Tuesday, April 05, 2005

OK, this is a bad thing to do, but...

Sorry to rub it in, former co-workers at EC, but after today's phone conversation with the Smoo office, I did the math and here's roughly where we stand.

A quick comparison of my EC (hagwon) and Smoo (university) jobs.

EC: W2.2 million before taxes; approx 1.95 net
Smoo: W1.8 million before, plus .3 mil housing allowance; assuming about W1.6 net, but I don't have an accurate picture of discretionary income. Could be a bit less than this. Could be more. Much depends on extra fees and overtime work.

EC: approx 44hrs/week, including at least two Saturdays a month
Smoo: 18hrs/week maximum, NO WEEKENDS (true, there's lesson prep, but this is done in the quiet comfort of your own home, or at the office at your own pace)

EC: base fee of W70,000/month, plus "admin expenses"
Smoo: W400,000/month, but reduced to W100,000 when housing allowance is factored in. I don't know about special fees yet. Will ask.

EC: about 3 p'yeong of usable living space
Smoo: about 6-8 p'yeong (and it will include a kitchenette!)

EC: 10 days/year to be used for vacation/sickness, plus nat'l holidays
Smoo: 2 months/yr (paid), plus nat'l holidays

EC: standard
Smoo: standard

EC: On split shift, at W600 per trip using the special ticket, transportation was about W52,800. On block shift, about W26,400.
Smoo: ZERO. I'm housed on campus. Will be walking, thanks.

I'd like to know if Smoo covers dental. I know I'm going to need a good part of June to recover from pulling out a nasty wisdom tooth. It's finally starting to hurt: the cavity's gone deep and we're at the nerve now. There's also a chance the tooth might not pull straight out because the cavity's so deep: the crown might simply snap off. In any case, at the rate things are deterioriating, I'm tentatively predicting agony by the end of May. Might have to swish around a ton of antibacterial mouthwash to keep that puppy as clean as I can.

Good news: my term starting in April is about 15 hours/week. Insane.

There are far better deals than what I'm getting. A friend of mine is getting a base salary of W2.5 million, plus W10 million loan for key money to get a decent apartment. He's got one, and it's over 20 p'yeong in size (including that lovely loft space). That's pretty sweet. The university will, however, ask him to teach extra classes during vacation (he gets four months, not two), whereas Smoo is making no such demand.

There's a ton of competition to get into university work. Visit Dave's ESL Cafe's Korea job link site (see here) and take a look at which job opportunities get the most hits. It's always the universities. Universities know this, too, and that's why many of them are starting to hagwonize, asking their teachers to teach longer hours, giving them less vacation, and making them teach children during summer and winter breaks.

If you've got a master's degree and W5 million on you, I'd recommend going for a university now, while the getting's good. I don't say that as an old, wise veteran; I'm saying it simply as a matter of common sense. It seems the window for sweet deals is closing as more campuses go the hagwon route.

But even with the hagwonization, the uni provides an objectively better deal: one doesn't hear about shitty university teaching conditions nearly as often as one hears about shitty hagwon conditions. Make the switch. Save your sanity. Give yourself to the dark side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes-- your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong, especially for... sister! So, you have a twin sister! Obi-wan was wise to hide her from me, but now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the dark side, perhaps she will!


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