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Package ??? Love it or leave it

Package ??? Love it or leave it

Postby DiggyA » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:51 pm

My husband and I got our first offer for teaching in china... i think its a great package and that we should accept it immediately... but maybe im just excited. What do you think.

About us...
Me: licensed classroom teacher, masters degree, 10+ years of experience
Him: sub licence, bachelors degree, 7 years
Children: 3 school aged

School... bilingual/international tracks k-12
Tier 2 city

Package...
Me: 400,000rmb/yr before taxes
Him: 340,000rmb/yr before taxes
Full tuition for 3 kids
Free meals on campus
3bd apt near school provided
2 rt flights for spouse and two kids (1 trip each)
Paid holidays/6 week summer
5000rmb visa assistance each
1000rmb settling in each

Great deal orrrr im just too excited.
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Response

Postby PsyGuy » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:13 am

Its an okay offer and your just excited.

Your salary offer is okay, you need to find out what the IS is going to charge and deduct in taxes, but even after that the salary is around the median for your resume, its okay. For your spouse with their resume their offer is pretty generous. Add that you have 3 dependents and they made an offer with what they did is cause for celebration, your really a family of 5 with one IT and a trailing spouse they gave an appointment to make you employable, they must have really liked you. The tuition waivers/places arent really much of an ask for a tier 2 bilingual (meaning its a Chinese academy) IS as they have capacity. That said they did short you in the offer. $LDK apartments/flats are very hard to come by, you really have to get a house at that point, but a 3LDK apartment/flat means your kids are bunking up in at least one room, maybe thats okay for you and your prepared for that. The flight is pretty generous its 2 travelers per employee, but hats one extra ticket. The free meals on campus isnt worth anything, the benefit is literally worth pennies/pence a day, bilingual IS means Chinese cafeteria, big slab of rice, 2 choice of vegetable and one choice of protein for kids lunch and an extra protein and maybe vegetable for teacher lunch. You will spend more on the bottle of tea/water than the IS will spend on the food for a week.
The values will pay the visa fees and the settling in allowance is some modest pocket change.

Its an okay offer.
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Re: Package ??? Love it or leave it

Postby wrldtrvlr123 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:58 am

I would say that it's a good to very good package. With housing being provided, your combined monthly gross should leave you a nice chunk of change to spend or save. Hopefully you would be happy with the provided housing.

It's over 2X what we generally describe as a poor offer, so relatively speaking it seems pretty good to me. To get significantly over 400,000 rmb a year, you are generally looking at the bigger, better schools in Beijing/Shanghai (from what I recall, I'm not on Search any more).

Be excited and take it would be my two cents.
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Reply

Postby PsyGuy » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:59 am

@WT123

2x, how so? The bottom of IE is RMB¥20K/mth, double (2x) that is RMB¥40K/mth, RMB¥400K/yr is RMB¥33.3K/mth, you need RMB¥500K/yr to get to 2x the bottom of the IS salary scale.
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Re: Package ??? Love it or leave it

Postby wrldtrvlr123 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:40 pm

The recent poor offers were 17 and 18K per month which is close enough to 2X for this forum.
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Re: Package ??? Love it or leave it

Postby mysharona » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:39 am

I live and work in China as an international school teacher. I think those are pretty good wages for a first year teacher at a school. If I were you I would take the advice of a previous poster and try to get some idea of what taxes would run you. I know my school pays the equivalent of about 40% of my salary as tax on my salary and benefits. This will vary from province to province and city to city though so that isn't meant as a definitive number for you. I think if the taxes are manageable then the money and benefits are pretty good.
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Re: Package ??? Love it or leave it

Postby GrumblesMcGee » Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:28 am

I'm with wrldtrvlr123. It seems like a very good offer. PsyGuy, as usual, makes some excellent points and then still manages to Debbie Downer it.

The biggest thing here is fit. Are you going to be happy there: with the school, departments, teaching load, city, culture? You managed to land 2 well-paying jobs, a larger-than-the-average-teacher housing deal, and 3 free tuitions. Even if I'm not looking at the numbers at all, that's a very good foundation.

Here's a few things that jump out at me:
1. You didn't mention healthcare / insurance. That's huge, especially with 3 kids.
2. The salaries seem strong. I agree with PsyGuy's assessment here: your husband's offer is particularly good, although from a purely numbers perspective I'm sure you could earn more elsewhere. But that's far less important than the overall offer for the whole family.
3. I disagree with PsyGuy on the free meals. He's entitled to his perspective, but it's not mere "pennies" to the person getting the free meals (maybe it is to the cafeteria). I recently turned down a job with free meals (it was a very close call, overall), and I just kept coming back to those convenience points. Just knowing that every weekday I can get a (hopefully) healthy breakfast and lunch makes a significant financial and convenience difference in my life. But to each their own.
4. The settling-in allowance is really weak. Is there a shipping allowance you didn't mention?
5. The "visa assistance" figure you provided raises some questions. How helpful are they going to be in facilitating the process? The Chinese school I turned down seemed on-the-ball from an HR perspective, which meant a lot. Yes, it was nice to know that I could pay to have someone handle the paper-shuffling stateside, but school-based support is a big deal (especially if you don't have a lot of experience in the country).
6. Yes, look into the taxes.

Most importantly, congrats on your offer!
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Discussion

Postby PsyGuy » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:45 pm

Not interested in stroking members egos.

@DiggyA

Fit isnt the biggest issue, because you have no idea what the fit is going to be and youre not going too until three months maybe less maybe more into the contract. Youre entire bases of determining your organizational relationship is based on speculation and leaderships ability to fake being human during an interview.

Again, the free tuition/place waivers are the smallest ask at an IS thats a local academy thats not at capacity. Yes the housing offer is better than average but your not the average sized family, and they still gave you one bedroom less than you actually need.

I didnt address the medical health package because its probably some local hospital plan. Regardless in China almost all contracts have a clause that if your unable to report for work within 30 days they can terminate you. Meaning anything more than a broken bone and they are going to terminate you anyway, the only health care your going to really get is going to be mild ailments a cold, the flu, minor injuries. Anything major or too expensive and they just arent going to pay or they are going to terminate you anyway.

The free meals are a convenience, and they arent going to amount more than a handful of change a month, its nice, but when an IS has to highlight little conveniences of almost zero value, they are doing nothing more than trying to sell you.

I assumed the relocation allowance as the visa support and the settling in allowance and that had there been a shipping allowance you would have mentioned it. The settling in allowance is some modest pocket change. Its not going to go very far for a family of 5.

The visa support will be whatever it is, the IS believes they can get you visas and thats all that really matters from their perspective. Youll pay for the visas when you get them and hopefully they pay you back hen you land or shortly after. The main issue is if they ask you to come on a tourist visa for some reason they give.
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Re: Discussion

Postby GrumblesMcGee » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:54 am

PsyGuy wrote:
> Not interested in stroking members egos.

Well, that much was obvious within five minutes of discovering these forums. But it's more than that. There's a bizarre blend of helpfulness and malice in you. Just because *you* think there's something better out there in the world doesn't mean you have to be so nasty, totalizing, and hyperbolic. Does it bring you joy? Do you think it gets your message across?

> Fit isnt the biggest issue, because you have no idea what the fit is going
> to be and youre not going too until three months maybe less maybe more into
> the contract. Youre entire bases of determining your organizational
> relationship is based on speculation and leaderships ability to fake being
> human during an interview.

*to
*your

Aside from that, point taken. I still maintain that it's the biggest issue, but I'll grant that it's difficult to get an accurate idea from thousands of miles away. Again with the hyperbole here: "you have no idea what the fit is going to be." C'mon, guy. You can get *some* idea. You can identify some red flags (i.e. if there's a policy that's not going to make you happy or if they don't "fake being human" well enough). You can speak with other ITs there and gain some limited perspective. You can get a picture as to your expected course load and duties. And you can follow up on all that by external research into the school/director and their reputations (i.e. find more red flags if they've deceived ITs in the past).

So if you want to knock "fit" down the list simply because you can't get *enough* clarity, fine. That's a contingent or probabilistic call, not an absolute one.

> Again, the free tuition/place waivers are the smallest ask at an IS thats a
> local academy thats not at capacity.

It's still an ask. You know darn well that a huge percentage of schools offer either a % discount on tuition and/or cap the free tuition at one per teacher.

> The free meals are a convenience, and they arent going to amount more than
> a handful of change a month, its nice, but when an IS has to highlight
> little conveniences of almost zero value, they are doing nothing more than
> trying to sell you.

I guess we have different interpretations of "almost zero value." For me, 10 free meals a week--including breakfast for this notorious bad morning person--have tremendous $ and convenience value. And I don't have 4 other people in my family. I can't, with a straight face, define 50 free meals a week as "almost no value."

Yeah, everything positive a school highlights is something they're using as a selling point. So what? The Chinese school that made me an offer spent more than a minute explaining the airport pickup system, the hours they prefer I arrive, etc. Sure, I could pay for a taxi (out of my flat relocation allowance). Sure, maybe it's only $20-$30 to me, and very little expense to them. But it's money, and it's a major convenience for someone arriving after a 20-hour flight with no understanding of the language.

> I assumed the relocation allowance as the visa support and the settling in
> allowance and that had there been a shipping allowance you would have
> mentioned it. The settling in allowance is some modest pocket change. Its
> not going to go very far for a family of 5.

Again, we disagree. But unlike your (re)definition of "almost zero value," this is an easy one to address. If you get a settling-in allowance, whether it's $500 or $1,000 or $2,000, that's money in the bank. You're going to use much of it anyway. You might want to ship some things, and going to need linens, household items, etc. If someone offers me $500 to help with my move, I don't get metaphysical and ponder how "far" $500 goes. $500 is $500.

Another element of this, however, is (especially if there is no settling-in allowance) pushing them on the flights. Will they pay for excess baggage? Is there a cap? I'm fortunate enough to be getting a ~$1,000 settling-in allowance, but I'm *still* asking about baggage. If they say no, so be it.

> The visa support will be whatever it is, the IS believes they can get you
> visas and thats all that really matters from their perspective. Youll pay
> for the visas when you get them and hopefully they pay you back hen you
> land or shortly after.

Meh...ok. Whatever. I'd prefer more clarity on how it'll work with them, what they're going on their end, what the 5000rmb can be used for, etc. But OK.

>The main issue is if they ask you to come on a
> tourist visa for some reason they give.

Agreed. But I'm not smelling that issue here, given the numbers.
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Reply

Postby PsyGuy » Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:15 pm

@GrumblesMcGee

I have no feelings at all about my writing, only data matters.

First, If any of that were true, if leadership and recruiters were bad sociopaths or ITs were good profilers, there wouldnt be a need for this forum, site, or the IS and leadership evaluations, thats the problem with sociopath leaders, they act like normal benevolent leaders, sure some are bad at it, but there are too many who are good at it, and sometimes you pick up on that and sometimes you listen to your instincts and you dodge a bullet, just as many times that doesnt happen.
Second, youre not really interviewing with the real source of must of the pain and suffering, and thats ownership, you can have leadership with good intentions but leadership is the mouthpiece for ownership, if ownership says were deducting salary for holidays, or were rewriting everyones contract, or whatever, your not going to stay in leadership if you dont do what ownership directs you to do, they will just sack that person and replace them with someone who will, and your not getting to see any of that in an interview.
You can speak with other ITs maybe, leadership isnt going to set you up with anyone who isnt a cheerleader, and if you try to do it without leadership knowing, you know looking at an ISs faculty profile then going through Facebook to get a hold of them, they may or may not fear for their jobs and may or may not give you real feedback.
Expected course loads and duties means nothing, they were written with a pen, they can be unwritten with a pen. We had a member on this forum back at the beginning of the AY who was hired for a leadership position, gets there with his family and then poof no leadership role, your teaching elementary if you dont like it and dont accept were not paying you anything and the elementary role comes with non of the promised leadership benefits. So what did he do, he took the primary role, and the IS slowly dolled out the benefits for that role.
Are there ANY absolute calls?

Tuition waivers/places at an academy IS thats below capacity is in the same category as asking for jelly beans from the HOSs desk, yeah its an ask, but its not really costing them anything when looking at the incremental costs, as long as the seat isnt taking away from a student that would be paying fees, its cost is really close to zero, and theyre getting some white kids faces for their advertising and marketing.
Yes thats typical, its usually one waiver/place per employee with a discount on the second (around 50%) and then full price on the third and so on, but those are ledger costs not actual costs and those are at ISs that are near or at capacity, two extra chairs/desks in an IS that would otherwise have them empty costs very little, thats why its the smallest ask, yes its an ask, but its not a significant one, especially for a third tier IS.

50 free meals is costing the IS about USD$5, you know Ill be generous USD$10, USD$10 thats USD$.50/meal or about RMB¥3-4 per meal, thats the counter cost and value, what its actually costing the IS in actual food and labor costs, its pennies. IS USD$10 worth USD$10 sure, its a convenience. Chinese breakfast is usually congee which is a rice based cream of wheat. Me Id rather stop at my local bakery for a pastry and a bottle of iced coffee. I will absolutely spend more, and Im happy with that, but Im calling a trivial convenience benefit what it is, a trivial benefit thats a minor convenience.

Well the so what is when they sell minor convenience benefits theyre propping up their benefits because the other benefits arent very good or very strong.
So your IS wont pick you up unless its convenient for someone or you pay out of your relocation, and this IS is a tier 2 IS? Okay.

Penny wise and pound foolish, I guess if an IS makes enough conveniences for you youll overlook the other benefits and comp that matters.

I didnt write that the settling in allowance was almost zero, I wrote its modest pocket change, and for a family of 5 its modest.
They didnt include a shipping allowance, thus I conclude there isnt one, if there were one youd think the LW would have listed that as a benefit.
I always prefer to get the shipping allowance as a shopping allowance. True your going to need those things but your far off buying them there. Unless you bring this extra stuff as additional baggage, your not going to have it there waiting for you, meaning you have to get stuff anyway. Theres really nothing metaphysical about it, you will simply pay more for the cost of goods, and then ship those goods on the ISs coin, you could have bought cheaper locally. When ISs give such small shipping allowances its their intention that your bringing educational supplies and items, there have been ITs who misunderstood and thought the shipping allowance could be used for anything and find out it wasnt. The only good a shipping allowance is for me is for excess baggage, or if i can use it to get an extra bag and some kind of other priority or premium package that includes some drinks on the plan, priority boarding, and premium seat selection, otherwise if I can use it for a lounge pass thats the best value for me.

Youre probably not getting meaningful answers either they really can get you the visas then its just a matter of them sending you an invite letter and then the work permit from labor and immigration. You go to the Chinese consul or embassy website and you download and complete an application, attach the photos and the documents they sent you along with your passport. You either do it in person (they dont accept mail applications) or you use a service agency, sending them your document packets and they go to the embassy for you. The other option with a family of 5 is to fly into HK and apply in person there. Thats really the only issue is if the visa fee can be used for the service agency, which is probably a yes, and if its not than the IS is either going to lie about it and blame it as a miscommunication or its a glaring warning.

Well not yet at least, they usually pull the tourist visa on you in August.
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Re: Reply

Postby GrumblesMcGee » Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:41 am

PsyGuy wrote:

> 50 free meals is costing the IS about USD$5, you know Ill be generous
> USD$10, USD$10 thats USD$.50/meal or about RMB¥3-4 per meal, thats the
> counter cost and value, what its actually costing the IS in actual food and
> labor costs, its pennies. IS USD$10 worth USD$10 sure, its a convenience.
> Chinese breakfast is usually congee which is a rice based cream of wheat.
> Me Id rather stop at my local bakery for a pastry and a bottle of iced
> coffee. I will absolutely spend more, and Im happy with that, but Im
> calling a trivial convenience benefit what it is, a trivial benefit thats
> a minor convenience.

Still not buying the math, but fair enough. If I'm offered a free breakfast and lunch, I know I'd otherwise have to spend at least $3/day on that, in addition to the time (shopping, making a sandwich, etc.). To me, that matters. Even if I know I'll probably stop at that local bakery or coffee shop some days (if I have time, and if there's one nearby), it's a nice benefit...for me. It's low on the list of things to look at, but it's not "trivial." The convenience factor is real for my day-to-day quality of life, and small amounts add up--they're a major driver influencing whether I saved that extra $1,000-$2,000/year.

But to each their own. Let's just agree that it's not HIGH on the list of benefits.

> Well the so what is when they sell minor convenience benefits theyre propping up their benefits because the other
> benefits arent very good or very strong. [...] Penny wise and pound foolish, I guess if an IS makes enough conveniences for > you youll overlook the other benefits and comp that matters.

This is an eye-roller. On the extreme end of the spectrum, maybe this makes sense. Maybe you're offered a job at Elite International Bangkok and they tell you "we'll pay you $110,000, any other questions?" They assume that all the little $2 breakfasts are irrelevant compared to the competition. But real decisions aren't usually $110,000 vs. $30,000. They're $42,000 + apples vs. $39,500 + oranges. And if you're a real person (I like to think I am), you try to envision how the job, the housing, and your day-to-day life will unfold. That includes the big ticket items (salary, taxes, housing, travel/moving), the nature of the position (as best as you can envision it), and what you call the "minor convenience" benefits.

And I don't fault any school for "propping up" their benefits. They're recruiting. You don't recruit successfully by not mentioning benefits. Even if they're small, maybe they'll make the difference if the teacher is comparing similar offers. Or maybe the teacher will be turned off if you're Elite International and just mention a big salary and housing allowance, and then expect that the teacher isn't going to care about anything else.

Maybe I'm just not a robot, and my data set is more expansive than yours. If I'm going to live and work somewhere for 2+, I want to know how my life is going to be: from when/where I wake up, to how I'm getting to school (and how long it takes), to what I'm doing about meals, to when I go home. That can make a difference for me when comparing SIMILAR offers. It's not penny wise pound foolish. In fact, I'd argue that taking a slightly higher offer without accounting for these things can be more than a lifestyle mistake--it can be a financial mistake, too.

> So your IS wont pick you up unless its convenient for someone or you pay
> out of your relocation, and this IS is a tier 2 IS? Okay.

Umm...

For starters, I didn't accept that offer.

Second, that's a really harsh spin on the airport pickup. Them saying "we ask that you schedule your arrival between 8 a.m. and midnight if you'd like the pickup. But if you find a better deal, you can always book it and then just take a taxi," is reasonable. Considering they offered a FLAT relocation allowance ($1,000 for me to use however I want), I'm not viewing the OPTION of an airport pickup in a negative light. If I found a $200 cheaper flight that got me in at 3 a.m., I could pocket the difference and pay for a taxi out of that.

Third, yes, it's a T2. Confirmed. I mean, the tiers aren't subjective, right? :)

--
I agree with you on just about everything else you wrote. Good points.
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Reply

Postby PsyGuy » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:24 am

@GrumblesMcGee

You wouldnt have to spend USD$3 on this breakfast though, the yuan trades at about 6:1, your RMB¥2 breakfast is about USD$.30, your RMB¥4 student or teacher lunch is USD$60, its a USD$1/day, $its literally change, and thats the retail/counter cost, not the actual cost, they arent spending USD$200/yr in cost in coin to you, its some fraction of that in actual incremental cost for goods and labor. Thats trivial, to me thats trivial, and Im the one writing the post and its a trivial benefit, minor convenience. Not a major, or even minor driving force in savings. All that and you have to eat the food, I hate congee.

Again not USD$2 breakfast, its USD$.30 breakfast, and maybe those decisions are closer to 40K and apples and 38K and oranges, maybe but then everything the IS spends coin on that you touch becomes a benefit. Do they provide copier paper, notebooks, writing pads, pencils, papers, cups for the water cooler, drinking water, a coffee machine and coffee (and creamer and sugar), what about A/C (air-con) do they give you fans for your classroom, what about that welcome dinner, and the snacks at meetings, oh wait they give you light too. Oh and lets not forget bout the "warm, friendly and professional working environment", thats a benefit as opposed to what a cold, adversarial and unprofessional work environment, in what whacked reality is that an actual option. So yes I fault an IS for classifying trivial and minor conveniences as benefits. I fault ISs for considering things theyre supposed to as some for of favor or benefit.

Real persons new to IE like to think out their daily activities like that, ITs who have been around think less about the day to day trees and more about the forest.

Maybe your data set is more expansive, maybe some of those data values are insignificant. Its penny wise and pound foolish. Id argue focusing and emphasis on minutia is both a practical and financial mistake, counting your pennies at the cost of pounds to do so, not an approach I would advise.

Whats harsh about it, day time arrival flight are more costly than night time arrival flights. An IS that doesnt care about that or puts it all on your shoulders, doesnt care about the IT.

Not agreeing on your IS being a tier 2 IS, doesnt sound like it.
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