Sunday, June 06, 2010

I wonder if I made the RIGHT choice......

On Thursday of last week I started school. I'm studying Korean again at Sogang for those of you who don't follow. On Friday of last week I went for a job interview. The interview was with a law firm here in Seoul. It was a sweet gig that would have boosted my monthly salary to $7000 for a measly 27 teaching hours a week (18 with the new job, and the current 9 I'm working now). I did well at the interview even though it was intense. Six candidates were interviewed. I found out today (Sunday) that I got the job. It's Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:30-3:30.

So it's either the job or the Korean class. If I could do them both at the same time, I would. I can't switch to the part-time Korean evening program because I don't fit into any level.

The same day of the interview we received Sung Hyun's passport from the Canadian Embassy with his visa in it. He didn't care to hear about my interview because he was just so darn excited about being able to go to Canada. While at dinner he kept saying "let's go". I replied with, "I'm not finished eating". To which he said "to Canada, I mean". Anytime now, we can leave.

If I work this job for 6 months I would be able to easily save and send home $40 000 Canadian.

I said NO to the job.

THIS time money doesn't win.


Helena said...

Whew! I need to find my husband a job like that!

Anonymous said...

I think that's a mistake. I know you don't want to go back to Canada just yet and saying no might be your way of sabotaging yourself so you can't go (because you didn't save enough, because you're not ready, whatever). 40,000 in six months is a LOT of money. It could help you shape your future (and your husband's). If you were going to stay in Korea for a long time, then I would understand not taking it, but since these are your last few months, you should be taking advantage of the money-making opportunities. You won't be earning this much in Canada.

권투선수 에이미 [Amy] said...

Hey Jennifer,
First, props to you for picking happiness over money -- I've definitely been there!!! And secondly, how the heck are you finding these kick-a$$ positions???

Anonymous said...

That was a tough decision. I commend you for chosing your husband over the money... at the end of the day, it's what counts. Years from now, you'll look back and KNOW that you've made a good choice. Kudos to you & good luck!

Why am I here??? said...

Yah Anonymous, maybe you're right! But how much money does one need to return back to Canada? I get the feeling I'll NEVER have enough. And if I'm so easily able to make 6 figures here in Korea by working a 40 hour work week then why should I even bother going back to Canada. I have even thought this far. I'm afraid that if I take it, it will be tooooo tempting to stay in Korea (for money). It will be harder for me to leave this place. And yes, at no time in my life will I ever be making this much money again!!!!!! That's what makes this so difficult.

I HATE TOUGH LIFE DECISIONS. It would have been better if I just didn't get the job....hehe.

Hey Amy,

Working at the Blue House has opened up these opportunities for me. I guess when it comes down to it, it's hard work and networking -- of which you both know about ;)

Thanks Tuyet! I needed to hear that. I need someone on my side ;) Because I think I'm still stuck in the middle! AHHHHHHH!

Foreigner Joy said...

Sounds like a good deal. I was wondering by what means are you looking for jobs. Recruiters? Websites? ..etc...thanks!

Foreigner Joy said...

Certainly sounds like you can get many opportunities so I passing this one up just lets another one in~

Why am I here??? said...

hey Joy, add me to FB and I'll break it down for you. Too much to write here.

Shelley said...

Sometimes we place too much value on money. Sounds like a hard decision but it also sounds like you make the right one and you're happy with it. Money does not buy happiness!

Casey said...

If you have to brag about possibly making $7000 than I doubt you had the chance. But if you did, you're a fool for letting it go. Say what you want about school and living with your mother in law but the brutal reality is you live in a ROOM the size of my bathroom, and with your husband and mother in law. You can say goodbye to your sex life with your husband and soon you'll be able to say hello to depending on your husband like so many other weak women.

Get your head out of the sand and stop making excuses for things you know I am talking about.

Why am I here??? said...

You don't have to believe me Casey, but maybe you're right about letting it go. I still don't know if it was the right decision or not. But it was a decision I made and I've got to live with it. Perhaps another opportunity will come my way.

Along with the decision about moving in with my MIL (in a room the size of a shoebox, hehe)......I've got to live with that too. And I'm quite enjoying myself to tell you the truth. Although maybe you don't believe that either.

As for school, I'm a little disappointed in that. My teachers are not the same and I miss my old classmates.

As for depending on my husband, I can't wait for that to happen actually. He's going to be my sugar daddy in Canada, because what he makes in a day here in Korea is what I make in an hour. It will be nice to have less financial responsibility.

Anways I appreciate that you put your name to the comment. What's with the sex comments that you've been leaving btw? Are you really that concerned about MY sex life???? And to be honest, I'm not really certain what you mean by your last comment: Get your head out of the sand and stop making excuses for things you know I am talking about.

Do I know you personally? Do you live in Korea? I'm not sure what you are suggesting. Please elaborate!

Diana E.S. said...

Jen... you know I love ya, but you're leaving Korea forever within a few months. You don't have a job back home and neither does your husband. Gotta say... I think you made the wrong choice here.

Amanda said...


Um, well. First, I'm not sure why you said no. It doesn't seem like you "chose your husband over money" because it was only a 27 hr a week, daytime job. Unless Sung Hyun's job has completely changed, he probably works those hours (and more).

Second, if you said no for your Korean class, could've just plunked yourself into the best evening course. Or you could've done this job this summer and taken a fall course at your level. If I remember the Sogang dates correctly, that would still get you back in Canada by your due date.

I would've taken the job. I seem to recall you set a goal of saving money sometime around December. Maybe you met that goal and are completely happy, but this still seems like a mistake from my view.

There is a way to NOT get sucked into staying for the money. Instead of trying to change your lifestyle to match your money (lifestyle inflation), you keep your lifestyle and save the money. Getting sucked into the money happens when you inflate your lifestyle. You don't HAVE to inflate your lifestyle.

How much money do you need to go to Canada? Well, if you want to be a helicopter kid, not much. You need two plane tickets back and that's it, because your parents will take care of you, I'm sure.

However, if you don't want to be a helicopter kids, your expenses are going to be higher. And I know for us, there were unexpected difficulties in repatriating. I hadn't lived in the country in several years so people didn't want to rent to me, my car insurance went up because I hadn't been insured, etc etc.

Having said that, there are benefits to saving and stockpiling money. Shelley is right that money doesn't buy you happiness, but going to Canada with $40K would buy you:

- First and last month on an apartment.
- An emergency fund.
- Time to get a job.
- A way out of debt, if you have any (most American graduates do, but I think it's different in Canada).
- An emergency fund for his mom.
- A down payment on a house.
- The opportunity to stay home when you have a baby.
- The opportunity to go back to school.

I know Canada has a different structure than America, so maybe you don't need retirement, but I'd also throw retirement up there.

I think that the two most important things up there are time to find a (great) job and an emergency fund.

Our emergency fund has given us a sense of security. If Good Man or both of us has to go back to Korea at the drop of a hat, we can. If I lose my job, we're covered for several months. When I needed an emergency root canal, we had the money. The fund also paid for the computer Good Man really needed for school (mandatory, he was in comp sci!) when his broke a week before finals.

You have been talking about wanting to go to Canada since I met you. You have been "next yearing" that decision every year for lesser-paying jobs than this and to stay for Sung Hyun. Now you KNOW you have to leave by a certain date due to visa regulations. There is no more next yearing past that date.

Now you you have an opportunity to get a fantastic job (better than any hogwon monkey job) that would really make your repatriation a lot smoother and you gave it up.


I suspect you gave it up coming from a place of fear, and if I were you I'd really do some soul-searching on that. Are you afraid to "move up" in the world? Are you afraid that one or both of you has no self-control and will spend like a drunken sailor? Are you afraid you won't be successful in the job? Are you afraid of leaving Korea?

Shelley said...

Just wanted to say one thing, I too can't wait until my husband supports me too when we move back to Canada. Because I make in an hour what he might make in a day. It's sad because he really is so good at programming.
Honestly though, even though I (sometimes) like India, I know it won't offer me the comforts and opportunities that I can get in Canada. Here the jobs are not secure and they don't offer a future or a retirement plan. Now that we have a daughter we have to think about the future!

Why am I here??? said...

Hehe, thanks Diana!

Yes Amanda you make some really good points. Actually yes I made my financial goal and have acquired some money for Canada. Also we will be renting from my parents when we get back for the first 6 months till we get on our feet. I think the most important thing you mentioned is the emergency fund for him mom. That's something that I didn't factor into my decision making. I would have taken this job if it didn't interfer with school hands down. I'm not scared to do this since the Blue House job has given me a huge boost of confidence. I'm not afraid I'll spend the money, because much like you I have my little nest egg that I started when I was 18. I'm certainly afraid of leaving Korea though. In fact I'm really really scared. I'm worried that I won't like my life back home. I'm worried that if I take this job I won't leave. Yah Sung Hyun has to go, but I don't. Anyways, thanks for your long insight. Maybe it was a mistake.


He's going to get such a great job in Canada. Luckly that's one of the skills that would benefit him there. Power to the women for making the money, but yah, it will be nice to finally get a break!
Thanks ;)

David said...

Having read your blog, I sense that you are a survivor. Your decision to stay in class is also important. You will be fine with your decision. Fighting

Anonymous said...

I think Amanda summed it up really well. I think turning down the job was a huge mistake. That money could have made your lives back in Canada a lot easier. You will NOT be making this money there and having it saved up would've made the move easier on both of you. I don't see you choosing your husband over the job. I mean, everybody works 40-hour weeks and that's what's going to happen when you move to Canada, so working 27 hours would've been nothing.

Bad choice, sorry to say.

Amanda said...

Did someone actually help you find/interview for/get this job?

Yah Sung Hyun has to go, but I don't.

Well then, I can add to the list that with 40K you could've stayed back in Korea and sent Sung Hyun to Canada.

I'm worried that if I take this job I won't leave.

But why? Why would taking a job for six months make you NOT leave?

I'm worried that I won't like my life back home.

Life is what you make of it.

You're planning on going back to the same place you grew up in, right? If you don't think you'll like it, consider why (too big? too small? not enough jobs? too close to family?) and find a place that addresses those concerns.

With 40K, you'd be able to move to a place where you expect you'd be happier. Or to take classes to get a degree in a field you'd love.

(And heck, if that didn't work, $40K would pay for a lot of therapy to attempt to find your own happiness! [Wink])

Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a heck of a lot of opportunities to put yourself in a better or different position.

I'm certainly afraid of leaving Korea though. In fact I'm really really scared.

Well, is it possible Anon is right then? Is it possible you're sabotaging yourself?

I'm not actually looking for answers--I don't care what you do with your money or future since none of it affects me.

But if you just gave up $40K for a Korean class you're not even enjoying, well, damn, what are they putting in the water at Sogang?

Sarah said...

Wait a do you know SungHyun will be getting a good job in Canada and will be able to give you a break? Does he have something lined up already? I dunno, I've heard the job situation is terrible back home....I'm scared to death about leaving Korea, but we're going to take the plunge too. But I'm not so optimistic about us getting jobs right away....

Foreigner Joy said...

Maybe consider some time back home in Canada and then time back in Korea...for your hubby's sake to get a feel for your home country. hrmmm

Tanya said...

Hi Jen,

You know eventually I would comment on this. I would have commented to you personally but with all the bad wrap you are getting on here I thought I would make my voice known.

You and I have discussed many times how I feel you should follow what you feel is right for you.

You chose to stay in Korea to study Korean because you wanted to communicate better with your new family. If it wasnt for that you would be set to leave in July.

So many people dont stick with their reasons for what they do and you have just proven that you aren't making excuses to stay in Korea but following what you set out to do in the last few months you had there.

So many people place all their priorities on money. Yes you need money to live, yes 40,000 is a lot of money and some people dont even make that as a salary in a year. But its about what goals you want in life. If your goal is not to have this high life in a big house with expensive material things but rather a simple life with more love than material goods then you made the right choice for you.

I am proud of you for sticking with your guns. I am very angry that people are judging the life you live. Especially the choice to live with your mother in law. You chose to allow your husband's needs to come first so he could see his mom before he moved FOREVER. There are ways to have sex without doing it in front of your MIL if it was so important to you!!

Everything is achievable if you set your mind to it. Yes it will be difficult when you move back to get set up, yes you will live with your parents and may not have a plush pillow of money to get by on. But that was never the problem for you.

You didnt worry about money and living with your parents. You worried about what experiences you would leave behind in Korea that you would kick yourself for not completing. None of those things were money.

You went to Korea with the goal of learning a new culture, not to make exorbant amounts of money. You went to Korea a poor woman, why do you need to come back a rich one?

Also, I dont appreciate the comment that you will fall like so many woman who will have to rely on their husband. That's BS. You have never in your entire life let someone control what you do and how you do it. You've always made your own money and you studied women and gender studies for pete's sake!!! You may let your husband take on more of the financial responsibility but you wont hesitate to work if you choose to or if it is needed to live.

So after this long note I would just like to say, everyone has different values and goals in life. Yes people may be jealous of the fact that you could have made 40,000 to send home because that may be their goal in life. But it is not your goal and you chose based on the way you want to live your life. Everyone should not critize you but continue to work on achieving their own goals.

It takes a strong person to follow their heart through the lion's den of criticism.

Luv you Jenbear. Keep true to yourself.

Banannas said...

Hi, I stumbled onto your blog and was wondering how you like the Korean program at Sogang...I've been thinking of taking classes there, so I'm curious--is it pretty evenly distributed between book study and actual practice/conversation? Thanks!