Tokyo Dev

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New Grad with Offer - Please help me put it in perspective?


#1

I got an offer from a company that I’m seriously considering taking, but I’m not sure about it. I won’t provide identifying details or exact numbers, but here’s what it looks like:

  • 10-7pm, 1 hr break so 8 hr work days
  • Employed as a 正社員
  • pay: (yen) 200k/month starting, 215k/month after 7 months
  • up to 20k/month for commuting
  • 家賃手当 with no numbers
  • 健康保険、厚生年金、and a couple other kinds of insurance are mentioned but if I remember correctly it comes out of my pay
  • 2 bonuses a year

These are my concerns:

  • Will it be comfortable to live on?
  • Is negotiating normal?
  • How often do people switch companies?
  • I’m a woman.
  • How does this offer stack up against other foreign developer’s offers/lives?
  • Are there questions I should ask human resources regarding the offer?
  • Would it make more sense to gain experience in the US first? (If I do so, I feel concerned that I may lose my Japanese abilities.)
  • Are there other concerns I should have? Things I haven’t considered?

If people have questions about how I got here, I’ll do my best to answer, but I’m hoping for some advice and commentary from people who have walked the path I’m looking at. Thanks!


#2

Hi,

Maybe you should mention what the position is about, otherwise it is difficult to emit an opinion.


#3

This is pretty much as low an offer as you could get. In fact, if it isn’t from a major company, I think you run the risk of not being able to get a working visa because of the low salary. While there aren’t concrete numbers on it, I’ve heard immigration is looking for at least ¥3.3 million per year. Maybe if they are fully paying for your housing, that wouldn’t be an issue. The other thing that you didn’t mention is whether the company is paying to relocate you to Japan (for instance, your flight).

I think it is theoretically possible to live on that salary, even if you’re working in Tokyo. If it is comfortable is another question. To answer this depends more on what kind of living conditions you want, and how much the company is contributing towards your rent.

I’d also strongly suspect you’re going to be expected to work longer hours than 10 to 7, as the offer implies the company doesn’t value developers.

I certainly would negotiate the offer. The worst thing that happens is that the company doesn’t budge on it. On the other hand, it could turn out they’re willing to low ball you. Personally, I think a total compensation package of around ¥5 million is more reasonable, and would be enough to live in Tokyo without any money concerns (and being able to put away some savings).

One good thing about Japanese visas is that they aren’t tied to a specific company. This makes it much easier to change jobs once you’re in Japan on a valid visa. So you could take the job, and use it for a launching point for your career in Japan. I’d start getting involved in the developer community right away, and chances are you can find something better soon.

While there is traditionally a lot of stigma about changing jobs in Japan, that’s changing, especially among developers. As a foreigner, the expectation is already that you’re going to be flighty, so I wouldn’t worry about changing jobs.


#4

Thanks for your reply!

It’s a programming position for a web company, and they use PHP. I don’t have any more details, sorry.


#5

Thank you so much for your (extremely fast!!) reply! Wow, that gives me a lot to think about. I’ll let you know what I decide to do, but this really helps me. Thank you!!!


#6

Super cheap salary, in Tokyo this is hard to go by with such a salary really, and as others said , getting a VISA is going to be tough, also regarding the VISA I hope you have at least a B.S or 10 years experience in the field to show for, otherwise no VISA I think.