I’m officially not a teacher

I’m officially not a teacher anymore.

Well, I’m officially unemployed, but that means I’m technically not a teacher now right? This makes me ponder the question of whether you can claim to be any profession you want when you’re unemployed. Can I introduce myself as a writer at dinner parties because I write, even though it’s not my job? Could I say I’m a records clerk because I was one once, even though I haven’t been for years? Anyway, not really the point of this post, but it makes me wonder.

So, as of two weeks ago, I’m no longer teaching, and have decided I won’t take another teaching job. It’s not exactly achieving my dreams, but it’s the first step along the way.

A couple of weeks ago I really was on the first rung of that dream ladder, but then the ladder was pulled up before I got a good grip on it. Long story short, I was asked to an interview for a decently paid internship at a cool tech start-up and I went up to Seoul for an interview because I figured, what the hell, I might actually have a chance so it’s worth the cost. I aced the interview, got told she wanted to hire me but we had to wait for my visa change to come through and I went back to Busan feeling pretty successful. Got started on my visa change to a D-10 (which is a job seeking visa you can legally intern on), and got another email asking me to write a press release into a blog post, sent it off, she liked it and said as long as my visa was processed in a “timely fashion” we’d get onto hiring me. Now note that in the interview we had discussed that it would take possibly up to 2 weeks for my visa change to come through. In the end it took less than a week to change my status, and in the few days while this was happening, I got an email saying they’d hired someone else because they’re such a “fast-paced” company, and apparently couldn’t have waited a couple more days for me. Also I was told there was some “miscommunication” or something, but basically, if your HR department isn’t communicating with the person conducting the interviews and she’s consequently giving out false information, I could at the least have done with an apology–which I didn’t get. My initial response was to tell them to go fuck themselves, and that they obviously didn’t care about the quality of their hiring if they couldn’t wait for someone they really wanted. I received this information on a Friday, so instead of replying based on this knee-jerk reaction I gave it the weekend, and wrote a measured and civil response on the Monday. No point burning bridges, as much as I wanted to tell them exactly what I thought of them. A a result of this, I was told “thanks for being understanding”–which I most certainly was not, but I guess they don’t have to know that.

That was more long story long, but the take away there is that I’m left feeling pretty angry and upset. I got a couple more interviews and offers, though unfortunately they weren’t as viable when it came to money and the logistics of being able to actually afford to stay in Seoul, plus they didn’t have great hiring possibilities afterwards.

So, what am I doing now, you (and everyone I tell that I’m not teaching) may ask? Yeah, about that. Not a lot. To be honest at the start I was feeling motivated, but it hit me pretty hard when I missed out on that internship. Even though I had less than a week to get excited about it and was being rather conservative about the odds of it working out, it took losing it to find out that I had already become pretty invested in this vision of my future. I thought I didn’t even want to move to Seoul–I was actually dreading the idea–however the disappointment I felt seems to say otherwise. Maybe I’m getting too comfortable in Busan and I thought that moving to Seoul would help shake my life up and drag me out of my rut. Though to be fair, getting a challenging and interesting job in Busan and making some more friends here could likely do the same. But that takes more effort right? So much easier to just move to a new city and hope the move will do it for me, rather than change my circumstances myself.

And of course I know that’s not true. It doesn’t matter where you live if your attitude stays the same.
I know what I need to do and of course starting is always the hardest part. And to a degree the job search is out of my hands, as I can only apply for what’s there. However I can definitely help it along by pitching to more places–including paying sites–and also just cold-emailing (is that the internet version of cold-calling or did I make this up?) different English newspapers and sites based in Korea, and selling myself as a writer-who-needs-a-job.

I need to bring this blog back with less pressure about the appeal of what I write about, so something does actually get written, as currently I find myself paralysed because I don’t know if anything I have to say is interesting to anyone else. This update post is a good example of that. This post is to help myself get my thoughts organised, and if anyone else wants to read it to see where I’m at that’s great, but it doesn’t have to have an audience. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to write anything for an audience though! I’d really like to try and get some regular sections going, like writing a weekly post on a particular theme and then having one big post a month that’s more researched and perhaps tackling a more serious issue.

In the future I’d like to overhaul the site–get a domain, redo the theme etc.–and put in a page for any externally published posts and articles I write. When it comes to hosting and domains though, I always worry about the cost. So this one will have to wait until I get some sort of income going again. Last, but definitely one of the most important, I need to be constantly planning and pitching articles to magazines. Because trying something once doesn’t actually count as doing it. And I would like to be able to say, with conviction, that I am a freelance writer. Maybe even a paid writer–a shocking idea at this point.

I also had a thought about doing a bit of YouTube recently. As much as I would love to be a proper vlogger, I know I just don’t have the drive for it. However what I could do, that would be fun and easy, would be to do a short vlog about every major blog post I write, kind of a summary version for people who don’t want to read a whole lot of writing and with more of a casual conversational tone. To be honest I’m not really sure how it would go, I just thought I’d see what came out of my mouth when the time came. I’m not sure what I’d call them either. Blog 2 Vlog? Vlogging on Blogging? Vlog on my Blog? All of these are terrible. If you have a cool idea let me know, otherwise I can see them being “Vlog #1” which we all know isn’t the most creative direction to take.

The last part of this reads a bit like a to-do list, and I hope I can look back on this post a few months from now and feel like I achieved a lot of these things, or am currently working hard at them. Ideally I will be viewing it from a computer at my cool new job where I get to write every day and get paid for it–but we’ll see. I think it’s going to take a lot more work to fully realise that one.

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If you have any ideas or comments for me, best place to leave those is on my Facebook in the comments section for this post. It’s much easier to reply on there! If you got this far, I hope to hear some feedback from you ^^

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4 Responses

  1. Damn! That’s really disappointing. I’m sorry you went through that, but it sounds like it gave you a clear cut image of what you actually DO want. You could always use that d-10 to move to Seoul for a teaching gig and see what happens (again). As far as vlogging goes, I often wonder if my YouTube channel would have been better with a computer which wasn’t so unreasonably slow. Laptops are just way too expensive here, and on a teacher’s salary it’s unrealistic to buy a new one in this country. Not sure if “vlog #1” was pointed, but that was my Raccoon Café publication. It’s definitely easier said than done, but if you have the time to do it it makes you far more valuable in the eyes of digital marketing managers in Seoul. Keep on trucking and if you need a place to stay while job searching I’ll be out of Seoul and on vacation for 10 days in August so mi casa es su casa (as you once kiiiiiinda did for me).

    • Alice says:

      Thanks, yeah it was more disappointing than I thought it would be. But that’s true. I do have a much better idea of what I’m aiming for now!
      That’s true. I’ll see how it goes down in Busan for the next few weeks and after that might have to consider that option.
      Ah man.. yeah, editing videos is really tough on a slow computer. It not only takes ages but it makes you want to give up, or accept something not as good as you wanted just cause it’s driving you crazy :/ If I do try and vlog I think I may run into that issue with my laptop too… which I hadn’t really thought about it until now, eeek.
      Oh right! There’s nothing wrong with vlog #1 and getting it out there’s the important thing anyway. Yeah, it does seem Youtube is the way to go.
      Cheers for the kind offer. I probably won’t be up in Seoul by then, but if I am that would be fantastic 🙂

  2. Cat says:

    My contract was recently “not renewed” at a company I absolutely worked my guts out for so I think maybe I understand how you might be feeling. It sucks. I’m also trying to get freelance work (discovering just how terrible the pay is!) For me I have worked hard in a number of full time ‘career’ jobs before this point so I am trying to use this time to build up more flexible (even if poorly paid) work and also focus on my Chinese studies rather than trying to fit my study around work all the time. All the best, I know it’s a crappy time at the moment but I really believe that these “pauses” in life give space for opportunities and ideas to arise.

    • Thanks! ^^ I think that’s what I need to work more on too, building up a portfolio and properly focussing on studying Korean. It’s just so hard when you also have a job right? But at this point I need money and a visa >.< but I'm just hoping something will work out. I hope we can both achieve our goals! ^^

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