Thursday, May 19, 2011


YB Far can give me only 4 hours of work today, as opposed to the usual six. My shift starts at 5PM this afternoon as a result. I've been told, by my boss at YB Near, that June and July tend to be slow months, which makes me wonder what sort of schedule I might have. YB expands its schedule from 6 hours to 8 hours of work during the summer, but I'm guessing that I might not be working a full 8 hours a day during that time. As things stand right now, YB Near usually gives me 4-hour days at least once per week (as happened yesterday), so I almost never work a full complement of hours.

For that reason, I continue to contemplate a move to Manhattan GRE, and recently discussed this with my buddy Mike, who wanted to know whether Manhattan would be able to provide steady work. That was a good question, and I had one other: did Manhattan actually offer classes in the DC area, or would I have to either move to New York City or teach online in DC? I needed to know the answers to these questions to figure out my next move.

What follows, then, is a recent exchange between me and Manhattan GRE about those two questions. I sent my email yesterday afternoon; the reply arrived earlier this morning.

I wrote:

To whom it may concern:

I recently saw the Manhattan GRE ad on Craigslist and am very interested in learning more about the ins and outs of employment there. I'm hoping to re-take the GRE in the very near future (the last time I did it was probably in 1998 or 1999), and if I score in the 99th percentile, I'd like to apply for a teaching/tutoring position at your firm.

I've already read some of the material regarding qualifications, interviews, and training. What I'd like to know, if possible, is how steady the work is. The reason I ask is that I used to work for ETS as a TOEFL essay rater; I was initially told that the work for TOEFL would be steady because the test can be taken at any time of the year, and because academic calendars vary from country to country (I used to live and work in South Korea, where the school year begins in March). However, it turned out that TOEFL essay rating follows the same sinusoidal "ups" and "downs" I associate with the SAT and other standardized tests. In my case, I left ETS after experiencing two months in a row in which I received only 3-5 days' work per month. No one can live on such a schedule.

Now cautious after my ETS experience, I'd like to know whether Manhattan GRE is able to guarantee a steady schedule; the Craigslist ad I saw said something along the lines of "must be flexible about working evenings and weekends." This gives the reader the impression that a fixed, stable, week-to-week schedule might not be possible, but I admit that I may be misinterpreting the ad.

I suppose my question boils down to this: if I were to sign on with Manhattan GRE, would I be able to work around 12 to 20 hours per week, Monday through Thursday? (I can't be flexible about weekends, I'm afraid. I have a personal project that requires my attention. I can be flexible about Fridays, however.)

As I've been writing this, a second question has occurred to me: what sort of work is available for those of us in the DC-Metro area? The Craigslist ad that I saw was on the Craigslist Washington, DC page, implying that DC-based work is available; but the Manhattan GRE "Contact" page has a sidebar that says "Manhattan GRE now offers courses in New York City, Austin, and Live Online." Does this mean that DC-based employees would be working online, or does the company have actual "meatspace" facilities in/around DC?

Thank you for your time and patience in reading this email, and thank you in advance for answering these questions. I look forward to hearing from you very soon.


Kevin Kim

The reply I received today:

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your interest in an Instructor position at Manhattan GRE!

We are currently looking to hire instructors to help us launch our classes in DC. Our live classes will be held in our DC center (14th Street NW) where our sister company, Manhattan GMAT, holds their classes.

Class schedules vary during the course of a year, but there are opportunities for curriculum development, to teach online, and to tutor one-on-one. We would try to keep your weekly hours as steady as possible. That being said, we cannot guarantee that these hours would be Monday through Thursday. Many of our classes are held on the weekends and many of our private tutoring students prefer weekend slots.

When you are ready to apply please visit:


Kristin Edla
Manager of Recruitment and Outreach

While I wasn't entirely happy with the remarks about the scheduling, I believe I can work it out such that I have a three-day block to myself every week, even if that block is composed of nothing but weekdays. I'm more willing to compromise than I let on. So yes, weekend work will be fine, at least for a while. But as much as I value the money right now, given my financial situation, I also value my sanity. I could see myself working at Manhattan for a year, saving up money for the walk, doing the walk, returning to Manhattan for another year or two, and then heading back to Korea, where I know the work will be absolutely steady, even if the pay isn't as grandiose as $100 per hour.

All in all, Manhattan sounds like a good option right now-- certainly better than my present situation. Again, the problem with the current status quo isn't the job itself; I enjoy what I'm doing. The problem is the pay. Doing the same sort of work for five times the current pay sounds like a good career move, no?

We'll see. Stay tuned. All of this may be moot if I'm unable to score in the 99th percentile on the GRE.


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