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7 December 2004
South Korean Flag

KLB - "It'll Be So Fun For You!"

I got a phone call from my "boss" today, Bonnie. She said she had a wonderful opportunity for me - that I can teach part time next week in the morning at a school not far from where I work, from 9 - 12, and then take a taxi to my normal job.

"Yeah," I said, sighing. "I see. For how long?"

"Just a week," said Bonnie.

"Well, I'm not sure."

"What? This is very good. It'll be so much fun for you and great experience."

I started to laugh. I couldn't help it. Bosses are always pulling stunts like this when they need something, making it look like it's an opportunity for you, not them. Luckily I've learned this lesson before. Back in Ulsan my boss took me out to dinner only to ask me to teach extra classes (no extra pay) and called it a wonderful chance to gain more teaching experience while being proud to help their school grow. Being put on the spot I said yes - and, of course, regretted it.

The fact is, Bonnie needs a foreign teacher to promote her program in the school for a week so that the school can see it firsthand and, of course, so she can make more money if they accept it, at which time she'll hire a regular teacher. I told her I'd think it over and let her know.

"Well," she said, about to make a high-pressure sale. "I have to talk to the principal there tomorrow, so I need to know."

"Ok, then my answer is no. Good luck!"

"What? Why?"

"It's too far and too early."

"Oh, come on. It's not too early."

"I'd do it if I lived closer. I'd have to leave here by 7:30 and I wouldn't be home until almost 6. It's not worth it for a one week job."

"I need a teacher. You have to help me out here," she pleaded, finally admitting the truth.

"I'd like to, but, no, I don't have to and I'm not going to do it. I'm sorry, but that's my decision. You needed the answer now and it's best I just tell you, right?"

She tried talking me into it a few more annoying minutes before giving up and hanging up with a quick goodbye. Obviously she was aggravated and disappointed and I did feel a little bad that I couldn't help her, but mostly just bad that she called. Though I'm under no obligation to do this, and she was requesting it as a favor (yet by making it seem a favor to me) I wound up looking like a bad guy for not helping her out, at least in her eyes. Now I'll wonder if she'll pay me on time this Friday or conveniently forget. Ah, the joyful politics of work...


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