April 2011

Another blog. About Portland. And other stuff too.

about | archives | twitter | flickr | potma | iphone snapshots | facebook | yelp
rss feed | youtube | links | the burning log


Questions? Comments? Reservations?
anotherportlandblog[at]gmail[dot]com

Another Portland Blog

Friday, November 02, 2007

 

When a Nova collapses into a black hole

Back in 2001, five months removed from college and desperate to find a job, I interviewed with a Japanese company called Nova. At the time Portland had the highest rate of unemployment in the nation and I'd just been turned down for a job dusting off DVDs at my neighborhood's Blockbuster Video. A recession is no time to go looking for work with a liberal arts degree. Exhausted and humiliated after months of fruitless interviews, running off to teach English on the other side of the planet seemed like a brilliant idea.

After two weeks of studying up on the company and Japan at large, I blew the interview after spending a day getting picked apart by three of Nova's scouts in a downtown conference room. I still remember the miserable ride back home on a Tri-Met bus clogged with commuters in business suits. It's a day that still haunts me. Six months later, I moved to Yellowstone for an ill-fated job at the park's Canyon Lodge. Six years later, I'm still wasting away in Dead-End-Job-Ville, still searchin' for my lost shaker of self-respect.

But what if I had landed the job? Like most, I would have likely lasted six months to two years in Japan before burning out and returning to the states. On the other hand, many expats make a career out of such gigs and there's always the possibility I'd still be overseas right now...reduced to pickpocketing on the Tokyo transit system.

If you haven't already heard the news, Nova went belly-up this week. Once Japan's # 1 source for English tutors with 924 branches nationwide, it's hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. The head of the company has vanished and thousands of former teachers are stuck in a country where they barely or outright don't speak the language. According to a Wednesday cover story in the Oregonian, many haven't been paid in weeks and others are on the verge of eviction from their company-sponsored apartments. The article also reports that one entrepreneurial former teacher has set up a website offering advice on how to steal wallets from commuters. The past few years have been horrible for a company that has buckled under the weight of lawsuits, mismanagement, government regulations, over-expansion and the bizarre murder of one Canadian teacher.

Further reading on the mess can found on Wikipedia. It's for the best that I never made it over there but I still can't shake an ongoing case of "What Might Have Been."

Labels: ,


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home


SEARCH THIS BLOG? SURE, NO PROBLEMO, AS BART SIMPSON USED TO SAY....





www.flickr.com




-archives-

  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011

  • Clicky Web Analytics


    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?