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TIME TO CONFESS!! Who pulled a midnight run?
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Would you run away?
No way! I'm a lean, mean contract-obeying machine!
 12%  [ 13 ]
Things would have to be REALLY bad.
 36%  [ 38 ]
Only if they left me no choice.
 23%  [ 24 ]
Some days I'm tempted.
 14%  [ 15 ]
What?! I can't hear you way back there!
 13%  [ 14 ]
Total Votes : 104

Author Message
william beckerson

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2003 3:12 am    Post subject: TIME TO CONFESS!! Who pulled a midnight run? Reply with quote

Okay, besides annoying the grammar-picky out there with my flagrant misuse of all caps, I decided to find out something that seems to happen a lot, but no one really discusses.

Who has run away from Korea? What were the consquences of your actions? Did you ever come back to Korea? If you did, how long did you have to wait until immigration forgave your sins?

Be honest now, I cant possibly recognize you on the street, so dont be afraid.
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Joined: 20 Jan 2003
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2003 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: TIME TO CONFESS!! Who pulled a midnight run? Reply with quote

[i]Who has run away from Korea? What were the consquences of your actions? Did you ever come back to Korea? If you did, how long did you have to wait until immigration forgave your sins?[/i]

I did it! I pulled a midnight run in August 2002. Evil or Very Mad
I spent exactly four months working for one of SLP's schools in Seoul, and decided I had no interest in wasting the next eight months of my life continuing in that job. It was just not for students, fun teachers, but I did not enjoy working my ass off in another country. I wanted to see a bit of the country while I was there, but had little time to do so b/c of my work schedule. I figured that, if I was going to work that hard, I might as well do so at home, so I up and left in the middle of the night at the end of August.

The consequences of my far as I know, none. I guess it'll be a cold day in hell before they let me back into Korea, but I can't say that breaks my heart. If ever I return to Asia to teach, I'll go to another country. I spent about 15 months teaching in Japan after my college graduation, and I absolutely loved it. I worked 4 days/week for a lot more money, and definitely found better treatment there.

The run a little screwed up b/c our paychecks were a couple of days late. I wanted to "run" on a Sunday so that I would have a whole day to cover my tracks in case immigration stopped me at the airport. However, I ended up not being able to run until Tuesday, but it all worked out fine. I just went to a travel agent in Itaewon the previous weekend and booked a one-way ticket out. I left my apartment at about 4 or 5 a.m. on Tuesday and headed to the airport. I knew that once I had made it through immigration there, I was pretty much free.

That's my story. I don't know what would happen if I tried to go back to Korea. Maybe I'll apply to a job there just for kicks and find out what they say!

Mary Lou the SLP Midnight Runner
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william beckerson

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2003 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Mary Lou.

gee, over 100 views, only one response
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Circus Monkey

Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: In my coconut tree

PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2003 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't done the "run". Luckily, I've been able to work out thing with my various employers before anything serious happened. Having said that, I hold nothing against someone doing the run provided they've honestly tried to work things out beforehand. Thus endeth the sermon.

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some waygook

PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2003 3:37 am    Post subject: I haven't, but I know some Reply with quote

I have been quite tempted to do it, but I have kept telling myself that I need the money more than my pride right now.
The one teacher who was here before me did a run, and I can't say I blame her. If they would have treated me the way they did her, I would be gone too.
The crazy thing, or maybe it's not so crazy, is that she was working illegally, and had no degree. The employers took this to mean "exploitable". I have trouble with their logic. You'd think they would be happy to treat her decently, after all, she was working for less!

I may have to do the deed yet, as I don't trust this place as far as I can blow a kimchi burger with a bit of passed gas. But so far, I am being treated OK and that means I will stick it out.

By the way. How do you vote in the poles? Confused I haven't figured it out yet.
Some waygook
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The Lemon

Joined: 11 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2003 4:13 am    Post subject: voting Reply with quote

Some waygook:

If you happened to press the "view results" button out of curiosity under the vote buttons when you first saw the survey, the system registered that as a wasted vote before it showed you the results. It remembers this happened and is forbidding you from making a real vote in that poll now and in the future.

It's a strange system but I guess it's to prevent the "bandwagon" effect - voting one way because everyone else did.

hope it's a little clearer...
The Lemon
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william beckerson

PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2003 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, for those of you who said "Things have to be REALLY bad" What do you consider to be bad enough for you to split town?
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some waygook

PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2003 3:58 am    Post subject: What would be "bad enough" for me to leave? Reply with quote

Well, the first thing is money. If they start doing any weird accounting practices with my paycheck I'm out of here.

The second thing would be if they are constantly ragging on me about things that I have no control over. It depends how they treat me, if they are rude, arrogant jerks who are yelling at me or demeaning me then I will be packing that night.

The final one would be if they started demanding that I work extra hours or something like that.

Other than those three, the rest is just the normal crap you have to put up with while you are here.

OOps! I forgot one. If something went terribly wrong with the housing situation, like suddenly I have a new room mate or suddenly there's no heat.

So far, this job has always managed to stay just barely above the level that would make me leave. That's kind of annoying in it's own way. Some days I wish it were worse, then I would have no qualms about walking.
Some waygook-in
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Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2003 5:29 am    Post subject: i did it.... Reply with quote

i did the MR in april 02, not because of a bad school or students, but because of a mindless and insensitive director. first there was the knocking on my door when i was ill one day, asking me to show up anyway. i was ready for that as i was warned and brushed him off. but after i was hospitalized for three weeks and returned to the school, i was treated so shabbily that i knew i would never work for this man again. he only went on about how "nervous" the students were that i was not there to teach, that the other teachers had to assume the workoad blah blah blah. not one word about how i was doing or if i was going to live or anything. i didn't expect flowers and candy but his behaviour cinched it for me.

having said that, i do want to return to korea and will probably do so, the kids were good and the lifestyle appealed to me.

i'm working in russia at another good school but the pay here is way below korea and i can't stay here forever. interesting living though.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2003 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The run should be the last choice in a series of choices caused by bad working conditions.
After all else has failed running could become a justified option. Before that it simply means running out on your responsibilities, taking the easy way out and letting other deal with the consequences of your acts.
It doesn't make a person who runs as a firts option a bad person, just a person that refuses to deal with the consequences of his or her choices and that takes the easy way out.
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captain kirk

Joined: 29 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

some waygook's post lists the things that, in my experience, happen in hagwons at some time or another in the course of a year. re; employer's nagging and finding fault and changing their mind and so on...i've seen bosses absolutely REAMING out korean teachers who stand with their heads lowered just taking it. but the moment a boss acts uppity in a certain tone to a waygook, well, put another log on the resentment and possible outcome (doing a runner, maybe). ALL the nasty nuances some waygook lists are par for the course. the korean teachers, when they get SPOKEN TO in these 'pull up your sox' debasement sessions seem to be absolutely unaffected. but a waygook gets way out of joint (waygook teachers generally). the boss is the boss in korea. do the korean teachers think waygook teachers are 'prima donnas'? nothing personal, it's all business in a hagwon. a runner is personal, right? and the system makes it so a runner is hurting oneself, kind of. can't get another job until the contract period one left behind has elapsed. jumping ship is for failed mutineers, a last resort. ever heard of a polite pirate? Twisted Evil Twisted Evil yeah i've pulled a couple of daylight escapes complete with 'what i think of you!!!' but if i'd made hagwon-Pop more comfortable in his throne day to day He probably wouldn't have had to get all twisted-pantied. strict hierarchy of status in korea, no way around it. alway there, always a fine line. payin yer respects. is a waygook teacher an owned, feudal serf? doesn't bother the korean teachers as much.(my boss Arrow Cool
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J.B. Clamence

Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never done a runner, but I don't have a problem with it provided that the school deserves it. But I have a hard time understanding people who are proud of having skipped out of their jobs in the middle of the night, only to reveal when giving the details that it had nothing to do with the school, but they just "didn't feel like" honoring their contract.

The funny thing is that in my experience, it is often those who go on about how they are "serious" teachers who end up escaping because they found a better job in another country, or they just got bored. I worked with a guy who would respond to discussions of future ESL destinations with the mantra "I am not a backpacker! I have a family and this is my career!" The school was great, no problems, and he had no complaints, but about 3 or 4 months into his contract, he suddenly disappered without a trace the day after payday.
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Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Oh so close to where I want to be

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Running should be the last option.
Perhaps those who have run were not aware of their other options.
I ran the gauntlet of mistreatment at my last school.
My list of complaints ran long.
I stuck it out for the reason that I loved my students.
Finally, I decided that my b.s. quota had been more than filled.
Instead of doing the run, though, I went to immigration, the tax department, the pension office, and the labour board and filed complaints with everyone that I could.

During my time at KC Hell, the school went through a myriad of Korean teachers as well.
It got to the point that when a student said "Oh, well 'Julia-teacher' said...", my standard response became "Who is 'Julia-teacher?'.
In the three years or so that my former school has been in existence, only one teacher has finished her contract.
Her comment the day after her contract finished?
"First day in a year that I woke up happy."

Of course there are professional teachers in Korea (with and without papers) and those who may be considered less than such.
Just as there are good schools and not so good.
Depends on the luck of the draw.
Part and parcel with agreeing to a contract over the internet and long distance telephone.
You never know what you will get until you get here.
But, then, nor does the school.

One thing I found that has helped me in my time of need is that I have a good and strong Korean friend who will always be there when I need him.
The fact that he always wins the debate/argument helps too.
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Joined: 24 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:30 pm    Post subject: Harsh bet it is! Reply with quote

It's difficult ................and most of it I blame on the people. Propaganda fed to the masses (everything Korean is great,) a people who don't travel (bar one week escorted honeymoon tours,) and confucius ideologies bankrolled by corrupt business people/politicians. Hey, don't get me wrong there are many GREAT people but the majority of these have travelled/lived elsewhere so then have some understanding of what you as a westerner face here. The rest can't fathom any sort of life apart from Korea............and that's all they'll ever know................and berate me please BUT Koreans are the most STARING nation of people I've ever encountered(rude staring)............and I've been round twice. That's my bitch for the 'Land of the Morning Calm,' and afternoon calm ...........and...
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Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Location: Geoje, Hadong, Tongyeong,... now in a small coastal island town outside Gyeongsangnamdo!

PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koreans end up trusting foreigners less after they have experienced a runner. Or so says a Korean teacher from a school near mine, where a runner left them in a lurch. Every teacher had an extra load for the six weeks it took to get a replacement into the small city hagwon. Now every foreigner could be a potential runner, says the Korean teacher. Surprisingly, when he and I spoke of a Korean teacher who bolted on a day's notice to a higher paying job closer to his family, well, there wasn't any generalizations about all Korean teachers as potential runners.

(Calling them runners makes me think of a certain old Harrison Ford sci-fi flick. Maybe someday there won't be anyplace to run and hide.)
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