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Advice on leaving a Hagwon
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 4:44 pm    Post subject: Advice on leaving a Hagwon Reply with quote

In early/mid April I notified my Hagwon's director that I no longer wanted to work at the school. I told him that I've been treated terribly by my immediate manager since I began working here back in November. The director seemed very sympathetic and told me that he needed time to think about my decision and make plans in terms of replacing me. I expressed that I still wanted to teach, but might be a better fit at another school or simply another branch of the same school. I also brought up the possibility of obtaining a letter of release from him if I could not switch branches. I was told not to worry, but that he needed time to think/plan and make decisions because he needed to decide what was best for the school. It honestly sounded very positive. Since then I've sort of been patiently waiting to hear back. Obviously, I didn't want to be pushy because it’s important that I obtain a letter of release and a decent reference. Annoying him in any way wouldn’t be a good idea.

On Friday night I finally heard back. Apparently, it would not be possible to move to another branch and my last day of work would be in mid-June. I made it very clear in my original meeting that I’ve been enjoying my time teaching in Korea and definitely intended to continue; even if at another school. So during my meeting on Friday I asked if it would be possible to a signature/stamp on a letter of release, which I would provide myself. The answer I got was something along the lines of ‘We are not going to discuss that at this time. This meeting only obtains to your employment situation at this school.’ Confused, I also asked if it would be ok if I allowed other schools/recruiters to contact the school for a reference. I was told that ‘this would not be appropriate because I am still working at this school until mid-June.’

It sounds like I won’t know the answer to either of these questions until my last day of work and its time to leave my apartment. Ridiculous. I should be able to spend the next few weeks planning my future. Either way, I’m expected to bring in a signed letter of resignation tomorrow.

So here are my questions -- Is my school keeping my in the dark to screw me over, or are they afraid that if I get a letter of release then I can simply leave at a moments notice and not stay till mid June (I assume this is when my replacement will arrive)? Even so, why wouldn’t they tell me that this is the case? It would be a huge help if they assured me that I would get this letter on my last day of work. This way I could assure other employers that I will definitely getting this letter. Same goes for references. Should I tell employers that they will be able to call, but they must wait until mid-June?

Some friends have told me that its probably best to just tell employers that I will definitely be getting my letter of release in the future so I can move the process forward. And if I ended up not getting it, I have to leave the country anyway and can say that my Hagwon has jerked me around, which is more or less true at this point.

Any advice? What is my best course of action?
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is hoped that you either have or have ordered new documents to support a quick trip out of Korea and a new visa application.

I strongly suspect that your LOR isn't going to occur (if they were worried about your leaving early you/they could simply post date it).

I also suspect that your final pay will be substantially less than you expect. There will likely be many unusual deductions coming out of it. Be prepared to get next to nothing in your final pay.

Be prepared with temporary housing arranged (they may try to boot you out so that your replacement can have your room when they arrive).

The good news is that AFTER your last day of work you have several options in regards to your visa and allowed stay in Korea:
1) you do nothing - you must depart within 14 days of the termination of your employment.
2) you report the change of employment status to immigration - they will give you 30 days from your last date of employment to either:
(a) leave Korea
(b) find new employment and transfer your visa (you need a LOR)
(c) change your status from E2 to D10 (looking for work visa). Again, you need the LOR to do this.
3) leave Korea and return as a tourist. This will give you 90 days to find new work and arrange for a new visa. This MAY require a new set of apostilled documents since you need to support a new visa application and don't have a LOR. (normally, if you had a LOR you could return within 90 days and not need new documents).

.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not ordered any new documents. I was hoping that I could simply move to another branch. Afterall, I've known for several months that a teacher from that branch is leaving in June and they're going to need a replacement. Also, they did not say that I would NOT be switching branches, so I thought it was a good possibility or I figured they would have said so.

Can you list the documents that I will need for the new visa? If they are the same as the ones I got last summer/fall, then I suspect it could take several months. For example, my criminal background check took 7 weeks!
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SeoulNate



Joined: 04 Jun 2010
Location: Hyehwa

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If they are expecting you to hand in a resignation letter, get a letter of release in return, no ifs and or buts.

and yes, if you do not the documents are the same as you needed before you started to work there last year, cbc included.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It seems ironic at this point, but I've been doing my best not to anger them, as this has seemed like the best way to avoid being treated worse or being screwed over entirely. They hold all the power here. And they answer questions only when they feel like it.

The concern I have with demanding a LoR when I hand in my resignation letter is that they might get angry and terminate me. I think this looks worse for future employers than if I resign myself. Also what if they got pissed and said, "You're not handing in your resignation without a LoR? Ok, leave your apt immediately."

I need as much time as possible to find new employment. Also, I want to get paid as much as I can on the my next payday (June 10th).
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ghostrider



Joined: 27 Jun 2011

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RunReilly wrote:

The concern I have with demanding a LoR when I hand in my resignation letter is that they might get angry and terminate me. I think this looks worse for future employers than if I resign myself. Also what if they got pissed and said, "You're not handing in your resignation without a LoR? Ok, leave your apt immediately."

If you have worked at the hagwon for more than 6 months then they must provide you 30 days' notice before they terminate you under the labor law. So it would be illegal for them to tell you to leave immediately. I think that giving them a signed letter of resignation puts you in a more vulnerable position. They could terminate you tomorrow and then later in a labor board hearing use the letter to make it look like you voluntarily quit on that day. You could make something up - like an opportunity which starts immediately has come up at home and in order to pass up that opportunity you need to be assured that you can continue to work in Korea.

RunReilly wrote:
are they afraid that if I get a letter of release then I can simply leave at a moments notice and not stay till mid June (I assume this is when my replacement will arrive)

The LOR should state the date on which you are released from your contract.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It kinda sounds like I should hold this resignation letter hostage until I get a LoR. Yes, it has been over 6 months since I began working and our contract actually stipulates that "both parties will give at least a written 90-day notice prior to the termination of the contract."

ghostrider wrote:

You could make something up - like an opportunity which starts immediately has come up at home and in order to pass up that opportunity you need to be assured that you can continue to work in Korea.


I'm confused what you mean by this. My school certainly knows that my reason for leaving is because of continual harassment from my manager. This is what I told my director back in April.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ttompatz and SeoulNate made especially good posts.

They're already angry at you. In Korea, when you resign from a job or break up with a girlfriend, they're 1000 times more bitter than bosses and girlfriends in most countries.

Since you're almost certainly going to get rooked out of financial compensation, the only benefit you're getting right now is the apartment. That's the leverage your boss has over you, but your leverage is that he still wants you to teach classes and he's not going to pay you when you leave. Right now, you're essentially working for almost free.

Since you have today off, go ahead and pack your belongings. You'll have to sometime during the next three weeks anyway. You might as well do it today.

Type up a letter of resignation tonight and print it out. Also, go onto air travel websites tonight and find the cheapest flights to your hometown's nearest airport and print that out as well.

Tomorrow, wear a button-up shirt that has a pocket on the front and when you show up at work tomorrow, have your letter of resignation in a folder, on page two or three, with flight itineraries on a previous page, with the airline's logo very visible. Have your passport visible in your shirt pocket. Be very polite and soft-spoken to your boss and tell him that you've enjoyed working at his school and that he's been a good boss so far, but that you have to hammer out a deal "right now," and all you're wanting is a square deal. You'd like to exchange a letter of resignation for a letter of release. If he balks, remind him that a square deal is being done right then. If he gives you the letter of release, you hand him the letter of resignation and go to the classroom and teach to the best of your ability. If he walks away from you without providing the letter of release, you're walking away from the school.

It's important to be calm and polite. You don't want to come off as arrogant or confrontational to where he does things based on pride instead of logic.

The main thing is to not expect any money, whether you quit tomorrow morning or if you stay until mid-June. A former employer of mine, Wonderland, owes me over 2 million won that I will never see due to the Sewol-like corruption and collusion between Korean business and Korean regulatory agencies. In the thread about Winschool in Daegu, that boss owes that teacher over 3 million won. That's normal in South Korea and there's very little you can do about that.

You have very little to lose, just the apartment, so don't sweat it. If you continue working, you'll be working for free until June 15th. If you don't get the letter of release, there's no point in performing free labor for three more weeks.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How depressing. My employers really have no shame.

Suppose I do continue to work till mid-June with no hopes of obtaining a letter of release? Wouldn't this allow me more time to get my documents together for a new employer?

I wish they had been more straight forward with me from the start, but if I find out tomorrow that I will not get the letter of release, I can begin accumulating all of my documents right away and go nuts on the job search from my apartment. Then I believe I have another month in Korea before immigration requires me to leave? Does this provide me enough time without having to fly all the way home to NYC and do it from there? Forgive me for my lack of knowledge on this.

In short, I don't want to fly to the other side of the globe and I definitely still want to teach in Korea; just not for an abusive Hagwon. I'm trying to figure out if this is possible with the given timeline.
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ghostrider



Joined: 27 Jun 2011

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting new documents will probably take at least two months and potential employers won't show much interest until you have them. So it won't do much good to begin your job search right away. I think you can do everything from here. Print out the fingerprint form on the FBI website and get fingerprinted at a police station. Have someone back home take your diploma to a notary and get it copied and stamped. If more time is needed then you could fly to Japan for a day and then come back as a tourist. You'll be given 90 days when you reenter Korea. SE Asia is a possibility too. Your money will go farther and you might be able to find some temporary employment while waiting for new documents.
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EZE



Joined: 05 May 2012

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's important to always have a set of documents ready before you quit a job. It's equally important to have a spare set in case you get fired. It's best to order two sets, submit one and bring the other as a spare, and renew the background check every six months.

You've already crossed the Rubicon at your current school, so it's too late now, but ghostrider is giving solid advice. If it was me, I'd fly home to the States and work there while gathering new documents, in case the FBI rejects the fingerprints or takes months. But if you really want to stay, ghostrider is telling you right.

When does your work visa expire? I think there's a possibility you can't work at another school in Korea until your current work visa expires, unless you get the letter of release. You need to ask Ttom about that.
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SeoulNate



Joined: 04 Jun 2010
Location: Hyehwa

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Under NO circumstances give them the resignation letter if you do not get the LOR. Make them fire you, the labor board will back you on that and make sure that you get your 30 days pay.
Quote:
Yes, it has been over 6 months since I began working and our contract actually stipulates that "both parties will give at least a written 90-day notice prior to the termination of the contract."


You do not need to give notice. You are not a slave. They on the other hand must give notice according to the labor law. The contract is void here as it does not follow the law, you are entitled to 30 days notice, nothing more, nothing less.
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: The joy's in the ride.

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SeoulNate wrote:
Under NO circumstances give them the resignation letter if you do not get the LOR.


Yes, follow this advice, that resignation letter is your only leverage. And if they won't give you a LOR, you're probably just working for free from now on. Have the effective dates on your resignation letter and LOR match.
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RunReilly



Joined: 22 May 2013
Location: Daegu

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I need quick advice. Please help.

My manager is telling me to sign the resignation letter april 10th, when we first began conversations of my departure. This smells like BS.

Also, i asked about when i would meet with the director to hand this in and discuss my letter of release. and the response i got was "there is no meeting scheduled. He still has not made up his mind."

I think i should refuse to sign any date before today. I think this will result in my firing.
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Lucas



Joined: 11 Sep 2012

PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think i should refuse to sign any date before today. I think this will result in my firing.


No sh@# Sherlock!

Tell them you want a LOR in hand stamped/signed and then you'll talk....

In the mean time, get a new set of doc's lined up ASAP!
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