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State of the ESL economy: Is the party over?
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VanIslander



Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Location: Geoje, Hadong, Tongyeong,... now in a small coastal island town outside Gyeongsangnamdo!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

there are HUNDREDS of jobs available teaching ESL in South Korea on any given day

anyone with all their docs and already in the country can find work no problem
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xingyiman



Joined: 12 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dharma_Blue wrote:
ardis wrote:
The party isn't over, considering most people my age are still working dead end jobs back home and barely have any money for excess pleasures once they are finished paying their home, car, and gas bills. I have a lot of friends with good qualifications in their fields that have been fired just because their companies can't afford them.


Depending on how you define "dead end job" you could also argue that many, if not most, EFL jobs in Korea are dead end in the long-term..


Some people's goal in life is to saddle themselves with a mortgage, have 2-3 kids and maybe vacation 5 times the rest of their lives. If that's what will truly make them happy then I say ok. Personally unless the mortgage is in Jackson Hole Wyoming, with a spectacular view of the Grand Tetons, that scenario probably would not be too palpatable to me. If i can live as an ESL teacher and twice a year enjoy a cool vacation somewhere the rest of my relatives would be lucky to see once in their lives, then I would be far happier than busting my butt working toward an unattainalbe goal for the rest of my years.
That's the problem with too many people I knew back home - they "settled". One wanted to be a Navy Pilot - eventually became a Navy accountant. Another had a dream of becoming a writer but ended up doing a 9 to 5 gig. Another really wanted to meet the girl of his dreams. Ended getting a plump girl pregnant who left him shortly thereafter with a kid. People lose their vision and basically end up living the textbook example of what they would formerly consider a ddong life.
If I could go back and look at my life and what I've done so far 10 years prior my reaction would probably have been "WOW!" After viewing thier lives my friends might just have every reason not to go on.
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creeper1



Joined: 30 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:05 pm    Post subject: Its all very well Reply with quote

I get what people are saying about ESL being a dead end job and not really a career as your earnings aren't really going to go anywhere in 5 or 10 years time. However before you rush out to get qualified to teach at home you should note that governments around the world are likely going ot be cutting budgets in the next few years. Real teachers are going to find it hard to get jobs as a result.

As was said in the other thread 8 dollar an hour jobs are attracting 30-40 applicants many of them with degrees.

Anyone with a modicum of common sense is renewing this year and probably for the next few years until this depression blows over.
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might think that you are wasting your time in the West at some dead-end job and that may be true.

But, it seems to me, as long as you are working in your field, one opportunity leads to another which leads to another, which leads to a new contact ect. Yeah you will have to start at the bottom, but those chances are there.

In Korea, what is the goal? To work at a Uni job and make 3 mill? And then what? You rise to the top quicker in Korea, but the ceiling is much lower. Most employers back home don't give two shitts that I have lived and worked in Korea. We need to build that network back home again.

The opportunities are very limited in Korea. Most of us probably don't want to be teaching basic English all of are lives. And outside of ESL in Korea, what else is there? How many 20 year veterans of ESL have you met in Korea? Have you wondered why you don't meet anyone like that?

I agree with Bass that Korea seems great when you first get here. But honestly, the opportunities are quite limited. It's not a slag on Korea, it's just a fact.
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laoshihao



Joined: 05 Feb 2007
Location: I'll take the ROK, Alex, because that's where my stuff is.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:47 pm    Post subject: Not a dead end Reply with quote

I don't consider ESL a dead end job. Sure, you may not make the amount of money you would at home, but then you probably don't have the amount of bills to cover that you do at home. I've been to places I never dreamed I could afford to see. I've met amazing people from all over the world. ESL puts the world within reach. I don't expect to get rich doing it, but that never mattered to me. I just want a job that is fulfilling and, most of the time, ESL is. Overall Korea may not be the best place to be an English teacher, but it's heaps better than scraping by at home.
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asmith



Joined: 18 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the economic party is dead globally.

And it will probably stay dead for the next 10 to 15 years.

We are heading into something historic.
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PRagic



Joined: 24 Feb 2006

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know quite a few long-term EFLers in Korea, and all of them are doing just fine. Some are more motivated than others when it comes to banking, but the one thing they all have in common is that over the years they've upgraded their skill sets and their networks. The outlier would be the one or two people I know who've benefited from their F5 visas; study rooms, company work, and privates can fill the coffers, too.

Not a one of these friends has ever had a problem getting better and better paying jobs. Some have property (1 or more) in one or two other countries, all of them vacation their arses off, and all are pretty happy. By and large, most have a sizable nest egg on the make.

Life is what you make of it. Good things come to good people. Fate favours the prepared. Nothing in life is free. A penny saved is a penny earned. Any number of cheesy sayings can sum up the argument here. The fact is, however, that there are jobs out there, and if you build your experience and qualifications, there will be for quite some time to come.
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Ramen



Joined: 15 Apr 2008

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PRagic wrote:
I know quite a few long-term EFLers in Korea, and all of them are doing just fine. Some are more motivated than others when it comes to banking, but the one thing they all have in common is that over the years they've upgraded their skill sets and their networks. The outlier would be the one or two people I know who've benefited from their F5 visas; study rooms, company work, and privates can fill the coffers, too.

Not a one of these friends has ever had a problem getting better and better paying jobs. Some have property (1 or more) in one or two other countries, all of them vacation their arses off, and all are pretty happy. By and large, most have a sizable nest egg on the make.

Life is what you make of it. Good things come to good people. Fate favours the prepared. Nothing in life is free. A penny saved is a penny earned. Any number of cheesy sayings can sum up the argument here. The fact is, however, that there are jobs out there, and if you build your experience and qualifications, there will be for quite some time to come.


Well said!!!! I agree whole heartedly. Razz
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Dharma_Blue



Joined: 11 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
You might think that you are wasting your time in the West at some dead-end job and that may be true.

But, it seems to me, as long as you are working in your field, one opportunity leads to another which leads to another, which leads to a new contact ect. Yeah you will have to start at the bottom, but those chances are there.

In Korea, what is the goal? To work at a Uni job and make 3 mill? And then what? You rise to the top quicker in Korea, but the ceiling is much lower. Most employers back home don't give two shitts that I have lived and worked in Korea. We need to build that network back home again.

The opportunities are very limited in Korea. Most of us probably don't want to be teaching basic English all of are lives. And outside of ESL in Korea, what else is there? How many 20 year veterans of ESL have you met in Korea? Have you wondered why you don't meet anyone like that?

I agree with Bass that Korea seems great when you first get here. But honestly, the opportunities are quite limited. It's not a slag on Korea, it's just a fact.


Well, if you happened upon a good uni job with low hours and lots of opportunities for overtime, then perhaps you could bump that salary up to 4 million . If you factor in things like tax rate and cost of living, then that would still probably put you ahead of most non-skilled laborers in the West. If don't enjoy teaching EFL, than that's a whole other story..

There are lots of people in the US who end up working as janitors their whole lives because they enjoy what they do. There are also probably numerous instances of people getting stuck in mid-range corporate positions for 10-15 years because the CEO's MBA classmate's nephew got chosen over them for the six-figure salary positions...
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well honestly, since most of us grew up in the West, and have all of our family and a lot of friends there, I think it is a bit unreasonable to think that we will end up spending the rest of our lives here after only living here for a small part of our lives thus far. We have too many ties (physical and emotional) to where we come from. You might say "No I don't! I am independent!" But I bet you'll be back! Wink

And I mean come on! What will you do as a senior citizen here??? I can't imagine how hard that would be.

The fact is, most of us will go home, so you had better figure out what you are going to do when you get there. Start preparing now.

Korea is (and should be) temporary. The laws and societal attitudes are just not up to snuff yet to make any kind of long-term stay here feasible for a foreigner. There are other ways to make money.
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loyfriend



Joined: 03 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am an ESL teacher now, but am saving money to open a domestic violence and alcohol clinic. I have the credentails and can even get a few sponsers from the USA. But what I couldnt get in USA was the asian culture.

There are jobs outside of esl here, or many other countries. I met accountants, businessmen, missionaries and many many other types of foreieners here.
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xingyiman



Joined: 12 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

youtuber wrote:
Well honestly, since most of us grew up in the West, and have all of our family and a lot of friends there, I think it is a bit unreasonable to think that we will end up spending the rest of our lives here after only living here for a small part of our lives thus far. We have too many ties (physical and emotional) to where we come from. You might say "No I don't! I am independent!" But I bet you'll be back! Wink

And I mean come on! What will you do as a senior citizen here??? I can't imagine how hard that would be.

The fact is, most of us will go home, so you had better figure out what you are going to do when you get there. Start preparing now.

Korea is (and should be) temporary. The laws and societal attitudes are just not up to snuff yet to make any kind of long-term stay here feasible for a foreigner. There are other ways to make money.


I married here. My wife and I are going to invest in some beachside property in the Philippines and make that our retirement. Any guess as to what a similar setup would cost in the states? And Iowa or Illinois is neither of our styles. I am not going back permanently. To much sacrifice for too little gain the any way I look at it. I love my family. My friends have their own lives and families. I also won't spend every waking hour hashing it out for $8.00 an hour on two jobs jsut so my relatives can have a comveneint family get together every two months or so. I just learned that my father has prostate cancer. I feel bad but for now the prognosis is still up in the air. I will go and visit him but as well I have my own family to take care of and I sure as heck can't do it on the coolie wages they're paying back home.
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dunno xingy, the phillipines might seem nice when you are young, but things change drastically when you are in declining health.

The Phillipines was rated as #60 in the world for health care. Korea incidentally, was rated as #58.

http://www.photius.com/rankings/healthranks.html




But I guess you gotta enjoy life too.
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asylum seeker



Joined: 22 Jul 2007
Location: On your computer screen.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those planning on staying here the rest of their lives are banking on the fact that wages and conditions here will stay at the level they are now indefinitely or will even improve but I don't think that's realistic. The increasing saturation of the job market is going to give employers the opportunity to keep offering worse and worse conditions knowing the desperate will still take the jobs anyway not to mention as you age you will face increasing job discrimination as many employers prefer younger applicants.
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youtuber



Joined: 13 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you wonder what Korea's ESL industry will be like in a few years, look no further than Japan.

Japan was once a sweet place to work. High wages because there weren't many teachers.

But how did Japan deal with the constant thirst for more teachers? How were wages driven down?

Answer: they now hire teachers from the Phillipines, India, Germany, ect.

So the supply is more than adequately filled. And thus wages are driven down.

The same will probably happen in Korea. Why wouldn't it? Anything to save a buck.
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