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14 June 2004
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Korea Life Blog - Seoul Shawn

Well, here I am back in Seoul. The guy to my left is chain smoking and playing Star Craft. The guy to my right is asleep, a cigarette burning in his ashtray. Yay! Sure is good to be back at the ole PC bangs.

I left Nowhere-dong for a few reasons. The first was that the town is extremely boring, of course. The second, though my job was laid back, my boss was a real scrooge. About a month before my contract was to finish, I tried to schedule a meeting with him about my severance pay and to see if he wanted me to stay on. Since the Korean English teachers at the school couldn't speak English well, I was to have Julie translate. Well he gave us the run-around for the next 2 weeks or more. Finally he called Julie. When she asked him to verify the bonus pay, the boss began his worm routine, crying poverty. Julie lit into him for it, saying he had been damn lucky to have me without having to give the usual benefits and that he promised the bonus pay and better come through on it. He called her back a few days later. If I could move out of my apartment he could get his deposit back, pay my bonus, and then I should get my own place and he would pay some of the rent (350,000 /month).

Even though I wanted to move anyway, it made me angry I had to keep asking him to get what he promised in the first place. However, the job wasn't bad, my co-workers were pretty nice, and I had a pretty good relationship with the students. I did want to stay for a while longer.

I got my bonus and pay but he subtracted 150,000 won for "etc expenditures" which is a load of crap. He also failed to give me a month's rent on a new place. I was not about to ask him for another meeting about it. Despite the fact HE was the one being greedy, it would only appear that I was so. Then came the final blow. I had to be out of my apartment on Saturday. Since I had only missed one day of work during the past year (and only had 3 days vacation), I decided I would take Friday off to find a place to stay for a month and start moving. Julie called him to let him know why I wouldn't be in. He flipped his lid and started yelling at her about it. In return she yelled at him for shorting me on my pay and never giving me any benefits, kicking me out of my apartment, not even trying to offer to help me find a place or help move my stuff, etc etc. After the conversation though, I knew I would never work for him again.

He came to my home later and tried to be angry again about me missing work. Then he tried to play it down, likely sensing he was going to lose his teacher and have to pay real money for a new one, and said I could stay in the apartment for another year. His main concern however was the DSL modem which he asked about several times. By this point all my stuff was packed and I had already paid for a yeogwan. I told him I'd think it over, about staying...just to avoid trying to explain everything in Konglish. (A little while later he came back, not to see what my decision was, but to let me know someone would be picking up the modem at 10AM.)

Now instead of having just paid me what he said he would and not raised a fuss over one day, he is out a teacher and will likely have to pay a recruiter and full time benefits.

For me it worked out pretty good anyway. I am positive I wouldn't have gotten the bonus had he not thought I would stay another year. Now I have no job, but I am lucky. I am really happy to be back in Seoul. I am also free for the moment to do whatever I want, and that's a great feeling. I think I'll head off now and get an ice cream and take a walk. It's a beautiful afternoon.


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