1 is the lonliest number


Well more like Tuesday. Once again I’ve simply forgotten to post on Tuesday. Yes I was finishing up lesson plans, and teaching day care and it completely slipped my mind.

Not to mention the last minute panic when my new co teacher said she just played the game I was going to use. The plus side was that I hadn’t spent extra time making it (it was from last year) and that my other co gave me another game I could play. Nothing says joy to a teacher than “you need to choose another game in 40 minutes before we shut the office down”

Because I will be posting later on today this will be a relatively short post, focusing on the main topic…..modern life issues.

So today’s “modern life issues” is a little bit different. Last week I went on a small rampage about school in Korea about while it’s great they can mix levels and mental abilities for kids, sometimes it’s not the best solution. This week let’s be a little more simple.Jobs.

No, not Steve Jobs. Jobs jobs.

After living in both Korea and America, there is a small trend that seems to be prominent in both countries regarding jobs and younger generations.

My experience in the American Job market was not good. I graduated with a BA in English but chose not to go the route many of my fellow classmates did-law school.

What’s there to do for an English major? Editing? Writing? Teaching?

Welcome to the all the other problems. It used to be that if you went to college, got a degree, you could find work anywhere.

Now it’s “Do you have a degree? Do you have a Masters? But most importantly how many years of experience do you have?”

Yes the dreaded experience. It became a vicious cycle whenever I would look for jobs. The ones hiring that didn’t need experience where non paying intern jobs. Uh no I need to get paid. And the ones that were entry level jobs often looked like this “2-3 years experience” Ok so you’re saying for an entry level paying job at an editing company I need 2-3 years of prior experience.

It was a vicious cycle. Basically when you laid it out in simple terms.”I need experience to get a job, but no job will hire me without having experience, so how the hell am I supposed to get a job if no one will give me fucking experience!” (and not experience doesn’t even sound like a word anymore)

It had to be the most frustrating time for me. So what’s there left to do? Most of the time you have to take up minimum wage jobs. You don’t have a choice. Often it’s not in the field of your study and your degree is wasted.

So let’s break it down. You pay 150,00 $ (estimate) or receive loans to pay for college and a degree. Then when you try and use that degree you are turned down because you lack the experience. (well duh you are a college graduate-I guess the hiring team became so old they forgot what that’s like). And when you try to apply for jobs that think will give you the experience, it’s unpaid. So you turn to a job that you could have gotten without a degree in the first place paying you 7.25 an hour to not only live off of but pay back your massive student debt.

Now I was lucky that I didn’t have any student debt. Just debt from car/computer problems.  But I know a lot of my friends are having issues with it. Now they are lucky and managed to find jobs-one is a nurse and the hospital where she was required to do her clinical rotation wound up hiring here-though she had to go through a hiring freeze which freaked her out, causing her to freak out a bit, accepting a job in the middle of no where with no friends…..Scranton- people. Going from Philadelphia to Scranton. That’s  it. Luckily her original hospital hired her back and now she’s loving her life.

Another friend (we were the three best friends that anyone could have! ) went to graduate school. She didn’t have to pay tuition to undergrad but did for her grad school. She wound up going to Argosy in D.C. which I just learned (Courtesy of John Oliver’s segment) is actually a For profit school.

She got her degree but now she was considered TOO qualified for some jobs and still under qualified for others. (Her degree typically needs a PHD). Oh and she needed more experience. So she continued working at Target before moving onto photos at the mall. Finally she wound up moving to China to teach to help pay back her student loans. Though there were a few rough moments she’s settled in nicely and is now interested in traveling the world.  I do hope that she does get some use out of her degrees but for now she content in teaching.

As for me, an editing job was out of the question. So I continued with my job grooing dogs. It was back breaking work at times but awkwardly enough I loved it. However it didn’t pay the bills and wasn’t even coming close to getting me out of my parents house. So after looking at no other way out in the USA, I came to Korea (actually there were a ton of other factors, but yes that was one of them).

To an American student in debt and unable to find a job, teaching abroad, Korea, looks like a wonderful solution. And for the most part it is. (this is from a public school perspective BTW). I have no rent or water bill. I can walk to work so I don’t need a car. I work M-F , 9-5 (roughly) and never on the weekends or holidays. Yes I do not have as much vacation time in a row as American schools but it’s not that obvious. And most of my work day is spent at my desk anyway.

To most, this country seems like a dream job. (unless you choose a hagwon). Hoever for the same generation as me, it’s a living hell.

The minimum wage is so low you can’t live off of it. Many children of my age are still living at their parent’s house. Yes this is pretty normal. I think it’s a “cost effective” thing or at least had been considered normal (where in America its just considered sad). But with this generation becoming more independent and “rebellious” ( I use this lightly) they don’t want to live with their parents. They want to have apartments of their own but it’s just no possible.

Also getting apartments here is quite difficult. You have to pay something called key money which basically is an upfront deposit of 10,000-50,000 dollars. Yes you do get it back at the end…but to have the initial cash? It’s also not feasable. Oh and also you nee to pay rent every month after that.

My friend who currently lives in Seoul was having this issue. She has a scholarship but she needed to rent a place. She couldn’t afford key money so now she has to pay the rent at a higher price but with no key money.

A lot of Koreans are working long hours without job security. The president even made a law that makes it easier for larger corporations to fire employees. These people are already sleeping at work-never seeing their families until the weekend if that.

But the job market is so competitive here. And it starts as soon as you get into hih school. These kids have so much pressure to do well in high school and college to et that good job. But let’s be honest, it’s hard to really understand how important education and grades matter as a kid. I remember when I was young I didn’t really understand it until my senior year of high school.

It doesn’t really give the kids the time to be kids and have fun. Instead they are at these after school programs instead.

It’s really sad and hard for me to imagine Korea as a horrible place to get a job because I’ve only seen the positive part. But the Koreans I’ve talked to all want to move away-many say America.

To me, America is the nightmare job market. Almost like the grass is greener on the other side. Same with politics. many don’t like the president because she’s the daughter of a former dictator and it’s kind of showing (note that I too don’t like her at all and think she’s becoming a slight tyrant). But this is Obama’s last year in office. And while I don’t think he was the best president, what’s coming is worse. You know that saying be careful of what you wish for. The most popular candidates are a socialist who looks like he doesn’t know what a brush is and will keel over if a a strong wind blows on him, the wife of  “i did not have sexual relations with that woman” who also lied about leaking private emails and got away with it, and of course…and a bad wig, racist, misogynist, bad business pile of flippant uneducated shit.

So it seems no country is perfect.


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