So, less than 24h after I was complaining about not receiving any information from my potential offer for a position in Japan, I finally received the offer.
Setting the role aside, which will basically be very similar to what I do here in the US, the salary looks pretty good to me. Without actually revealing the details of that salary, here are a few interesting numbers about it:
- It is 22% higher than the minimum I was willing to accept (my minimum was based on my last salary in the same company in Japan and some multipliers added due to my recent promotion etc…).
- As such I did not negotiate anything and signed as soon as I received it.
- It is 13% less than my current US salary.
- Which I feel is great, given that I’ve heard stories of people accepting a 30% salary cut within the company when they moved from the US to Japan
- It is 54% more than my last salary in Japan, in the same company, 2.5 years ago.
- Yes, I got promoted in the meantime, but still, this is pretty awesome.
- It is 3.4 times the first salary I earned as an engineer in Japan, 10 years ago.
- That part is mind blowing. I’m actually not sure how I feel about this. What would my life have been if I had chosen to stay in that first company? I didn’t like the company, and the low salary was one of the big reasons, but I was still young and assumed I was paid “accordingly” and in line with industry standards. Today my family of 5 live extremely comfortably on my salary and we save a lot. This wouldn’t have been the case had I kept my first job. My wife would still have to work, and our two salaries would barely cover our family’s expenses. Our only savings would most likely be coming from my side gig. We’d still have a pretty good life, but it would be different in many aspects (although I personally think our life as a married couple would be much more balanced if we were both working, but that’s a different story).
Beyond the salary which I’m pretty happy about, my overall feeling when (finally) receiving the offer, was a feeling of joy and relief. And, although I know this feeling will progressively go away thanks to hedonic adaptation (I had a similar feeling when I got my promotion which motivated me to work harder for a few weeks, that feeling’s long gone), I also want to compare it to the time I received the “opposite” offer, when we moved from Japan to the US. I remember that I was full of doubts when I received that offer: “do we really want to go to the US?”, “under that manager whom I don’t like at all?”, “I’d have preferred the UK, but now it’s too late to look for teams there, and I’ve already signed”, “well I guess it will be good for the kids, plus I’d feel like a loser if I rejected this great offer”.
Don’t get me wrong, moving to the US has turned out great on many aspects: better salary, career improvement (although that one doesn’t mean much as a prospective Early retiree), kids surrounded by English, and overall I do like change like that. But I remember that I did not feel overwhelmed with joy when I made the decision. This time, it’s different… I think. Japan has lots of aspects that I didn’t like back then, and that I won’t like now. But that gut feeling can’t be 100% wrong: Japan is where I wanted to go 12 years ago, and this is where I want to go again. Yes, I will complain about the crowded trains, the naive xenophobia, the fact that I suck at the goddam language, the rules that cannot be bent, the insufferable humidity in summer… but it will still be Japan, and I will come back to that feeling I used to have frequently while riding the train, stopping at shinjuku station: “damn, I’m riding a train, and stopping in the magical city of Shinjuku, and this is my daily life. Who would have guessed this would ever happen to me?”
Hey, I’m all rainbow and unicorns right now, and maybe this will only last for a few hours. But I’ll take it
Next steps: agree on a transition phase with my current manager, and getting started with the Visa process…