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27 November 2004
South Korean Flag








KLB - Only in Korea



It's 12:34 AM on Friday night and Julie is at a job interview for a teaching position at a nearby hagwon.

Even though she makes pretty good money for a relatively easy job now, she wants to make more (who doesn't?) and work closer to our apartment. So she applied to 5 places and within a day had 5 interviews set up. In Korea, there is a shortage of jobs...unless you can teach English. She narrowed that down to one, a school which is literally across the street, one that pays very well - as much as an experienced foreigner would get. Apparently she is taking some kind of writing test because every once in a while my phone rings and Julie whispers: "Shawn...what does predicate mean?" then hangs up as if someone caught her. Being alert, I just plugged the word into a Korean - English translator and sent her back the Korean in a text message. Hope she does well.

[Update] She came back home, pissed off a little. Not really a surprise, but the job advertisement was much different than the actual job. Somehow, the salary was 1/4 less, and the schedule 2 hours longer. Instead of 2-9, as stated in the ad, it's actually 3-11. The owner raved about how his teachers are so diligent, that they never go home at 11, usually they stay until 12, sometimes later. He said this in such a way that implied these teachers are just that dedicated, that enthusiastic about their work. I find that pretty hard to believe. I imagine they stay that late because they don't want to leave before the boss goes home.

Anyway, subjecting Julie to a two hour interview full of questions like "describe your personality," she has realized that her job is pretty damn good, even if it does pay a little less (she only works 3-4 hours/day - like me.) She has one more interview lined up for tomorrow but is now incredulous about it.

At first I started to think how unfortunate those teachers who work at this hagwon are to have to work from 3 to 11 (and later). But then I thought about the poor students. These are middle school kids that are studying there that late. Can you imagine being 13 or 14 years old and going to school early in the morning and coming home finally at 11 or 12 at night? What a colossal waste of youth. I am very glad and lucky about for the freedom I had as a kid.

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