Agent vs English Teacher

It is said that one doesn’t know what they have until it’s lost. Perhaps this does ring true for me. Since leaving the call centre, I have had a chance to reflect on my time there and compare it to the job I had before that, teaching English in Taiwan.  Despite some obvious differences, these two career paths do have some surprising similarities.

Teaching English in Taiwan, you will encounter tantrums. It’s an inconvenient truth, like deforestation, and alien abduction.

As a call center agent, you will also face this problem. The big difference: Taiwanese kids kind of have the right to throw tantrums. After being stuck in school from 8:30 am to 4:00pm, does spending 2+ hours at an English cram school sound like fun?

But maybe some of the customers do have a right to throw their toys out of their cots. I mean someone has to throw around curse words, and the days of the Vikings are behind us.

The average foreign English Teacher in Taiwan has a fairly relaxed teaching schedule, with an average of 4 teaching hours per day. Call centre agents typically have a much longer work day, usually eight to nine hours without overtime.

As an English Teacher, the onus is almost always on you to find a  substitute teacher if for whatever reason you are unable to make it to class. Finding a sub is not too difficult because most foreigners in Taiwan are experienced English teachers. If Call Centres operated like this,  finding subs would be *slightly* more problematic.

But in the words of Kevin O’leary, in the end, it all comes down to the money. Both of these jobs typically pay by the hour. Although English teachers normally put in a lot less hours a week than a Customer Service Representative, economically, the English Teacher should come out on top. Call Centre Agents start off with a whopping ten dollars (Canadian) an hour, and this can grow to (wait for it) ELEVEN dollars an hour. A Foreign English Teacher can start off earning twenty-one dollars an hour (Canadian) per teaching hour, and this can grow depending on the school and the years of service put in.

Now you could argue that Call Centre Agents have the opportunity to earn commission, whereas English Teachers don’t. And this is true.

For the savvy salesperson, a flourishing call centre career on a sales contract is a definite possibility. If you have the stomach for it, that is. Personally, I’d prefer to be an English Teacher.

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