Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Embrace Mediocrity!

This is what happens when you're awesome
I avoided working in the corporate world for near ten years.  When you work a corporate job, you get to see a lot of typical inane human behavior, incompetence, general idiocy, how a lack of self confidence can turn a person into a complete douche bag, how some will work diligently at dragging others down instead of working on their own self improvement. . . amplified.

While I do love many of the aspects of my current job and would ultimately prefer to stick with it, today I was reminded once again that it certainly can be a dog eat dog world.

I'm not going to go into all the sordid details as I'm sure you'd find them boring.  I find them boring.  And sad.

While ruminating on how I was going to deal with the current steaming pile of horseshit coming my way, I thought of something that Jake over at The Prestige recently wrote.

I definitely agree to a certain extent with what he says.  However. . .

For a person who wants to make their way in the world yet avoid the bullshit of an office job, teaching English abroad can be a nice means of escape.

I'm not saying that working in a school will see you avoid all the bullshit surrounding any office job; the joy of working an English teaching gig is that it is much easier to just brush it all off and forget about it.  You are in a lot of ways exempt from a lot of the shit the typical employee has to deal.

I don't necessarily see the job as a dead end type of thing any more than any other job: the more you do many kinds of work, the more difficult it becomes to shift gears and do something else.  That is in a lot of ways a bullshit argument.

Really it depends on what you decide to do with your time and experience, and of course your attitude.   I personally had a great time as a teacher running my own gig, and I was able to parlay the experience into developing other professional skills that landed me my current job.

While there are a lot of idiots and washouts in the English teaching gig in Korea, I'm not entirely convinced that the ratio is as exponentially high compared to most other professions as we are led to believe by the Korean media.  It's simply that those burnouts stand out more being waegs and all.

So I'm torn: my current gig gives me more opportunities for professional development, a similar amount of job satisfaction, and more social pull in a lot of situations; but my former gig certainly generated a lot less daily hassle.  And that I do miss on days like today.

I guess it all depends on what you want out of life now, don't it.


Darth Babaganoosh said...

"You are in a lot of ways exempt from a lot of the shit the typical employee has to deal."

Well, yes, but you are instead dealing with an entirely different pile of bullshit. So too do Koreans--in the same school--deal with an entirely set of shit than we do as waegs.

F5Waeg said...

sure, like some of the other teachers treating you like you're still in kindergarten, some of the kids acting like idiots and mocking the waeg. . . depends on the school you're at, but yeah. Also, the weird rando interactions on the streets, and whatever you do don't read the papers.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you've lost touch with ESL reality or never experienced it in the first place with "running your own gig." The pile of BS is twice as big when you get into a competitive hakwon, especially in a place like Gangnam where I work. Money is good and job is fun, but very competitive. Parents, students and admin are all competitive, but most of all the "waegs" are. Every teacher thinks he or she is the best and most popular and on and on. It never stops.

F5Waeg said...

No I've never worked in an institute in Gangnam, although I know the score. I'm sure the backstabbing and politics are awful considering the amounts of money involved, especially if you work in a place that is performance based; the more kids in your class, the more money in your pocket. That can lead to some real nastiness.

However, most teachers in Korea don't work in those institutes. I am talking about the experience of your average waeg working in a uni, public school etc. In more than 90% of those jobs, I know most would agree that the job is relatively bullshit free.

Roarchild said...

I think it's also what you make of it.

If your just going to have fun, get on the booze, ignore learning Korean and chase skirt. Good on you but don't consider it more than a working holiday (the same as working in a pub in England, at the Snow in Canada or working on farms in Australia).

Personal development doesn't have to be put on hold just because your in Korea though. Hopefully you still have time for the good things in life (booze and skirt) but you can get accreditations, study, and such while your here.

F5Waeg said...


Post a Comment