Monday, September 17, 2012

Employment! And Unemployment by Choice

I got a job! And I started this morning at 8:30am. I dislike it so much I have begged for my part time afternoon job back and started looking up plane ticket prices to go back to the US. Air China is the cheapest at $691 in mid-November, when my stay in Korea expires again. I could take another "visa vacation" and leave for half a day, get my passport stamped, lie at the border saying my visa is being processed, and get another 90 days, but I'm so tired.

A few hours later, and I'm back at my desk at my comfy part-time job with good people. Everyone just laughed at me for quitting suddenly and then begging for my job back, especially when I told them about the office.

When I had my job interview, it was in a coffee shop just outside a subway station I've never actually gotten off at before. It's one of those stations you usually pass by on your way to somewhere important. That should have been my first clue. Then I got the job the day after the interview, and they asked me to start Monday.

This morning I followed the directions in my email to the office, which was down an alley a little ways in an old, sketchy building with an old screen golf sign that used to be yellow, but was now a kind of dirty ivory. As I entered the doorway, I hoped there would at least be an elevator, as the office was on the third floor. Office + elevator = of course (in my thinking). Nope. Dark, black, rubbery stairs crammed in uncomfortable ways to get people up in a cramped space. After finally finding the door, I realized I was early, and I couldn't tell whether the door was open or not. It was a normal security steel door, unmarked, with the keypad lid open, but the door itself was closed. After hesitating a minute or so and considering eating the small breakfast I'd brought in the dirty hallway by the unisex bathroom in full view of the urinal, I decided it was best to at least try the door.

It opened easily and there were three people inside. I recognized one from the interview. I don't think he spoke English; or maybe my Korean is just better than his. Later, I realized that the woman in the corner who didn't talk to me was the other person from my coffee shop interview. The boss told the third and final person in the small office to sit me down. She told me, "you can sit here" and pointed out one of the 4 empty desks in the middle of the room. I awkwardly set my things down and began to leaf through a travel book that was on my new desk. This position was supposed to be writing some contents for a website that gave information to expats in Korea, and doing some web marketing. So I figured they wanted me to basically copy some of the things in the travel guide and/or go there and write my own articles about them.

After a few minutes of feeling like an idiot, the boss called a meeting with the girl and me. He told me that they are redoing the website until the end of the year for a new launch in January, and that my job was to do two things: redesign by benchmarking other sites the living in Korea section, make a working forum, and market it to people who would write in it and maybe advertise there through positive reviews. I'm not great with computers. What you see on this website is the best I can do. Why did they hire me?

This was the best option for me. I hated it. I told the boss honestly, I don't like the job and I took it hoping to see that there was a future for me in Korea but I've decided to go home to the US. He told me to go ahead and get out. That was my 3 hours at my new job.

And that's it. I'm going back to the US with a one-way ticket when my current 90 days are up. I will tie up loose ends and get out. The only thing that will keep me in Korea would be a job at Google, which I applied for a while ago.

After 3 years of Korean life, I'm calling it quits. Korea doesn't want me here, even if the Korean people I work with want me here. I can't be anything or do anything unless I choose to give up my future and be an English teacher, which I cringe at the thought of. Maybe if I get a job while I'm in the US and it's a good one, e.g. Google, I'll come back. But I'm done fighting.

I will miss you, Korea. I know you won't miss me. That breaks my heart.


  1. Try Dubai,you won't need to speak arabic. Very cosmopolitan. Full of life. Pays very good money. That is if you can take the extreme heat during summer.

    1. I have thought about either Dubai or Abu Dhabi, but if I'm going to leave Korea, I'd rather go home than start over again with no social network and no idea how things work. But who knows, I might end up there.

      And... I'd learn Arabic anyway ;)

  2. Try this for social network, FAQ's and some job ad: . Goodluck!

    1. Thanks! There's nothing for me right now, but I'll keep checking back and thinking about it.

  3. You mustn't start a work you don't like. You'd just end up wasting time if ever.Right decision.