Paul Chan

On June 20th, 2019, I officially completed 9 years at EF! People have asked me why I've stayed this long with EF and I have to say that in most things in my life, I try to keep it simple. I will share with you the three question test based on the three C's criteria (colleagues, cash, and challenge); I had learned about this method a long time ago (and have adhered faithfully) and hopefully this method will help inform you on how you navigate your life (in or out of EF)!

1. Do you like the people you work with?

That’s the simplest, most straight forward criterion, really. I love teaching and I love teaching children, so right away, I’m set. Beyond that, every EF Kids and Teens school I’ve worked at are filled with the most eclectic groupings of people; there have been people from all over the world, much less from all over China! Personally, I think it’s great to have exposure to so many different people; you are able to learn so much about other cultures and get a greater appreciation of different ways of life. Moreover, I have made so many awesome friendships and professional relationships in my 9 years – it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t come to EF, hadn’t come to China, hadn’t given teaching a shot.

2. Are you making a fair wage?

This criterion is not as simple as the first, but worth noting. The answer to this question really comes down to your lifestyle. Are you a spendthrift or do you live within your means? I’ve found that while living and working in China, I’ve been able to have a high standard of living but the truth is I don’t spend extravagantly nor do I have many bills. As I have progressed with EF, taken on responsibility, and received promotions, I have also increased my salary. You will find that working at EF there are perks and amenities that we receive that are not specifically financial, but we do not need to pay for them – and they are wonderful experiences nonetheless (TRT events, Language travel, Annual Parties, Team buildings, etc.).

3. Are you learning and facing new challenges?

This one for me is huge; I have stayed with EF for over 9 years because at many points of my career (from Teacher to Senior Teacher to Director of Studies to Senior Director of Studies to Production Manager), just as it seems I’ve hit a groove, achieved cruising speed, there’s a new challenge presented to me, without fail. I’ve never had a sustained “too comfortable” EF existence, and that’s a good thing! I want to continuously learn, I want to face challenges and overcome them. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t passively waited for the opportunities; I’ve sought new opportunities and taken the initiative to address challenges. Perhaps because no one has gotten in the way of that, and instead showed me support and encouragement, I have really gone through my EF journey with a sense of excitement and security.

The general application of the criteria are as follows: If you can only say yes to one of the questions out of the three, you should find greener pastures. If you can say yes to two out of the three, you should keep going and find ways to get that third yes. For example, if you feel you aren’t currently learning as much or not feeling challenged, you should take this up with your colleagues and line manager and I’m sure you’ll get a multitude of ideas to pull you from your malaise! If in fact you can respond with a “yes” to all three questions, you effectively have the perfect job.

Over the 9 years at EF, I have self-assessed periodically and asked myself these three questions, and each time the answers were a bit different. I have always had at least two of the three questions in the affirmative. Today, gratefully, I can say, yes, I enjoy the heck out of the people that I work with and I find it to be a wonderful privilege to have garnered such great relationships with fellow EFers. Yes, I am afforded the lifestyle that makes me happy through working at EF. Lastly, yes, there’s always something to do in my job and I’m probably at the most challenging stage of my career at EF. So yeah, it’s perfect, or pretty close to it!

So now it’s your turn! Consider the answers to the questions and I hope you keep it going or at least keep it moving!

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Paul Chan

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