It was the worst of interviews and it was the best of interviews.
After more than a month of sending out my CV and other documents to numerous universities in Seoul (and only hearing from four of them) it had come down to two interviews to decide my fate for next year as well as answer that burning question: Will I stay here in Daejeon or will I be moving back to Seoul and the “big time?”
When I decided to come back to Korea this year I knew, or at least I hoped that I would find a better job once I had gotten back here. It was just a little over a year ago when I was offered my current teaching at Woosong University and I knew then that I wouldn’t be staying here too long; at least not more than a year or two.
What I hadn’t counted on when I returned to the States last year and started looking for another job in Korea was just how difficult it was to apply from overseas.
Unlike the summer of 1992 when all I had to do was walk into the Head of Studies’ office at Yonsei University’s Foreign Language Institute and pretty much get offered on a job on the spot, by 2006, it was definitely more difficult and competitive. For one thing there was a much larger teacher pool and with many schools only offering 3-4 year contract limits, there was a large number of these teachers looking for jobs at the same time. Moreover, with so many teachers already in Korea it was easier for schools to hire in country. Not so in a pre-Internet 1992 when many teachers were still being hired from overseas after a telephone interview.
Back in the summer of 1992 when I went to Yonsei’s FLI for an interview I was one of the lucky ones because I had already been in Korea for two years teaching at ELS. There were a number of teachers at FLI who had gotten their start at ELS before moving on to the better teaching gigs.
So, here I was again this year looking for another teaching job. Inasmuch as I could stay at Woosong for another year what I have wanted and desired most all along was to get back to Seoul. I have never really felt comfortable living in Daejeon. I have always felt that I was just waiting for the next train out of town.
Finding a better job wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it would be. Despite sending out my CV’s and other documents to a dozen universities in Seoul, it would come down to only two which would offer me an interview. That kind of bummed me out, especially for being in Korea for as long as I have not to mention the experience I have had both as teacher and a journalist. You would think that many schools would want to have me on their staff.