Thursday, March 10, 2005

go back to the command ship and await my odors

I'm back from Immigration and an interview with another hagwon (ick). At Immigration, I got my exit order (ch'ul-guk myeong-nyeong), which states I have to haul my amoeba-like ass out of the country by March 24th*. That gives me two weeks to finalize shit job-wise, or else I have to move all my stuff into storage somewhere, leave the country, switch back to a tourist visa, come back, and continue to search for work.

I pulled myself out of CDI's teacher training and am hopeful to get in good with their R&D department. After enough class observations, I began to realize that, no, the money for teaching wouldn't be worth it. The sanity issue raised its head yet again. R&D is definitely more my speed. Editing. Writing. Proofreading. A quiet environment. The soft clicking of keys. People speaking more or less politely to each other. You get the idea.

I was at Immigration with an EC staffer-- Jinny, one of the front desk gnomes. She told me that students and teachers miss me (awwww)... I gave her a noncommittal grin. Truth be told, I do miss my co-workers and students, but I'm not losing any sleep about parting ways with management. Jinny mentioned that a prominent member of the front desk staff was planning to quit soon.

The hagwon I interviewed at-- OK, hell, it's Pagoda-- laid out their teaching schedule, and it ain't pretty. You have to do two months' worth of Saturdays with them, a month straight each time. And it's all fucking split shifts. The cool thing, though, is that once you've done those eight Saturdays, you're set. No more Saturdays unless you want them. (Or so they say.) It's weird, the things I'm thankful for these days.

The guy I interviewed with reeled back in shock when I told him that EC gave us housing measuring only 3 p'yeong in area. I asked what Pagoda gives. "Fifteen p'yeong," he said, still shaking his head at EC's stinginess. A place five times larger than my EC digs. Room to breathe. Fifteen p'yeong is about the size of the apartment I saw yesterday.

So as always, it's pluses and minuses. Being cursed with the fucking split shift sucks. Doing Saturdays sucks. True: at Pagoda, it's only three hours each Saturday, not EC's eight. Pay at Pagoda isn't all that hot, either, though it's marginally better than the roughly W10,500/hour (net) that EC was giving. Being constantly evaluated (to determine raises) sucks, too.

Among the pluses: after six months of work, you can opt to take a one-month, partially-paid vacation. Sure beats the hell out of ten days, spread out as five and five. One might even consider heading back to one's home country for a bit. Or elsewhere... like, say, Europe. I miss Europe. Another plus, of course, is that you do only the eight Saturdays for the year. Then there's housing. Ooooh, housing. The thought of an actual roomy space is most tempting.

Final note: EC paid me today, and they were as good as their word, at least so far. We'll see whether I get my remaining W600,000 on March 25th (I hope I'll still be in country when that happens).

*Yes, the phrase "amoeba-like ass" actually appears in Korean on the document.


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