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  • pinishee
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • May 04, 2011, 08:23:56 am
    • Houston, TX
Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« on: September 26, 2015, 05:24:48 am »
This thread is intended for those who have been in Korea for 3+ years and are having bouts of indecision, discouragement, and anxiety about employment opportunities once you’re back in your home country. Especially if you married a Korean along the way.

In no way is this a ‘catch all’ advice as to what you should do. This is my opinion. You are entitled to do what works for you.

I’m writing this entry because it’s been exactly 1 year since I came back to the U.S. from Seoul after living in Korea for 4 years. My life has gotten a lot better in almost every aspect. Long story short, like most, Korea had been a love/hate relationship. More hate than love to be honest (not going to elaborate on the BS that we all complain about). The last year and a half were spent processing my wife’s (Korean) green card to the US. Before that, there was a bit of indecision. Should we stay or go?

It is almost agreeable that raising a family on a teacher’s salary in Seoul should be forbidden. We considered perhaps moving to a smaller city and starting fresh. Fresh for what? For a measly 2.Xm won a month? To teach privates? To even own a Hagwon with my wife? To live in a tasteless, soulless ‘city’? To enjoy a ‘day trip’ to a town/city that is ‘famous’ for insert ‘______’? To enjoy a Home Plus pizza and foreign beer to ‘treat’ myself? Needless to say, staying in Korea was increasingly not an option for us (my wife wasn’t too keen on Korea either). That raised the question, once I move back to Texas, then what? Luckily my undergrad was in a mixture of Business and Engineering. Prior to me coming to Korea, I worked for an oil & gas company for a year. So I had that going for me, but even that didn’t guarantee anything.

Thoughts of self doubt, financial security, and career outlook plagued my mind. Korea amidst the garbage, is fairly economically stable for us English teachers. But going back to your country after X amount of years? Being out of the game for so long? How ‘employable’ are you? What are your career options? Stay in education? Resume whatever career you had going for yourself back in your home country? These are questions that you ultimately have to answer.

1.   You can stay in education (additional education/certifications may be required).
2.   Resume your career (if you had something non-education related going for you).
3.   Change careers/Start something new (additional education/certifications may be required).

I would advise to take the aforementioned measures while you're in Korea if possible. It will help your overhead significantly. I'd advise to have a well planned exit strategy. It can make the transition back to your home country more productive.

Life has been great since leaving Seoul. In a few words, there is a hell of a lot more to life outside of Korea. At the end of the day, you may have to start from the bottom again. And that is fine. You can’t earn 2.X million won forever. Luckily, I got hired 2 weeks after landing in Texas- a job that coincided with my field of study and prior experience.

I wish you the best of luck.


Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2015, 07:35:02 am »
Quote
It is almost agreeable that raising a family on a teacher’s salary in Seoul should be forbidden.

You might want to look at that sentence again - I know you've been out of teaching a while  :wink:

Quote
For a measly 2.Xm won a month? To teach privates? To even own a Hagwon with my wife?

There are other ways of making more than 2 million a month in Korea and better ways to treat yourself than a Homeplus pizza, but sure I agree with the rest of that paragraph.

Quote
Needless to say, staying in Korea was increasingly not an option for us (my wife wasn’t too keen on Korea either).

I envy you in a way. I'd like to move on somewhere but my wife likes it here and I have a good job I enjoy. Telling her I want to leave just because I don't like living in Korea wouldn't go down very well, although I think she can guess. I wonder how many married ex pats stay here because of their wives, how many because they actually prefer it here, and how many because they've decided it's the best deal they can get.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 07:37:18 am by eggieguffer »


  • pinishee
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • May 04, 2011, 08:23:56 am
    • Houston, TX


  • vietpham
  • Super Waygook

    • 351

    • April 28, 2012, 08:33:18 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2015, 03:36:26 pm »
Luckily my undergrad was in a mixture of Business and Engineering.

Industrial Engineering?


  • jrmoreau
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • September 26, 2015, 10:39:05 pm
    • Cheonan
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2015, 10:43:58 pm »
The Korean Expat state of limbo seems like something a lot of people have. What are some good resources for avoiding this?


  • pinishee
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • May 04, 2011, 08:23:56 am
    • Houston, TX
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 11:20:37 pm »
Supply Chain and Logistics. Minor in Operations Mgmt.


  • vietpham
  • Super Waygook

    • 351

    • April 28, 2012, 08:33:18 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2015, 12:46:18 am »
Supply Chain and Logistics. Minor in Operations Mgmt.

Basically the same.  :azn:  I always loved Industrial Engineering but didn't care for working in industries.  Most of my friends work in Defense or Oil/Gas companies so not the most altruistic of causes. 

I worked in food and manufacturing.  They had some shady business practices as well as the politics. 

I found that teaching in public schools was the best choice (maybe not long term). 

Just my opinion.  I do like working with children and teaching english.  None of my friends have 30+ days of vacation a year. 

I do agree with  your main point though.  Stay, go somewhere else, go home.  Do what give you true happiness not necessarily the lifestyle you desire.


Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2015, 09:09:12 am »
Going on 8 years should I decide to sign the next contract come March 2016. Craziest part: same public school with a mission: teaching NK and SK children til the day re-unification happens. Unlike most other NETs, I did not have a loan to pay off, I already had over 15 years of working in various industries in America, but none of it was as meaningful as being a teacher here.

Do I want to return to America? If I was able to work at a job that felt like a mission, I would not mind. But, I don't think something like this exists in America.

It might mean going further West and ending up in the Middle East for me.

America is a fading memory just as Korea will become...however, I am fortunate I have great memories from both countries.



  • pinishee
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • May 04, 2011, 08:23:56 am
    • Houston, TX
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2015, 09:00:14 am »
Supply Chain and Logistics. Minor in Operations Mgmt.

Basically the same.  :azn:  I always loved Industrial Engineering but didn't care for working in industries.  Most of my friends work in Defense or Oil/Gas companies so not the most altruistic of causes. 

I worked in food and manufacturing.  They had some shady business practices as well as the politics. 

I found that teaching in public schools was the best choice (maybe not long term). 

Just my opinion.  I do like working with children and teaching english.  None of my friends have 30+ days of vacation a year. 

I do agree with  your main point though.  Stay, go somewhere else, go home.  Do what give you true happiness not necessarily the lifestyle you desire.

It's one thing being single and in your 20's. It's another thing being married and planning for the future. 



  • pinishee
  • Adventurer

    • 46

    • May 04, 2011, 08:23:56 am
    • Houston, TX
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2015, 09:12:23 am »
Going on 8 years should I decide to sign the next contract come March 2016. Craziest part: same public school with a mission: teaching NK and SK children til the day re-unification happens. Unlike most other NETs, I did not have a loan to pay off, I already had over 15 years of working in various industries in America, but none of it was as meaningful as being a teacher here.

Do I want to return to America? If I was able to work at a job that felt like a mission, I would not mind. But, I don't think something like this exists in America.

It might mean going further West and ending up in the Middle East for me.

America is a fading memory just as Korea will become...however, I am fortunate I have great memories from both countries.

In my opinion, there are plenty of causes or missions to be a part of in America. You don't need to be in NK or sub-Saharan Africa or in any other crisis region to make a difference or feel fulfilled. It's all about having the right perspective.


  • vietpham
  • Super Waygook

    • 351

    • April 28, 2012, 08:33:18 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Words of encouragement for those who may need it...
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 06:51:27 pm »
Supply Chain and Logistics. Minor in Operations Mgmt.

Basically the same.  :azn:  I always loved Industrial Engineering but didn't care for working in industries.  Most of my friends work in Defense or Oil/Gas companies so not the most altruistic of causes. 

I worked in food and manufacturing.  They had some shady business practices as well as the politics. 

I found that teaching in public schools was the best choice (maybe not long term). 

Just my opinion.  I do like working with children and teaching english.  None of my friends have 30+ days of vacation a year. 

I do agree with  your main point though.  Stay, go somewhere else, go home.  Do what give you true happiness not necessarily the lifestyle you desire.

It's one thing being single and in your 20's. It's another thing being married and planning for the future.

I think being married and planning for the future (kids I'm assuming) forces these decision on you.  When you do these things, there is less time for altruistic causes.  There's more to life than being tied down to a mortgage, bills, retirement, etc and working (most likely) for a for-profit companies with shady practices or deals in inherently bad things (weapons, oil, gas, illegal immigrant abuse, etc)

Again. Stay, go somewhere else, go home.  Whatever you do, are you proud of what you are doing and not chain to something?