Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Korean Culture Tips for Job-Seekers. Tip #1: Everything Happens Last Minute

I'm going to do a series on Korean culture for people who are looking for English teaching jobs, with excerpts from my book, How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams. Although my advice is specific to university jobs, the basic principles can be applied to anyone searching for a job in Korea.  Here is tip #1:

"Everything Happens Last Minute If you let the last-minute thing get to you, you will not last long in Korea and you will stress out all the Koreans around you. Hassling someone about not giving you notice about something will just make them not like you because they probably did not find out about it themselves until the last minute. Hassling the hiring committee about making a decision about whether you have the job or not will never go down well. Worrying about class and schedule changes that happen a day or two before the semester starts is a recipe for disaster in Korea. “Adapt, improvise, smile and go with the flow,” should be your general attitude if you want to get the job, keep the job and stay there for several years."

What I'm saying is this: most universities in South Korea will not be as organized as you might think they should be. Many of them hire later than you would expect and most places will not produce an actual contract for you to sign until days before the semester starts. Most of them will not be able to tell you how many, or what kind of classes you'll be teaching until the semester is almost underway. Most administrative people will resent you if you ask too many questions and you won't get the job, or if you do, you'll be off to a pretty bad start even before you begin.  So, as I mentioned in my book, "Adapt, improvise, smile and go with the flow." You'll have a much better job searching as well as working experience in South Korean Unis.

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