Friday, February 25, 2005

CDI of Sauron

My interview at CDI was at 10:30AM on Thursday, which forced me to drag my fat ass out of bed much earlier than usual to get ready. The CDI human resources office is located close to the COEX center by Samsung Station-- the Ch'eongdam district. That whole stretch of buildings reeks of money.

I was guided into a nice conference room where a nervous 20-something guy already sat. His name was Scott, he was from Vancouver, and he was also interviewing for a CDI post. Scott had been only six months in Korea, but I gathered that he'd already garnered plenty of teaching experience at various places. He was almost painfully polite, which made me aware of my age. He also reminded me of Seth Green, a.k.a. Scott Evil in the Austin Powers movies. So there I was, in an unfamiliar conference room, competing with Scott Evil for a teaching job I didn't particularly want. What a world, eh?

The CDI presenter finally lumbered in. This was Brian, a burly Korean guy with a shaved head and Joe Son look about him. Brian led us through a 45-minute PowerPoint presentation about the celestial greatness that is CDI, then asked us to type an essay (there were laptops at every seat) just to prove our English skills. I was having flashbacks to my previous essay-writing experience. As before, we were given a TOEFL topic to write on. My question was something like: "Some say life is like a river, or a party, or a journey, or a game. Of these metaphors, which do you think is most appropriate and why?" As you might guess, I chose to write on journeys.

We were promised a call/email to tell us whether we'd been accepted into the next phase of the training (CDI is supposedly pretty strict). I got a call later in the day saying I'd been accepted into training, but CDI wanted me to begin training the very next day, as well as to train on both Saturday and Sunday. They then wanted me to begin work on Monday.

This was obviously problematic, since I have to work on Friday, move out on Sunday, and work again at EC on Monday. Saturday's my day for final packing. When I spoke with burly Brian on Thursday evening, he said he'd want to keep in touch, and that I was "first in line" for whatever new jobs would be popping up. Nice to know, but I'm still leery: CDI's training program is supposedly a month long, and it seems they're expanding so fast that they now have to run people through the mill in only three days' time. Strikes me as a bit desperate, not to mention sloppy-- especially for a company that makes a point of hyping its own professionalism compared to other "regular" hagwons.

My plan at this point:

1. Move outta my place on Sunday, either down the street to a local goshi-weon, or back up north to where I used to live in Jangui-dong, close to Korea University.

2. Get a plane ticket and fly out to Japan ASAP, so I can change my visa over to tourist.

3. Fly back the following day disguised as Joe Tourist and resume my job hunt, perhaps lingering on as an illegal until the time comes for universities to hire again. They'll be scouting for September positions come July.

I'm also looking into the dreaded lateral promotion, i.e., working at another goddamn hagwon in the Kangnam area. I'd avoid this if I could, but cashflow is imperative. The point would be to go to a hagwon that offers better pay and a better schedule than the nonsense I've gotten at EC.

Speaking of EC, my students seem to be taking my departure stoically, which leads me to believe I haven't made much of an impression on them. No one's actually come out and said, "Fine! Good riddance!" yet, but it might still happen. I've got Friday and Monday to go, after all.

OK... gonna hold a vigil until 5:45am, then grab some empty boxes from the local convenience store so I can start packing shit up in earnest. The convenience store dude told me that 5:45 was the optimal time to scavenge for empty boxes, before the old people swooped down on them and took them away.

Box-scavenging. Heh. Such is my life.


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