Wednesday, January 12, 2005

putting my money where my mouth is

I'm drafting my letter of resignation to EC. Enough's enough. I'm currently applying for several different positions, including a couple university posts both inside and outside of Seoul. We'll see how that goes.

EC requires a 45-day notice if you're planning to quit. I'm going to be teaching until the end of February-- just in time, I hope, for the start of the Korean academic year.

Even if the job searches don't pan out, I'll have no regrets about leaving EC. To teach such long hours for so little pay, and with no support at all from the management, leads to the feeling that I'm wasting my time. I could be doing something worthwhile.

I'm also concerned about how I've been unable to save any money up to now. I send so much money home for debt (almost all education-related) that I have little to survive on for the month-- certainly not enough to think about a plane ticket home.

I'm looking at jobs that either pay a lot more or give me the opportunity to earn some money on the side. We'll see what comes of that.

What are my grievances? Ah, I suppose you think I'll list them all in my resignation letter! What, are you fucking nuts? If I turn that letter in with a long list of complaints appended thereto, what's the likelihood I'll be getting my final month's pay?* And remember this: once you've stated your intention to quit, they'll be looking for reasons to fire you before your declared quitting date. No-- as far as Imelda knows, I'm looking for a new job because I need more money to finance my debt. Have no fear, though: management will eventually learn the true reasons for my departure.

1. Being crammed for three months in a tiny studio apartment, unable to unpack my possessions because I'd been told I'd have to move "shortly," with no exact indication as to when that might have been.

2. The stupid lab coat requirement.

3. Being asked to conduct student placement tests between classes, when we have barely five minutes to do them.

4. Being asked to conduct placement tests when we're off the clock (I've been asked to do this twice already).

5. Having had my pay docked W100,000 for the wrong month.

6. Perhaps most important: watching helplessly while my Korean colleagues get financially shafted and otherwise mistreated by both Imelda and K, the founder. "Helplessly," because I worry that speaking out on their behalf will simply get them all in trouble, and I'm not sure they'd appreciate my intervention, anyway.

There's nothing noble about staying here and tolerating this bullshit. Life is short; I'd rather live it constructively. I'd also rather have more free time. I keep thinking back to the first bad omen I had about EC: the day I came in for my interview, I heard two Korean teachers talking in Korean. One sighed to the other, "In-saeng-i eop-da," or "I have no life." I should have walked out right then. Silly me for making the wrong choice. Luckily, we can unmake our choices and, I hope, learn from them.

More on this as it happens. I'm morbidly curious about how Imelda will take the news. Not that it matters; in typical hagwon manager's style, she won't view my departure as a big loss. Other teachers are being trained as we speak; most will be replacing dropouts. That's how it works at hagwons. It's a revolving door. I'm revolving out.

*To be clear, I expect them to try some dirty tricks about this as well. I'm mentally prepared just to walk away, even if they offer nothing. Fuck 'em. My litigating days are over.


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