(My) unemployment during COVID-19
from January 2020 till now
There is a big problem with the unemployment during the COVID-19
pandemic around the world. I'll share my honest experience in this article. I'm a philosopher (Master's degree) and since 2004 I'm living (and working) in PRC. Because of no way to find a philosophy job in the province I live, I started to be a foreign language teacher (I have got a TEFL). Since January 2020, due to the COVID-19
problem the schools were locked. Till now, many of them, including the private schools, are still closed.
Even in the pre-pandemic time, I wasn't rich. Many years I'm trying to develop some business, to earn more money, but it's not possible, because I lack of initial capital and I can't find people to support me, no matter how hard I'm trying it. Soon after the school closure I realized that the unemployment is going to seriously hurt my life, because if one is rich it's not a big deal, but when you're a comparatively poor person this kind of situation may hurt you and even destroy you. It's every time worse for the poorest people. So, as soon as I realized the problem I posted a note in Reddit (a social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website) in hope to find some help. What I posted was:
The person: A EU foreigner with many years teaching experience (foreign languages) in China (master's in Philosophy), almost middle aged, in good health, sporty, non-smoker, non-drinker, likes to read and learn. THE PROBLEM: Due to the virus outbreak all of the schools are closed and the private students don't want to go out or to accept tutor at home; they're also not willing to try online classes. Plus, most of the cafes, restaurants, shops, etc. are closed too. The streets are almost empty. The situation may remain like this till March or more according to some Chinese persons. No own business, the savings are not enough. Loves China and willing to stay here, but how to avoid the starving and to earn some normal amount of money?
A person nicknamed "marcopoloman" answered: "Try to find various local expat and teaching groups on WeChat. There are lots of video and online positions available as well."
(This is something I do non-stop, but the problem is that nearly all of them need only "Native English speakers". One of the first questions is "Where are you from?" If you're not from the USA, GB, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa, it's practically impossible to get some attention.)
A person nicknamed "fixerdave4redit" answered: "This is the ticking time-bomb. It's not just the OP... how many millions of people are in the same situation but without even the option of leaving?
How many landlords aren't getting the rent cheque? How many mortgages are going unpaid? How many restaurants aren't opening? How many cooks aren't working? Entire economic chains are fraying.
A lot of people live with very little financial buffer. Even if this thing went away right now, there will be a very large number of people with unraveled lives. It's not going to go away anytime soon."
(Well, this is what we see all around the world currently, right? It's not only in China. So, he or she, is right, but it wasn't helpful for me to know that it's not just me. I know it, because I'm watching and reading news.)
Another one nicknamed "cuteshooter" answered it: "Maybe the whole system of monthly rents will crumble!"
(Something that also isn't helping me.)
After that there were 2 political comments, which I will skip, because I'm trying to avoid politics as much as I can.
A person nicknamed "mtb312000" offered me: "send me your wechat id, I can send you a few bucks"
(I refused, of course, because I'm not willing to be a beggar. It was really touching and I appreciated it, but I answered: "I'm still OK, but THANKS for offering so!")
A person nicknamed "sleepingbusy" suggested: "Intermittent fasting. You only need to eat once a day. Just eat hot pot.
But if you don't have any way of security, probably should move or sell some stuff."
(This advice is logical, but in fact, most of the time I eat only 1-2 times a day, so it's nothing new to me. And the selling stuff is a temporarily solution. What I need is a stable, long-term income.)
A person nicknamed "pocket_banana" posted: "vipkids, duh!" and another one, nicknamed "ChinaBounder" answered "He's not young, not female."
(These were pretty unclear, so I didn't pay some special attention to them. All I supposed was that probably they're talking about online teaching for native English speakers which are young females. I don't know.)
A person nicknamed "FeedMeFish" offered: "Which city are you in? I have a WeChat group that might have something, but it’s mostly in Shenzhen. Feel free to DM me if you’d like"
(And I did, but I'm not in Shenzhen, so for me it wasn't very useful. Just those groups that usually post ads about native English speakers.)
One (who is already deleted and I don't know his/her username) advised rudely: "Get the fuck out of China. The shit is gonna hit the fan soon"
(Yes, it was rude and semi-wrong, semi-right. As you can see currently many other countries are in a worse condition than China. I know people who left China and now feel sorry, because over there, in those other countries the COVID-19 pandemic is making the people's life very hard.)
Another person, nicknamed "hapigood", gave me a similar advice: "Japan. Korea. Get yourself out and ELSing somewhere reliable, it should take less than a month to get a place given the experience/qualification you state. In the meantime, beans and rice."
(The problems here: 1) I'm not a native English speaker and it's not easy for me to find ELS jobs in Korea or Japan. And, by the way, I don't want to live in Japan, because of their radiation and earthquake problems, no matter how much I like the Japanese culture. 2) As you can see both countries are also having big problem with the coronavirus pandemic
A person nicknamed "dopef123" shared a story: "A family friend got fired from his teaching job in China and the embassy for the US flew him home. He had to pay back the ticket cost though eventually.
It sounds like it'll take months for the virus to blow over. And it'll get worse before it gets better. If you don't want to leave china you might have to ask family back home for money or something."
(First of all, I really don't want to leave China, because it was my childhood dream to live in an Eastern country and because I chose China and I spent here more than 16 years so far. Secondly, well, I'm not a young kid to ask for money and the so-called "family" is already not existing: grandpas, grandmas, mother -- all passed away. There is only an old father currently. He's not asking me for money and I do not ask him too; sounds in fair, right? Also, he's not a rich father. So, this option isn't for an option for me.)
To be continued...