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How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« on: June 10, 2020, 08:26:05 pm »
   I don't know if any of you guys are in a position to advise me about stress management. I am teaching at a kinder elementary. I feel as if I am being micromanaged, AND being asked to do lots of "extras." The relatively new boss is very pushy and  blunt, even when he doesn't mean to be. I feel really stressed at times and I worry about losing my temper and being fired.  Today I was also reprimanded for not starting my first class  20 minutes early because one student was there. However, I would really prefer to keep this job, at least for the next few months. It would make sense to stay till then, and I'd get my bonuses or some compensation.
So, if you guys have any advice to give on stress management, it would be appreciated? How do you deal with stress. Also, how should I cope with micromanagement? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.



Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 12:21:27 am »
I'm sorry to hear you're having that experience, OP. From what I can tell, micromanagement is pretty much par for the course at Korean schools and academies. I had something similar happen to me though at my academy. I had one student coming in a good 30 minutes early every day he had class and he'd sit in my classroom, which also serves as my "office," until all the other kids arrived. I'd talk to him and be friendly, but if I was busy checking essays or preparing for my classes, I'd focus on that. One day, my boss told me I was getting complaints from the boy's mother who apparently expected an extra 30 minutes of free lesson time every day!  Apparently the teacher I replaced would do it, which I don't really believe, but this mother felt entitled to my time, which would have been at the expense of all the other students! So I guess I don't have any specific advice, but I understand the feeling.


Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2020, 07:48:06 am »
Deal with or get rid of the source of the stress. You have a problem, it won't go away or get better till it's solved.

As for managing everyday stress and frustration, lift weights.


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1794

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2020, 07:59:12 am »
Deal with or get rid of the source of the stress. You have a problem, it won't go away or get better till it's solved.

As for managing everyday stress and frustration, lift weights.

Doesn't always help. I lift weights 6 days a week, rest on either Fri or Sat; I have a school I'm at for just half a day on Wednesday. That time alone has raised my blood pressure so high, that I'm nearing heart attack status at a young age, due to stress from when I'm there.
within 5 minutes at this school, I feel like I NEED a 4 week paid vacation.

For the OP, I'd start looking into what you will do at the end of your contract, and think about leaving your current position but, try not to leave early, unless you feel doing so would be good for you, and put in your notice if you do decide to leave.


  • oglop
  • The Legend

    • 3836

    • August 25, 2011, 07:24:54 pm
    • Seoul
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2020, 11:47:09 am »
The trick is getting drunk BEFORE work


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1186

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2020, 12:14:21 pm »
The trick is getting drunk BEFORE work

I second this.  You're not making the classic rookie mistake of waiting until after work to throw back a few are you?  And if you're not an early enough riser soju is odorless and tasteless mixed with orange juice.  You'll be finding that early kid hilarious and your best buddy in no time. 

If that doesn't work I find a good evening walk does the trick.  I would go up the trails on the mountain in my city (bring a flashlight) and there would be so few people.  I could do a two hour circuit on some mountain trails and not see anyone for an hour and found it very calming.  Like you said, you're not so far off from finishing that you want to throw in the towel, so find band aid solution until you finish.  You'd be surprised by how many paths are out there.  Two hours away from the urban build up does wonders for my disposition. 


Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2020, 01:05:10 pm »
I'm sorry to hear you're having that experience, OP. From what I can tell, micromanagement is pretty much par for the course at Korean schools and academies.

This is only true if you allow it to happen. Many Korean workplaces work around a "bully" culture. They'll test if you're a doormat and if the believe you are one, get ready to do a bunch of "favors" and "free-teaching".
Bullies don't go after the strong.

One day, my boss told me I was getting complaints from the boy's mother who apparently expected an extra 30 minutes of free lesson time every day! 

I'd literally laugh in his face.

Apparently the teacher I replaced would do it, which I don't really believe,

Much like Herbalife, this is the oldest scam in the book.

"The previous teacher did "free-talking" during their lunch break."
"The previous teacher didn't ask for overtime for teaching extra classes."
"The previous teacher sat on the VPs lap at the hweshiks."


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1794

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2020, 01:23:32 pm »
The trick is getting drunk BEFORE work

I actually used to do this, not super drunk, but barely tipsy, back when I used to drink.
I had a retail job with a very... unpleasant... boss who would scream at males to kill themselves, and sexually harass women. (He at one point had over 20 written complaints, with evidence for some of them, and never got fired; but eventually got fired for stealing a $2 pie haha.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5863

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2020, 01:33:24 pm »
One day, my boss told me I was getting complaints from the boy's mother who apparently expected an extra 30 minutes of free lesson time every day! 

Imagine showing up 30 mins to a movie theatre and telling the usher that you were bored?

"Hey, can you put an episode of Community on or something? I'm bored. No one else is in the theatre.
The first thing to say is that this is definitely not pyramid selling, OK?


  • Kayos
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1794

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2020, 01:57:52 pm »
I'm sorry to hear you're having that experience, OP. From what I can tell, micromanagement is pretty much par for the course at Korean schools and academies. I had something similar happen to me though at my academy. I had one student coming in a good 30 minutes early every day he had class and he'd sit in my classroom, which also serves as my "office," until all the other kids arrived. I'd talk to him and be friendly, but if I was busy checking essays or preparing for my classes, I'd focus on that. One day, my boss told me I was getting complaints from the boy's mother who apparently expected an extra 30 minutes of free lesson time every day!  Apparently the teacher I replaced would do it, which I don't really believe, but this mother felt entitled to my time, which would have been at the expense of all the other students! So I guess I don't have any specific advice, but I understand the feeling.

Did you ask to get paid OT for that 30 mins of teaching time? :O If your working, you should get paid. :o
If not, what happened next? I'm now invested in this story. :o


Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2020, 02:12:35 pm »
Sorry, OP, it sucks to have to deal with someone like this during the last leg of your contract.

I personally get a lot of satisfaction out of just telling them 'no' and secretly recording all of their bullshit in case it goes sideways and I have to get the MOEL involved. Whenever someone oversteps themselves and tries to treat me like an indentured servant, I make sure to remind them in no uncertain terms that I don't work for free and that any attempts to make me work for free will be met with the law. I'd also get it across very early on that I don't give a flying **** about what some other teacher was supposedly willing to do. "Oh, yeah? The previous teacher did that? You know what my previous boss did? He gave me a 3-month long paid vacation and also gave me a big bonus right before that... so I guess I can expect the same thing from you, right?" :undecided:

SNIP for everything else. I try my best not to bring that shit home with me, but, whenever that fails, I use exercise and spending time with some friends to help shrug it off. It also really helps knowing what your rights are, what your boss can and can't do under the law, and what you can do protect yourself from the BS and any form of gapjil. Having a plan in the worst case scenario really helps to smooth things out quite a bit. For everything else, there are friends, family, and activities that you enjoy.

I have a friend who meditates quite a bit, and, while meditation does absolutely nothing for me, it helps her a lot, so that might be something for you to try. But then doing anything that has you kind of separating yourself from the rest of the world for several moments of peace that you can enjoy alone could fall under that same umbrella, so yeah, taking some time to write or to hike out in the wilderness or any other private activity that you enjoy could give you the same thing.

I'm personally tempted to get myself one of those inflatable tubs to soak in after a long day. Get me some epsom salts, prop my laptop outside the bathroom door and put on a film to watch while I soak and drink something nice and cold.  :azn:
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 11:29:47 am by Chinguetti »


Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2020, 07:44:27 pm »
Talking about inflatable tubs (not quite), we bought a paddling  pool for my granddaughter a few weeks back. 2.1 m by 1.8 m by 70 cm deep. I  fill it up on Thursday night and drain it on Sunday night. Guess who spends most of the time floating around in it? Very therapeutic.

Sorry OP. A bit off track.
All I can add is, the last time I had any grief from a manager, I just quit. I was always pretty flexible, but dicks are dicks, and dicks never change. While it's probably not an option for many, just work for yourself if you can.
I hope you get things sorted. Good luck!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 07:58:48 pm by Kurt Sorensen »


Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2020, 09:38:25 pm »
Did you ask to get paid OT for that 30 mins of teaching time? :O If your working, you should get paid. :o
If not, what happened next? I'm now invested in this story. :o

Haha. There's not much of a story. I never actually did the 30 minute free class, so I didn't get paid. I didn't mind if the kid sat in my room and I didn't mind talking to him if I had a free minute; I'd be friendly to anyone I was in the same room with. However, when my boss tried to get me to do an actual lesson I told her no. I said it wasn't fair to me, it wasn't fair to the students who weren't getting free lessons, and it was also unfair to the students because my planning time would be cut, which would probably lead to more complaints if I wasn't completely on my game. My boss was like, "Oh, just do a free talking class." I guess she thought "free talking" doesn't require any prep work, but of course it does, especially with kids like this one who are really shy and need a little extra encouragement to come out of their shells. Ultimately, the matter was dropped because of the Covid19 pandemic. We shut down for three weeks in March and I haven't seen the boy since.


  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1328

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2020, 01:57:31 am »
The trick is getting drunk BEFORE work

You would be amazed how many people have a beer or shot before work and one during lunch.

Day buzz was more common though in the 2010s and earlier.

Cass red was the go to buzz for work, the bosses and Korean co-workers would even do it.


  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1287

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2020, 10:50:38 pm »
Right, drinking during the day, or before the day even begins, is not the right call...especially as a foreigner.  Koreans can do it all they wish and get away with it but as soon as Johnny Foreigner is suspected of having  grandpa's cough syrup mixed with the morning cup of Joe, things get complicated .

Someone suggested to simply leave.  That may be the best thing.  Granted, I have to ask...have you set boundaries with your boss?  Perhaps letting him/her know that professional boundaries are real and despite the usual "This is Korea" excuse, he/she is expected to abide by them. 

Seriously....did you go all the way to Korea to be in an environment like you described?  Is it worth it?


  • buckybee
  • Adventurer

    • 68

    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Gunsan
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2020, 03:13:30 pm »
Stress is something that I have a big problem with so I have many small solutions. My instant stress relievers are coffee, distancing myself from stressors (if possible), and trying to think positively so that I donít get caught up in the negative. Especially, if the stressor is a person, I try to understand their rational even if I donít agree with it.
There have been a few times that I have been incredibly angry or on the verge of tears. To combat that, I have a fitness watch that has deep breathing exercises on it. It helps me get control of the situation because I could use it even without looking at my watch. I have used it before in the middle of class one time because my CT was too much that day for various reasons that I wonít go into.
My best suggestion for you is too find something that brings you comfort and allows you to take a few breaths. However, you are paid for a certain number of hours and you need to do prep work. You can tell your boss that if they intend for you to work 30 more minutes than required, then you expect to be compensated. You can explain it to him in terms he understands. If one mother is getting special treatment, other mothers will be upset and start to expect special treatment too. Theyíll want to pay less for more. Your boss will definitely not want that.
If it doesnít work, I hope all the best for you.


  • LIC
  • Expert Waygook

    • 849

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: How to Cope With Stress and a Crazy Boss?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2020, 03:20:34 pm »
Quit. If your boss is this way now, you can feel free to expect some major jerking around about 1 month before your contract expires.