Saturday, July 12, 2014

off to Seoul—twice

I'll be in Seoul this coming July 15 to 18, leaving for Hayang again on the afternoon of the 18th. I'm currently feeling a great deal of pain because I had to turn down a massively lucrative work opportunity: a three-month, 9-to-5 stint in Luxembourg at the Doosan Corporation, earning an incredible W8 million/month translating documents from Korean into French. Alas, my Korean's not nearly good enough for such work, even though my French is. So I had to turn the job down. (Thanks, anyway, John Mac.)

On the very day I arrive in Seoul, the 15th, I have to sprint over to Sookmyung Women's University, my old employer, to grab another jaejik-jeungmyeong-seo, i.e., an official employment voucher—proof that I worked at Job X during Period Y. Dongguk University, to which I'm applying for work, is giving me a hard time: first, I'm not allowed to just email my documents to their office: I have to print out and snail-mail everything; second, Dongguk wants a voucher from every university I've worked at. I can't fathom why; Sookmyung was six years ago. Be that as it may, I do appreciate the fact that Dongguk was professional enough to call me and tell me that they still needed the extra voucher to complete my application package. An unprofessional racket like Sungkyunkwan University would have left me hanging out to dry instead of bothering to contact me.

On the 16th and 17th, I'll be in Yeouido, at KMA, working on some tasks, partly in preparation for my return to Seoul the following week to teach a Saturday class at KMA. I'm also hoping to get together with a CEO that I had "met" on LinkedIn, but this CEO isn't answering my emails, so that might fall through.

My buddy Tom says he's currently acting as a "mystery shopper," one who visits various high-end restaurants, and he's invited me to join him for an expensive dinner paid for by the company tab. "We only have a W250,000 budget," he said wryly. Hey, I'm all for buying a $125 dinner somewhere. Why the hell not?

The following week, as mentioned, I'm back in Seoul to teach at KMA and earn a little coin. KMA is great about paying promptly; that income, plus the income-tax refund I'll soon be receiving from the Commonwealth of Virginia, will be a small boost as I transition from Hayang back to Seoul.

In between these two trips to Seoul, I have to visit the Daegu Immigration Office to request extensions on my visa and my alien-registration card. This is particularly uncomfortable because I still don't know, yet, what my immediate future holds: will I be teaching at Dongguk University? Will I be teaching at Catholic University Seoul? Will I be with the Golden Goose? It's a bit frustrating to be where I am right now, not knowing what's coming next. It's even more frustrating to know that, despite my being an educated guy, my credentials are no longer exactly what the Korean language-education job market is looking for. These days, the requirements are pretty specific: a CELTA certificate and/or an MA TESOL—or a doctorate in applied linguistics. (Of course, if you have a doctorate from a foreign university, why on Earth would you work in Korea?)

No matter... I'll take each day as it comes. Right now, I've got to go do a 10000-step walk.


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