I know a lot of people find my blog because I’m an EPIK teacher, and they want to know what they’re getting themselves into.
A lot of other people find my blog because they’re EFL teachers who hate their jobs.
A lot of people find my blog by looking for midnight runs (still far and away that most read post I’ve ever written), though I doubt that what I said is in any way relevant to what they’re searching for.
I wrote this last year, when my job stressed me out and upset me from time to time. But this year… everything got worse. I found myself looking back on the posts I’d written about how to stop hating your job, and how I did it before, and I shake my head. The advice that I gave there in no way pertains to the things that are making me hate my job now.
But let me be clear:
I’m an EFL teacher in Korea in a public school, and I hate my job. But those three facts are not the cause of my feelings.
I don’t hate EFL teaching.
I don’t hate Korea.
I don’t hate the public school program.
I hate my job.
And the only reason I’m sharing this information with whoever reads this is because people keep finding my blog, and I think this needs to be made clear.
The things that make me hate it are smaller, more specific things related to my work environment. They’re the kinds of things that you could find in any job. I’ll admit that sometimes the things that bug me about my job are exacerbated by the fact that I’m in Korea. And while it would easy for me to look at my situation and say “Because Korea!”, I know it wouldn’t be true.
Dear readers who find my blog after searching for EPIK blogs, EFL Korea blogs and teachers in Incheon blogs, I can tell you this much – this is no guide for you. In fact, no matter whose blog you find – someone who loves Korea and never wants to leave, someone who is just biding their time until the contract is up, someone who hates their job and does nothing but bitch about it – remember that their experiences will not be your experiences. Every post someone makes is subjective.
For anyone who has found my blog (and this post) by searching for things like “What if I get to Korea and hate it there?”
It is entirely possible that you will get to Korea and hate it. It’s just as possible that you will get to Korea and love it.
Before I left, a friend of mine asked me “Isn’t it scary?” and my honest answer is yes. Yes, it was scary. It was bloody terrifying. But if you let fear stop you from doing new things… you’ll never do anything at all. Take a risk. If you hate it, you can wait it out to the end of your contract. Or you can resign. Within the first six months, you’ll have to pay back your flight allowance, and after that, you will be giving up your severance at the end of the contract. If you resign, you’ll need to give notice. In Incheon, it’s 60 days. In other places it’s 30 days, although I’ve heard of cases where people have not had to wait out the full period.
In other words – you have options. Fear of unhappiness shouldn’t stop you from at least trying.
I came to Korea a little over a year and a half ago. I have loved and hated it by turns since then, and in 154 days (give or take) I’ll be leaving. No matter how I feel about it, or how I’ll look back on it one day, coming here is not a decision I regret now, nor do I think I ever will.
You may get here and love your job.
You may get here and hate it.
It depends on you.
Your experience will not be my experience.
Your job will not be my job.
Your life will not be my life.
It all depends on you.