Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Our employment contract has a clause in it about university-sponsored housing: the employee, if not renewing his contract, must leave the residence one week before the end of the contract period. In my case (and in the case of everyone hired at the same time that I was), that means one week before August 31, my birthday. I'm gambling that I'll actually have a place to move to by August, so this shouldn't be a huge issue, but it's sad, all the same, to have the rug pulled out from under my feet.

Today there came another surprise: one of the office assistants told me that I'd actually have to leave even earlier than stipulated—about ten days earlier. I guess if you don't renew, the policy is to kick your ass out the door as hastily as possible, so you can't even enjoy your contract-mandated two months' vacation.* I can hear John Belushi shouting in a faux-Italian accent, "We gotta have a turnover! Turnover!" Since there's little I can do about the situation without kicking and screaming (a strategy that actually works surprisingly well for Westerners in Korea, but at the cost of diplomatic capital and self-respect), I'll be striking camp on August 14. That means I will either celebrate my birthday in Seoul or celebrate my birthday back in the States. Much depends on the next few weeks.

*I know: you 9-to-5 proles in your 40-hour-a-week cubicle jobs are going, "Oh, boo-hoo! Poor Kevin: only a month and a half of vacation!" Yeah, well, up yours.


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