Get a salaried job! No hourly paid jobs!

Updated 2013-03-14 06:22

Working in Moscow can be lucrative, so I've heard anyway.  However, heed the following warnings:

1. If you take a job that pays 'by the teaching hour' and promises you 80 - 120 hours of teaching hours per month, you have NO GUARANTEE of that actually happening. I have taught corporate clients at major pharmaceutical companies for the past five months, over 100 classes at 1.5 hours each. My clients liked my teaching and recommended me to six different private students. However, and this is the part to pay close attention to, corporate clients cancel their classes often. They have meetings. They go on weekly or even monthly business trips. The companies decided to take month long breaks between semesters leaving you with no income for an entire month. This has nothing to do with teaching performance. It is due to the fact that corporate clients have responsibilities at work that take precedence over English lessons. If you don't have a set salary every month, every time they cancel a lesson it comes right out of your pay. As an example, last month alone I had 20 cancellations due to business meetings and trips, all of which I wasn't paid for. So the advice is - if you take a job in Moscow, take a job with a guaranteed salary no matter what the clients do.

2. Finding accommodation in Moscow is a very, very difficult ordeal. You will call dozens of realtors, and most of them will not deal with you unless you are renting an apartment that costs $2000 - $2500 per month. Seeing as though your monthly pay will be less than that, chances are you won't be renting that kind of place unless you are independently wealthy. You will almost surely end up in a three bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom for about $600 or $700 per month. If you are extremely lucky, you will get one within a few minutes walk of a metro station or your school. Don't think it matters? Remember that Moscow winters get down to -25 degrees with snow flying in your face. Your toes will appreciate a short walk to the metro.

3. Moscow is an incredibly overpriced city if you shop in the ubiquitous shopping malls. Unless you go to Ashan or one of the discount stores located on the extremities of the cities metro lines, you will pay five or ten times the price you normally would for clothing and just about everything else. Food, on the other hand, is not all that unreasonable, thankfully. Most supermarkets have fair prices as long as you're not buying caviar and truffles.

4. Make sure your salary mentioned in the contract you will inevitably be sent says whether or not your pay is net of tax. Income tax will take a huge chunk of your pay. Most contracts I have read state the amount of salary after taxees have been taken out, which is a good, honest practice for any employer, but be careful nonetheless and ask to be sure.

5. The metro system in Moscow is among the best in the world I have ever seen. Use it. Buy a monthly or three month card and enjoy exploring the city. It ends up costing about a dollar a day, which isn't much if you do a lot of travelling. Don't even think about using taxis. I once had a taxi charge me $15 to drive me 300 meters around a corner because I couldn't find a building. This is their standard practice, not just a ripoff artist.

6. To sum up, Moscow is an interesting place to visit. A lot of the coolest places to visit, like Red Square, are free admission. But when you get a contract, make sure you get a set salary and free accommodation included. If you don't, you will find your salary fluxuating like a rollercoaster and you'll end up paying a rental agent $600 or more to find you a not-so-impressive room in a three-room shared apartment.

Enjoy the Russian culture - it is an amazing place.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.