the worst months to find a job in Thailand.
- March and April are the best.
- You need a 120-hour TEFL or TESOL to get a job. Less than 120 hours just won’t do.
- Employees tend to not answer e-mails, so it’s better to call or just show up at the company.
- Being white helps.
- Being Asian hurts.
There are exceptions to this, as with many things in life. Mark and I got to Thailand in December and neither of us had a 120 Tefl or Tesol certification at the time. (In 2013 the JET Programme subsidized my 140 hour TEFL certification.) Neither of us are white and Mark is, in fact, Asian. Before getting to Thailand we sent out tons of e-mails and made many phone calls once we got here. No one replied; not even the people who put ads in the newspaper.
Here is what we did.
We arrived in Bangkok on December 1st and didn’t really do anything the first week. We applied to a couple of jobs here and there but I wasn’t really feeling any of them. In fact, I hoped that I would not get any of those jobs because the companies looked a bit shady.
Then on our 6th day in Bangkok, in the newspaper, I found an ad for some jobs in public high schools in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand. I have learned through past experience that it is far better to work at a public school than at a cram school.
I sent them an e-mail stating that I wanted a job. I also sent a copy of my diploma, resume, and references. I was not really expecting to get a job right away, but rather I hoped to secure one starting in January. So when they did not reply, I wasn’t too worried.
Mark on the other hand was starting to panic. He had sent out many e-mails and job applications months before leaving Korea, but no one was replying. This is normal. I read on one blog that some companies might actually be in desperate need for teachers, but the person in charge of answering e-mails might not speak English very well and therefore no responses are given.
So Mark decided that the next day we would really start looking for jobs for REALS. No more half-heartedly reading the job ads in the papers then spending the day sightseeing. We were going to get our sh!t together!
Dec 7: Day 1 – Job Hunt
On our second Monday in Thailand we decided to seriously look for a job, then head down south to the beaches the following week if nothing turned up. I managed to calm Mark down about the whole job hunt thing by promising to work really hard job hunting for a bit if I could sit on a beach as a reward for my efforts.
“We have months worth of money saved.” “It’s better to be relaxed and tanned for job interviews.” “This is a great time to head to the beach” These were my best arguments. I was quite proud that I came up with them…
Monday was a holiday so we just put some employment packets together. We made 12 folders each with our resume, cover letter, copy of diplomas, references, and a photo inside. We looked up the addresses of companies we were going to visit to give our packets to. Then we got our nice interview clothes ready. Mark even got a hair cut.
We would end up only handing out a few of our packets.
Dec 8: Day 2 – Job Hunt
On the 8th we started our job hunt. The first stop was not too far from our hostel. It was my first choice; the job from the newspaper I had e-mailed earlier. I really didn’t want any other job. We went to the BFITS headquarters and asked for jobs. They were actually surprised to see us. They had one math teacher who had just quit and another English teacher who was feeling home sick and on the verge of quitting. We were hired the next day.
Even though we pretty much had these jobs, Mark wanted to continue with the job hunt. “Nothing is guaranteed until you have a signed contract,” he said. I agreed with him so we continued. We went to the companies on our list, but they seemed unhappy to see Mark. We handed out a few more packets and it was clear that they weren’t impressed with Mark or his Asianess.
One even challenged his English-speaking ability by saying, “We only take native English. You no native English.” Well I don’t know what else he can be ’cause he only speaks English… We soon gave up, bought ice cream cones, and went for a stroll in a park.
Dec 9: Day 3 – Company Party!
Early Wednesday morning Mark and I went to see my new school. That afternoon we signed our contracts. That evening we went to the company year-end party, which was extremely entertaining! Thursday was a holiday and Friday was my first day of work.
Dec 11: Day 4 – Hunt for an Apartment
Thursday Mark and I went apartment hunting. We went to the area were we wanted to live and just walked into the apartment buildings there. Some had apartments for rent, some didn’t. We had better luck with the newer apartments. We narrowed our choices down to two places. One place had bigger apartments, but it was older. The other was brand new, just built in January, with a gym, a pool, and a sauna, but it was smaller. The rent for both were about the same. We picked the newer building.
By Saturday night we moved into the Life apartment building. I’m hoping that by using that gym and pool everyday I’ll be in great shape by the time I leave Thailand.
Dec 12: Day 5 – Getting a Phone
Mark didn’t start work for 2 weeks, so while I was at work Mark got busy making our apartment more livable. He found an internet company, a place to get phones, and a place to get dishes, sheets, and other home things.
The phone was pretty easy to get. Mark got his at a department store. He found one of the cheapest phones and got a prepaid plan with a sim card. I got the same thing more or less at MBK near the Siam Center.
You can also use whatever phone you have if you just change the sim card. I heard that you can find out how to unlock your phone online, but I’m not technical. You can also pay someone to unlock it for you.
Dec 13: Day 6 – Moving in
We moved in. Bought a few things for the apartment. We didn’t have to buy much since the apartment came fully furnished.
So, here I am in Thailand one week later with a job, a phone, and an apartment. I have several stacks of papers to grade and tons of grades to record. It all seemed to have happened too fast. Already I’m avoiding the gym like a pro.
Here’s a short video from the BFITS’ year end party.