Tag Archives: moron

American law school: the single most inefficient, arrogant educational system I’ve ever experienced.

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The title says it.  I finished my 1st semester.  It’s officially the lowest GPA I’ve ever received (and no, I’m not using the Asian standard here), and you all know I’ve been unhappy with the program from the mid semester.  Indeed if my grades were a bit better, I wouldn’t be this upset.  But now that most of my grade rolled out, it’s like throwing a gas bomb into a burning house, burning house being my complaints which started from mid 1st semester.  Here are my point-to-point complaint about the law school system as a bit older student than average.

1. Do they know this is 1st year and all of 1st year students have no idea what the law is?

With very few exceptions, law school doesn’t teach anything in 1st year, which is ridiculous. They just throw you bunch of cases with zero context explained.  Then, in class, most of the professors talk about whatever they think is relevant or important.  Are you being tested on it? Hell no.  The exam is about how to apply the rules (which is rarely talked about in class) to the given situation (again, rarely done in classes).

If this is psychology or political science grad program, ok, I get it.  It’s legitimate to assume that 1st year students know a thing or two about the subject because they learned it from undergrad, and thus professors can throw materials and their ideas as much as they want.  Law? no.  There is no “law” undergrad major in America.  Many of us don’t know anything about the law.  Think it this way.  There is a group of people who have no idea about American football.  A chaperon takes a group to a game, without much pre-game explanation.  The game starts, and all the chaperon talks about is “that John Smith is an awesome quarterback,” “the linebacker is useless here” when people have no fucking idea about the general rules of football, let alone what is quarterback or linebacker.  After viewing one or two games without much explanation, all of sudden, the chaperon pushes the kids to the field and play the game, or makes them to write an analysis about a game strategy as a whole.  Then you are graded on that one thing.

I get, to some degree, why the law is taught in this way.  Lawyer’s job is to find a bunch of relevant cases and rules and draw a summary from it.  Oh, was this explained in my class? NO.

2. Ridiculous schedule

Yeah, okay, professionals are paid that much money to work under pressure in a tight schedule.  I get it.  But, I don’t know whether it’s efficient to work 1st year noobs under such a schedule.  Shouldn’t a school be a training institution, where you can practice and make a lot of mistakes and learn from it?  As I said before, because the nature of lawyer’s job, I think it’s essential to give the students some time to think about the material in various ways.  Then, as you get used to it, it will get faster.

Sadly, the law school doesn’t allow this.  From day 1, it’s assignment assignment assignment.  If you really follow what your professors say and their syllabus accordingly, you just do your reading assignment, go to class exhausted, and read for next class.  That’s it.  There’s no time to think.  And your grade depends on one-shot exam.  As the students got little bit more used to the law school system, the internship period rolls in, so you’ll have to send out your resume like crazy when the semester is still running.  And your first-ever grade in law school will affect that your first-ever internship.  In only 4-months timeframe of your 1st experience.

Look, I’ve had some BS, and I worked under pressure schedules.  Thing is, I was getting paid and actually worked on something, progressing toward a tangible result.  Here, you paid (a lot of $$) to learn and be a competent professional.  Do I think the system can achieve this goal? NO.

3. What’s most important carry the least weight. 

So far, the only practical and make-sense course is legal writing and research.  This is the class that is most closely related to the actual work of lawyer.  Yes, it’s a lot of work but I somewhat enjoyed it, because I really felt like I’m learning something practical.  I wanted to enjoy it more and put more time on it.  Well, you can’t.

So this single-most important class (and mostly taught by people with a lot of professional experience) gives far less credit than other courses.  In my school, all the other theory courses (which roughly falls under #1) are given 4 credits.  Legal writing? It’s a shit ton of work and 2 credits.  WTF. And, here’s the most ironic thing – because of the ridiculous workload and schedule, now I wish it was pass/fail course like some other schools, while not hating the course.  And most of these courses are taught by non-full time professors. WTF again.

4. It’s professional school but thing is sooooo geared to academics.

It’s professional school.  IMO, the professional school is a high-end trade school.  You are there to learn skill, and after learning, you should be able to use that skill to either earn your own $ or contribute something to the office.  When you sit in the class and listen to the lecture, you realize so much of the class is geared to the nerd academic side of the law.  I’m not downplaying the academic/philosophical side of a knowledge.  But, if more than 50% of the class is geared toward that way, in a school that doesn’t aim for purely academic career, there’s something wrong.

I see a young professors who actually practiced and new to the teaching trying to avoid this.  They try to throw in the stories of actual world and show a lot of real docs in use.  I thank them, and it’s a good change.  But still, it’s unsatisfactory.

If I can build a law school of my own, here’s what I would do.  I would make all 1st year students to take legal writing and research courses for a full year.  After they finish the course, then I would move on to the theory courses.  I would make each theory courses as 2 semesters long, so people can actually have time to think and discuss about the material.  I would definitely make more mandatory practical courses (with much more credit), like how to write formal documents, how you should behave when submitting the docs/face officials and what to do when bring the plaintiff/witness in, etc.  I would use commercial outlines and study aids as main textbooks, and then make the students read the case relative to that day’s class.

People did warn me about the ridiculousness of 1st year.  I thought I can just get over it, since I’ve taken some BS too.  It’s harder than I thought, because I paid a lot of money to be a competent professional, not an academic.  Yet I really don’t feel like I can acquire practical skills that can get me working from 1st month on the job.  The system is so flawed – on the top of the expensive tuition and useless classes, you have to buy bunch of study aids, and then you have to pay again for your bar exam (it’s well-known fact that schools are somewhat useless when it comes to bar exam preparation).

My 2nd semester stared, and I’m just not sure what to do.  If the market is good and my citizenship/visa isn’t an issue, I know what I do.  I’d fucking quit,or switch to part time program.

Don’t Be So Wry, Sir.

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http://samurai01.egloos.com/tb/2802138

The above link is a blog post written in Korean.  I would look at his blog from time to time, since he is studying Japanese history, which is closely related to my 2nd major (And also a topic that continuously interests me).  Usually, I don’t really comment everything on someone’s blog.  Everyone is bound to think differently.  If I don’t like it, I don’t have to pick a fight.  Just leave it and do your stuff.
But this post really bothered me.  Mainly:

– That these parents of Korean students in prestigious American university have no reason to “spend frigging +$50,000” other than placing their kids to some financial firm at Manhattan.

– That the Korean students at his prestigious American university are well-behaved and nice, more than he used to think.  Because their parents “brainwashed” them to behave so being pretty wealthy family, and some thinks it’s the way to keep their reputation as “pretty wealthy family.”

First point.

What kind of crooked view is this?

Sure, maybe some Korean parents have such strange desire to place their kinds in some well-known financial firm in Manhattan.  But why make such a big leap of generalization, based on one school in one specific region?  Same can be said for many white American parents of my high school.  I know a plenty of them said to their kids’ college advisor, “I am not going to let my kid apply non-Ivy schools.”  I also know a ROTC guy (not Korean) who was terrified when he got his camp assignment – everyone in his family went ROTC and served in a same camp, and this guy didn’t get in.

I know a lot of Korean international students’ parents who sent their kids to America for a lot of different reasons.  Some just couldn’t handle the intensity of Korean high school students (which also greatly affects parents too).  Some didn’t want their kids to be order-following test-grinding machine (my parents, I guess).  And some had family crisis, such as divorce, so they sent their kids abroad.  Some had kids that really, really wanted to go abroad and study.

So don’t you fucking make such generalization, based only on a small portion of population, limited to a certain area.
Second point:

Again, what the heck is wrong with him?  He just can’t even appreciate someone’s good behavior?  And the reason behind their good behavior is only because they are from wealthy family?

Maybe, unlike myself, he had a plenty of well-behaved people around him so started to take them for granted.  All of the well-behaved, gentle people I’ve ever met were not limited to a certain social class.  The cleaning man and guests at the local homeless center were some of the best gentlemen.  Some of the most impolite, good-for-nothing kids I’ve ever met were from everywhere, from very wealthy family to just average.

At least based on my experience, someone’s manner and behavior have nothing to do with their family’s earning and social class.  If there is one standard that can tell anything about someone’s behavior and manner, that’s their parents’ value and personality.

Honestly, if you had a chance to meet someone who is nice and well-mannered, you are lucky just fucking appreciate it.  Don’t add things in and twist your view, like “oh, of course, it’s just another dirty trick to satisfy their vanity.”

Look, blog writer.  Few years ago, you wrote, as watching 20-something lady so surprised after crashing her Nissan Infinity, you didn’t really feel any sympathy, thinking “well, she’s got rich family, I bet.” Then you found yourself getting greatly worried over your friend’s phone call, saying he was involved in a car accident.  And that you were embarrassed to hold such double standard.

How do you know that Nissan Infinity is from her parents? Maybe it was her dream car, so she worked really hard or got a loan or was on a really good deal lease.

You, apparently, finished your Ph.D in one of the most prestigious universities over 6-7 years.

Shouldn’t you know better?  Generalization is no-no in the States, for most of people.  And, when you are writing things in open blog, you really should be careful of what you are writing.

See, this is why I don’t like many Koreans in America, especially those who came over much later in their life.  They generalize everything.  Everything is either black of white.  They only see a very small part of life.  They can’t just accept things as they are.  And, it’s not uncommon for them to bash on younger people who have international experience, saying “oh, those kids must be so spoiled, rude, just lucky kids with rich parents, blah blah blah” without ever considering the fears and stress they have (and consider them “nothing” compared to their own worries.  Now who’s impolite?).

People like you make us wanting to further distance ourselves from Korea.

Few years ago, a good friend of mine, Susie, shared one of her worries.  Back then, in her early 20s, Susie was going to one of the best schools for biology, so she was working at on-campus bio lab.  Susie is pretty hard-working student, who hates getting involved in politics and arguments.  So she just do her job, say bye, go back to her place and work on her assignments.

There was one Korean MA student (mid 30) in the same lab.  He finished his BA in Korea, and never lived abroad.  For no reason, he started to spread bad gossip on Susie.  He would approach Susie’s lab mate, and say stuff like “Susie’s so rude, she doesn’t greet me properly, it’s pretty selfish to just finish her job and go, blah blah.”  Susie was so stressed out, because 1) she didn’t have nerve to spare on this, and 2) she really could not figure out what she did wrong to him.  She said greetings to him properly, and they weren’t that close.

The only answer we could think of was…that he was just jealous.   He was jealous, because, being 30 something, he was struggling to swim in this brave new world he had never been, let alone language.  Then there was Susie, who was far younger than himself, yet speaks far better language and seems to handle stuff far better than himself.

Honestly, if I were him, I would just ask for help or focus on my damn business.  I don’t really understand him.  But now reading the above linked blog post, I think I know why.  Even if they go abroad and spend long years, they are still very Korean.

“Sorry, You are Disqualified Because You are Not Foreigner”

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So while I am struggling with the endless battle with LSAT, my friend called me about a possible part-time position.  I was not too keen on it, but hey, at least someone thought of me and that is a terribly nice gesture.  And earning a few more wons won’t hurt me, right?

Friend: Well, they are looking for a native speaker, or “foreigner” for the position.
Ceberus: What?  For the English-Korean translation part-time position?
Friend: Yeah.
Ceberus: That. is. insane.
Friend: I know! I told them they won’t be able to find a “foreigner” with a good-enough control on English and Korean.  But as I heard about the position, I thought of you.  You grew up in the States, speak good English and Korean, right?
Ceberus: Yeah I guess so.  So should I write to this person in English of in Korean?
Friend: Er…both?  ‘Cause that shows you are good at both languages?
Ceberus: Er…I’ll just write in English, since you said they want a “foreigner.”  You know it always helps to be foreigner in Korea, as much as you can.
Friend: AH, TRUE.

There goes my resume.  Which clearly shows my extensive experience on dealing with foreigners, foreign documents.  And I have seperate block for my freelance translation/interpretation.

Oh, and my friend did not have a clear idea about job description (after all, the job wasn’t for her company – it was for her client company), so I also asked them to give me a job description.

The job description never came, nor the reply.  Naturally, I thought the position is bygone.  Well, as I munch down my lunch today, my cell rang. It was the company.

Company: Thanks for the resume.  But we are looking for the foreigner, I mean, native speaker for the position.  I think there was some kind of misunderstanding.  And you are Korean, so unfortunately, we believe you are not the best match for our position. 

And then “we hope to see you again if there is another opportunity” blah blah shit.   Yeah thanks whatever.   Oh and I never thought being a “foreigner” matters that much in terms of job performance.  I didn’t even bother to argue, since my friend already said that they are looking for a “foreigner,” and I am very well aware of Korean (Asian in general) companies’ fantasy on having a foreigner in their office.  Oftentimes, it’s usually a white person from North America.  Never mind that there might be some other Korean who speaks better English AND Korean than that person – it looks cool, who cares?  But if they are really looking for a “foreigner” who can actually translate Korean – English, I say their chance is really, really slim.

It reminds me of how I wanted to join FBI, CIA or MI-5 back in the old days.  The things looked good, because many of these organizations are always short in people speaking good East Asian language.  I happen to speak 2 East Asian languages quite fluently, and my educational background is a good match.  However I had to give it up quickly.  All of them were only accepting US citizens and UK citizens.  No surprise, they are still short in people who can do that.

It’s not my first time, nor this is something that happens only in Korea.  Maybe there was a miscommunication.  Nevertheless I hate this bullshit.

Update: So it was her

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Yes it was.  I logged in my Facebook, and there’s a message from Myrtle.  Rough translation is:

Dear Ceberus,

Do you not remember me? This is Myrtle!  I was surprised by you not recognizing me.  All I remember about you is smiling and friendly to me – did you really not recognize me?  Hmm.  Well I hope your test went well!

Myrtle

Okay, it looks all friendly message and make me look like the villain,  but I was even more baffled (or more of like “of course, I knew it, only she’s capable of doing this”).  It’s a rough translation, and probably also because of imagination, but I think she is just irritated when she’s not the center of the stage.  She just can’t take it, so she just had to stalk down my Facebook, and shoot “you pretended you don’t recognize me.”  If she remembered what he had done to me, she clearly would not have sent this kind of all cheery message.  If she doesn’t remember a thing, now that’s even more scary.   After all, she met me only twice in four years, and once she just attacked me, who was just minding my own works and did no harm to her.  My friend was right; her brain is not connected with the other parts of her body parts.  Of course I deleted the message, and said to myself “well, if you really not know why, it’s all about Karma, baby.”  After that, I changed my Facebook privacy setting to “friends only.”  I am really going to stick with my principal on Facebook: no friends adding unless you really are.

Moral of the story: Be nice.  If you can’t, at least be polite all the time, because you never know how you will cross with that someone in your life.

Maybe They Don’t Want Me

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On April 7th, I had my job interview with a major shipbuilding/raw material trading company.  Of course it is Korean company.  I thought let’s go and try it, because 1) the more interview you have, you get better and 2) the company works A LOT with foreign market.  There office was one of the driest office building I’ve ever been to.  On the top of that, the entire office space had carpet.   My throat started to dry up really bad.  Ever since I moved back to big Asian city, I started to have nasal obstruction and dry bronchi in Spring.

This isn’t my first interview with 40-50 years old Korean executives.  But after this one, I have this weird feeling.  I feel that the interviewers don’t quiet know how to deal with me.  They feel uncomfortable with my presence around.

No, I’m not talking about how way too cool I am.  Let me turn the table around and put it this way.

So you are typical middle-age Korean salarymen.  Your position is about senior manager and you are 50 something.  Of course you grew up in South Korea under Korean parents and Korean friends and classmates.  You started your career in a Korean company, and you have been working for the same company about 20 years.  Your subordinates are Koreans of 20 and 30.  They obey you.  Now, you are about to interview loads of candidates – of course someone who will be your subordinate and drink all that liquor as you command, and come to the office as soon as I say so, even though it’s 7 am Sunday. Here’s the next candidate.  She looks Korean, speaks fluent Korean but feels a bit different.  Foreign.  But she is Korean.  Um….alright, let’s check her resume.  So she went high school and a good college…in States.  It’s not California, New Jersey or New York, where there is bunch of Koreans. And, unlike other Koreans who got Western education, she literally grew up there.  And she was in Japan, too.  I’ve never quiet seen something like this…hmm.  I called her because her resume looked interesting but oh, what should I do, what should I do?  Think, think…well I’d rather have a good obedient Korean who covers my ass rather than an unidentified living creature, which I don’t know how to manage.  It’s better to be safe than taking a risk.  Alright, off you go…NEXT!

I feel this is what’s happening in their head.

I admit in the world like this, candidates with degree of more “practical,” specific field – like accounting, engineering, finance, etc – is preferrable to employers.  I don’t have one, and I would not be surprised if that part plays a big role in their decision.  But honestly, it is baffling when all these Korean employers are saying how globalized (or trying to be) they are, and how the candidates are so not globalized and incapable.  Then some “global” candidate appears.  The employers are then scared to hire him or her.  Now about the capability – they can’t even write a clear job posting, or organize what kind of skillset they are looking for.  My generation of candidates is probably the “smartest” candidates of Korean job market history.  Yet the employers complain.  Just stop all that bullcrap about how global and open-minded they are, and go right to the point on what kind of people you are looking for.

So why not scrap all of this and go off to grad school or travel?

Here’s my weakness.  I am very reluctant to quit before I see the tangible result.  Sometimes along the road, I start to feel – or realize – that it will probably fail.  But I keep doing it anyway, saying you never know until the end.  To be honest, I’m not really happy here.  Sure there are some things I would like to keep – such as superb infrastructure, cheap public transportation, floor heating, cheap beauty products and service and medical insurance.  Still, if I have a choice I’d rather live in States.  Yes I know, US has not so impressive infrastructure, expensive insurance (subject to change, of course), lack of heating device other than radiator that dries heck out of your skin, immobility without a car, and so on.  But I was happier there.  People usually let me be.  Here, everyone pushes me to be outsider and insider at the same time.  I feel like the society here is pushing me to be something that I am not.  Sorry folks, I can never be the nice, obedient Korean girl next door.  While I do not deny my Korean self, I feel only about 20% of my self-consciousness is Korean, other 20% Japanese and 60% Midwestern American.  And employers, please stop bragging how globalized you are, when your managers are narrow-minded Koreans.

Like I said before somewhere in this blog, if I am to go to grad school, I really want it to be my ticket out of this rat hole.  But what’s the probability?  About 10 years ago, the probability was high.  After that , here I am, whose employer refused to sponsor my visa at the very last moment.  Let’s say I get into one of those top law schools and graduate safely.  Would I actually be able to settle down in States, or, at least, get to work with a group of people who are not solely made of Koreans and live in somewhere else?  If that’s not possible, then what is the point?  Obama, please do something about the immigration law.  Damn my green South Korean passport.  Maybe I should just buy off a man with American or European citizenship.

This is also my excuse of why there was no posting for a while on my blog.

Plans

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Whether I like it or not, I will give a try for the big name firms in hiring season here.  As I wrote before, their hiring process is crazy and requires preparation.  For this reason, I will pinpoint the firms I really want to try and put my effort on it, instead of just applying here and there just because they have interesting job opening.  I still think the hiring process is unreasonably too time consuming, but I’m in South Korea – even if I fail, it will be a good experience and I will get to know the rule of game here.  If nothing works out, well, law school then.  I know it won’t be easy and going through three years of law school would be a hell hole.  But hey, if you can’t make money, better to learn something.

I am slightly hesitant, though.

From my experience, I think it would be better to go law school or whatever higher education after having 2-3 years of real life experience at least.  People who just hop on to the next level of academic degree because they had no idea what to do or were unwilling to work, tend to be total tools and immature (of course, people who continuously pursue high academic degree with clear purpose, like getting a job in academic field, does not belong to this category).  My college Japanese teacher once said, when in faculty meeting, professors who just continued their academic life without any wage-earning experience have really narrow viewpoint and frustrates her a lot (she has several years of working experience in Japan).  But professors who went through working in an organization are able to draw big picture.  I do feel for her.  The college professors who were so pleasant to work with all had several years of office working experience.  Earning your wage by working with others – from nice white-collar job to burger flipper – really open your eyes, and for sure you learn things that you cannot learn in school – both positive things and negative things about life and human.  By facing a lot of jerks and unexpected situation, you discover what kind of person you want to be, how to avoid being one of them, and why jerks turn into jerks.  And through that, you get to figure out what you want and who you are.

But on the other hand, so many people – more experienced in life – are telling me it is better to start studying when you are young.  It’s true, though.  Your brain functions better, you can get more things done and there is higher possibility of your parents saving your ass.  On the top of that, I will go to some kind of grad school sooner or later, so why not now?

Decision, decisions, decisions…

I think too much before planning something – it almost hurts my head.  I contemplate about what would be the best choice and the most rational choice.  Yet almost always I never get an answer.  Then I always go “screw it, I’ll just do what I want, give it a go and see how it goes. If it fails, oh well.”  I know I know, you are probably thinking, ‘then why research and plan to begin with?’ But I believe there is a difference between going for something you want just because you want it, and doing so with a good background knowledge and aware of possible results.  Evidences?  I don’t know, I just feel like it.

Well, for sure I’ll start with taking courses on Microsoft office and joining Korean-style employment process preparation club.

You gotta be shi*ting me.

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I have less than a week until my last day of working.  Nothing happened, and I finished my sum-up reporting of my responsibilities.  No more requests, so I thought I would be able to acheive my peace-out.  Well, that doesn’t happen.  Only about 1.5 weeks before my leaving, HS and Yoon called me, saying Dr. Park had requested a sum-up of EC program in total.  Later on, I figured that Dr. Park’s intention was to make sure HS to get some idea of program in general, not only the report itself.  Riiight……So I did not have to ravage all that document archives.  Luckily, I made something very similar in the past, so I just recycled it with some touches.  Less hassle than I thought.

Then today, Yoon and HS asked me to write up the final report, up to the part I completed.

Are you shitting me?

If I remember correctly, I made myself clear that writing the official reports is not that hard, especially because there are plenty of references, and HS will have to do a lot of these if she is to take charge of many international stuff, and I also did all the reporting with very little help, on my own.  It’s doable.  Yoon said she understands.  HS said she will write some of the report and I agreed to answer questions and review it.

I guess someone has Alzheimer.

So I looked over the file folder, and realized EC has not sent their new reporting format yet.  Whenever they send a new format, they usually use the different categorization, including date designation.  In addition, this year’s program’s date was vastly different from that of the past.  I thought for a minute so I can get the best solution.  Well, since I have no idea of what the format would be, I will “filter” the necessary information and leave some notes.  In that way, HS can refer to my list and notes.  For other information, she can always look at the e-mails and scheduler.   In that way I was able to manage to write-up that reports when Karen – who was responsible for EC program before myself – was away for her maternity leave.  And that includes activities prepared and conducted by Karen, not me.  Therefore, I made some notes that HS should be aware when writing reports, the purpose of my note, with lists of what happened on what day in chronological order, and who attended, mostly for something that is not clearly visible on scheduler.  So when the new format arrives, she can refer to my note, along with pre-existing history of schedule and documents, and write up the report according to the format.  Easy, no?  Last time I did write-up the report to the existing format, but on the last minute EC sent a whole new format so I had to go through some major restructuring.  And that was pain in the ass.

You can’t give your answer when there is no question given.  But, you CAN have a general idea about what the question is going to be about, and you CAN work on some general idea about what is going to be answer.  That is what I was doing.

Well, all of sudden, HS talked to me almost like she is about to pick a fight: “What are you doing recently? Are you busy?” I don’t like HS but I don’t want to pick on a fight in the office.  I simply answered, “well, I am wrapping up some financial clean ups and slowly sending my leaving notes to the related people.”  HS went on, saying “but that only takes several minutes, and you are just giving me notes and lists.”

Oh, okay, now she thinks I’m the lazy ass.

I: look, EC always sends a new format.  I don’t have the format yet, and we don’t know how they will categorize it.  That is why I am giving you notes and lists, instead of full report – which is not possible to begin with.

HS: I looked at the reports, and the information is pretty same.  So why not completing your part of report?

I: (about to pull out my hair) That is what I am saying!   The information is pretty much same and that is why I am giving a simple listing and notes, so when you receive the new format you can use the listed information in whichever way you want.  Having raw information and fitting it to a certain format is easier than changing format A from format B!

Then the nosy Yoon started to sniff around again, playing the Mother Theresa.

Yoon: Um, well, just write the parts you completed, nothing more nothing less, use the old format.  You know it better, and it’s more work to translate Korean to English.

Well, if she knows that it is more work to translate, then why did she say “oh, but you speak good English, it’s easy for you?”  HS’ English is good, so I guess it should be a piece of cake to her too.  You don’t give command unless you have some good grasp on the topic you are about to command.  As of HS, something tells me that she was playing that dirty I-am-older-than-you card.  Both in States and Japan, one of the things I really could not bear was Koreans constantly playing that age card when they feel like they are in disadvantage (of course, only to other Koreans).  Who cares about age when it is about fulfilling your responsibility?  Regardless of age, if you are new to the job and dealing with someone who is more experienced in that job than you are, you don’t really have much to say (doesn’t mean the experienced one can abuse this position).

Anyway, thus I am looking at the old format.  Yes, most of the information will be same, and that is why there is nothing for me to re-write anything except changing some dates.  This is so stupid.  I texted my good friend, Annabell: they don’t let me be peace out.  They make me to do unreasonable stuff! Annabell says: That bastards want the last drip of your sweat and blood.  Ignore it and do it but don’t give your best. Basically, we were saying the same thing:

Yep, that's just what I need.

An overly talkative dumbhead who tries to push me down using she being older than I am (then behave like one, fuc*er), a bossy bit*h who micromanage everyone, sniffing around and get on everyone’s nerve probably thinking she is the most hardworking and talented manager.  Someone has Alzheimer, I tell you.  It already sounds like a shipwreck.

Stop staring at me, like it’s automatically my job.

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All names that appear on my blog posting are either shortened or changed for the sake of individual’s privacy.

A very good friend of mine, Annabell, is a TCK like myself – a Korean, she was born in Seoul, South Korea, moved to Kuwait, went British school there, lived a bit in UK and USA, came back to South Korea, then went on to USA, and then back to good ol’ Korea.  Her first job was an executive secretary at a very well-known Korean conglomerate.  For sure she experienced, heard and saw lot of stuff, and still she has loads of horror stories to be shared to this date.

One of the thing she told me about was how everyone just passed their job to her, disregarding that she already has works as much as others, because back then she was the only & the best English speaker/writer in her office (she studied English literature in USA – you can’t beat her when it comes to English).  Her colleagues really got on to her nerves, saying stuff like “well, hello, NYU graduate” right on her face, when she was just trying to get the job done.  Well, but when there was an English call from foreigner or their foreign office, everyone panicked and looked for Annabell desperately.  She said she can still remember that ear-popping high-pitched screaming from the end of hallway – “Annabell!!!!! English Call!! Your call!!” Every time she hears this, she was so tempted to give them a nice middle finger and ignore.  Of course she couldn’t.  Whatever involving English, it was automatically pushed to her, on the top of her daily, full loaded executive secretary assignments.  So in fact she was doing two parts of works.  Whenever she tries to mention this and amend the situation, the answer was always same: “but it’s easy for you/it’s nothing for you.”

Once, some manager came over and asked her to translate a contract, written in English.  Like a sane person, she replied

Annabell: Well, shouldn’t you get a professional translator out of corporate expense, especially because this is a legal contract? I mean, it’s not a happy-new-year e-mail.

Manager: Oh come on, getting translator is too much hassle and money.

Annabell: (looks at him blankly for 3 sec) alright, but before you ask me for translation, you and I are going to write an agreement saying you are asking me to do this, I’m not a professional translator, and I am not responsible for any of losses or mistakes caused by unprofessionally translated contract, signed by you and I.

Manager: What? Come on, it’s easy for you.

That’s pretty much what Annabell had to go through on daily basis, not to mention her inhumane 20 working hour per day. Basically, she was taken for granted.  Yeah, sure, in terms of English it is, but you have to remember that is not her only job.  Quoting from Annabell,  “boy, I hated it so much that I almost wanted to sucker-punch them in the face.”  If there was anything that helped her bearing 2 years was 1) thick paycheck and 2) unlike other senior executives, her boss was working as much as she did.

And not too soon after since I got an office job in South Korea, I found myself in pretty much same situation.  It was not a big deal when I was a total noob and did not have much responsibility of my own.  Then, several responsibilities were assigned to me, and pretty much everyone in my office said it would be hard for them to help me out, because it involves me so much English and the structure itself is different from other jobs.  So I was on my own mostly.  But I still got all that other works on the top of new assignments.  Then, on the top of all that, another charge was added on.  Som e of my coworkers began to blame me for making mistakes and not paying enough attention, forgetting that I saved their ass.  When I threw my white towel and asked for a break, they did not get it or thought I am making such a big deal, being a stuck up.  I even heard one saying “well, actually we can do all that English work you are doing.” Then why do you ask me to do it?  Go ahead, take it. They also said “we thought it would be easy for you, because you speak good English.  Why didn’t you ask us for help earlier?”  Well, you already said there’s not much you can do for me, and I really don’t think anyone could be a big help for me except leaving me alone and let me concentrate.

Naturally, I started to stop voluntarily greeting non-Korean office visitors.  You said you can do it, go ahead, do it.  But then, as soon as some white/black/dark-skin/high nose/blue-eye guy pops up in the office, and say something, everyone just stares at me.  Like saying “hello, there’s your guest!”  No, you said you can do it as well as I do – so why stare at me, like I’m the only person who can do it, and why get so pissed when I say ‘I’m the only one who’s doing all English stuff on the top of Korean stuff?'”  I fucking hate it whenever they do that, and obviously, sorry for the innocent guests, I can’t really be nice like I used to.

I keep thinking life would be so much easier for me in South Korea if I did not have that Mongolian look, let alone fluent Korean.

PS: HS is still spilling my beans all over, before I even mention it (reference).  I’m not gonna go on to using abbreviations on business e-mails.

So here’s why I got so philosophical.

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This question rose after I saw a quiet ugly fight over one of my LinkedIn groups’ discussion board.  Ben (all names are in alias) uploaded a recent Lonely Planet’s voting result on Top 10 Most Hated City.  Seoul made it to #3, with the following comment: It’s an appallingly repetitive sprawl of freeways and Soviet-style concrete apartment buildings, horribly polluted, with no heart or spirit to it. So oppressively bland that the populace is driven to alcoholism.  Ben commented, “I absolutely love this city, but I guess some people see it differently.”

The board was flowing in a good wind.   Then a Korean professional, “Doug” joined the discussion…and he ended the party.  I’ll just say that he got very emotional, used a ton of exclamation marks and question marks, and all of sudden jumped to blaming everything on “unqualified English teachers in South Korea.”  Of course some got very irritated and decided to strike back explain: chill out, it’s a mere opinion poll from one of the million travel media, and there’s no need to spread your anger all over the board.  Let’s keep this board civil.

Doug’s response was: even more exclamation marks, question marks, and terms like “are you out of your mind?” “don’t worry, I already sent the letter to the Lonely Planet” “you are just funny, I don’t trust you.”  Even more unbelievably, he apologized for Sarah, but not Young Hee.  Instead of apology, he sounded like he is the true patriot who loves his city and she is not and she should be embarrassed.  At that point, I was almost screaming – what kind of moron is this?  Apology to a white woman, but not to someone of Korean influence?  Just because she is Korean?  Now you call this a racist.  Throughout the board, it was so hard to just figure out what he wants – I had no other ways but to conclude that he just does not want a single negative reaction to his beloved country, thought it is embarrassing to have all this “foreigners” reading and commenting on it (despite the fact most people there are familiar with Seoul), yet another Korean on a mission.

Apparently, he is a student at University of Chicago’s MBA program and holds a manager at a German company’s Korean branch.  I have to say my opinion on U of Chicago’s MBA program and business school in general has fallen down.  After all, it’s business school, not Arts & Letters MA program – as long as you have some nice recommendations, some nice sounding career history and financing source, you’re in.  But to be honest, it makes me so sick to my stomach – I can just see him, bragging around his Chicago MBA diploma saying “I got the Chicago MBA degree, man.  I am so global and internationalized, sophisticated.”  I almost wanted to screencap and e-mail the Booth School of Business.   I see a lot of this kind of people.  Yes, it’s good that you earned a presitigious degree from US and worked hard for it.  But don’t swagger with it saying you are the most internationalized man in this little peninsular country, when you do not have a single local friend there and your little social circle was full of Koreans like you and you bash-talked about fellow Koreans who is out of your norm.

But thinking about it, there were plenty of pricks who are just not happy about the world and sending so many anger-infused articles to the school newspaper back in my college, too.