Chronologically, we signed to buy the apartment and then I lost quite a bit of money in the market, so I now had a major financial commitment and barely the funds to meet it. I remember my wife working through the apartment paperwork as I watched the London FTSE market futures drop a huge amount - 8.4% at one point - on my mobile phone. I was recklessly long overnight in the market on the ‘Centum apartment play’, and there promised to be an enormous progress crushing fall at the open, which there was.
So it was definitely time to find another job in Korea, and for the first time I had to truly confront one of the fundamental problems with living here - namely that while I’d always been able to use my software and web development skills in England to put food on the table, and there I was capable of doing a myriad of other things, in Korea apparently there is really only option open to me, which is teaching. This was a pity because the one conclusion I had from doing a TESOL course many years ago is that I never really wanted to teach English again, even though I got good grades. Worse, many of the jobs involved teaching children. This is not my thing, and if I thought having a child might kindle some enthusiasm for it on my part, it only made me realise that I need a break from that, not more of it.
Life is suddenly looking a lot tougher.
And then, after I decided I had to find a job, I discovered something I’d always been vaguely aware of in Korea, but the scope of which had never quite registered in my mind. I started searching in earnest for jobs on Koreabridge, and I began reading the phrase ‘North American passport holder’ rather more than I expected. I hadn’t realised that being a Canadian and speaking Canadian English was a class above being British and speaking English English, but I guess now I know.
I suppose it’s all aboot [sic] the accent, because while the job ad I saw which asked for an “american (but, if you have a very neutral accent, another nationality is possible.)” perhaps represented an individual preference rather than a corporate policy, it may well encapsulate the underlying prejudices Koreans have about anything which isn’t American English, or perhaps as I’m learning, Canadian English as the second choice.
Korea seems to get very little bang for its buck when it comes to the subject of English teaching, and perhaps part of the reason is the kind of profiling that prioritises people based on nationality and race rather than on actual English and teaching ability.
Another good one I saw recently - though sadly I can't find the link now - involved a group of male corporate executives who were looking for “an English tutor – female only”. Dear Sirs, I think what you are actually looking for, is a geisha.