Sunday, November 18, 2012

this Monday, many Sundays, and the future

I've said yes to working this coming Monday in return for taking the Saturday after Thanksgiving off. It occurs to me that I haven't had a proper vacation-- by which I mean a week or more off-- since I began working for YB. The problem, of course, is that I work part-time for an hourly wage, not on a salary, so there's no such thing as paid leave. To go on vacation is to lose money, so I have to keep on treading water.

I've also received an offer of private tutoring-- two students for two hours on Sundays. Not a bad gig, I hope; these are older Korean kids needing some ESL help. I'm still in the intro/negotiation phase; there are many particulars to work out, but in the meantime, I'm happy that my slow-but-steady networking at the local Korean barbershop has paid off.

Regarding the future: I've sent in my application to Sungkyunwan University (SKKU). Who knows what'll happen this time? Last time I tried this, several months ago, my application was basically ignored-- I received no reply from the university at all, not even an acknowledgement of receipt. That was pretty damn rude. I'm hoping for better this time: I'm hoping at least to make it to the interview round. My buddy Tom has said he'd be willing to fund a trip to Korea for interview purposes. It's been a few years since last I was there; I left the peninsula in 2008, and I'm sure a lot has changed, as it always does in that society.

While I await the results of my application's submission, I can indulge in some fantasizing. As much as I like my current job, which is, all in all, quite a pleasant-- and even fun-- gig, I'm jonesing for a return to a faculty position at a Korean uni: three- to four-month paid vacations, fifteen hours per week of actual work (sure, there's lesson planning, student consultation, and other ancillary duties, but nothing too burdensome), health insurance, and a measure of creative control over my own curriculum. Plus, there's the option of teaching during vacation, which means earning at least double my normal pay during a given month.

Were I to get the SKKU gig, I can tell you what path my life would take: the first year would be spent saving up at least $10,000 to put down as "key money" on a respectable apartment (the so-called "officetel") in downtown Seoul. The next few years would be spent saving up money to start paying down massive chunks of my scholastic debt-- an obligation that hobbles me financially. I don't want to be an old man still saddled with debt; I'd like to be able to breathe freely for at least a few years before I kick off.

Ah, yes... a man can dream.


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