Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Worst Case Scenario

"What's the worst that could happen?"  That's the question you ask yourself each and every time you stand at a juncture, deciding whether or not to take a risk.

Ian and I were no exception when we were looking at jobs in Korea.  We were fully aware (or, at least, as aware as we could have been) of the potential problems and deceptions of taking work as a foreigner in Korea.  But, we came anyway.  With that in mind, we are trying to move forward (up and out) during this time of crisis.

This morning we arrived for our scheduled meeting at Goam.  Only Montana was here.  We talked to him casually for a few minutes and then he instructed us to wait in his office while he sent a fax.  A few minutes later he came in and told us that apparently Julia wasn't going to come.  Then, he bluntly but professionally told us that, "The company has decided to let you go."  Ian and I didn't react.  We just stared at him, so Montana repeated himself, said he was sorry, but "that's business."  We walked out of his office and he gave us our official letters (which, still unsigned and undated by anyone are not legal):


Casey Whitlatch

We regret to inform you that your employment with Yoon's English School in Jecheon is terminated effective in four(4) weeks from receipt of this letter for the following reasons:

  1. Abiding complaints from students and their parents as well as principals for the last 8 months
  2. Caused serious financial damage to school management as well as lowering school's reputation by losing students
  3. Poor class preparation
  4. Using inappropriate words and behavior in the class
  5. Not using textbook with felicity
  6. Assignment is not checked up properly
  7. Teaching method is not effectively developed as expected
  8. School management can't find any possibility any of the above situation would be corrected
Please vacate the premises with your personal possessions within four(4) weeks.  We will forward your salary to date in due course or pay at your leave only if both you and Yoon's English School agree.
Please contact the management if you need explanation for these items and the school management also will arrange with you for the return and maintenance of any company property including housing.  If school management finds any maintenance issue including cleanliness, the cost will be deducted from your last payroll.

Yoon's English School
56-1 Haso-dong
Jecheon-si, Choongbuk-do, Korea

The good news is we have the day off tomorrow.  We'll be heading to the labor offices in Chunju.  Stay tuned for a post responding to our outlined deficiencies.


  1. 1) I am so sorry.
    2) Julia is a fucking coward.
    3) Glad to see you are organized and figuring out what to do next.
    4) Who uses the word felicity ever?

  2. You both are handling this so very well, good job in putting all your ducks in a row. You may hit bumps in the road but don't give up. Do what is best for you.
    I can't believe there is no date or signatures on those letters, and how is it possible for you both to have the same reasons for being let go? You are not one person. Keep us posted. Hang in there

  3. It's interesting to read the reasons for your termination...the Asian population is a very mixed bag, I have been around chinese, korean, fillipino and japanese.....In many cases they seem to be like children just learning the ropes and ways of integrating with western cultures, whom overall are way more educated "world wise".....The simple folk who live close to the land in any culture are the "pearls" and therein one finds the true beauty of individual cultures, simple sweet and real.I think because of a strong "herd like" mentality, survival of the fittest, greed and power, it is difficult for a lot of Asian's to present an agenda, which would seem logical to the average westerner. I sometimes liken it to a child being overwhelmed with Xmas presents, who opens them all at once and throws everything aside except for the biggest sparkliest one and is transfixed by it's "glitter", in the case of many Asians simply money, a way out of poverty it would seem...What is lacking is the integration of a gracious mindset and a genuine desire to change and grow and learn,, It is forgivable in most cases because it truly does come from a level of ignorance, and simply just having enough money to survive, is the only obvious level of consciousness working...bare bones survival In many cases it is inherent to be sneaky and sly in these cultures, simply again because it is an excepted mode of being born out of fear and lack. Most Asian countries have either very wealthy or very poor and not too much in between...and when I say poor, I mean REALLY poor, an American soup kitchen would look like 5 star dining to them......So I guess what I am trying to say is not to expect the same code of ethics there as we have here it simply IS different and no matter the show being put on for outsiders, basic survival of the fittest is live and well and of little consequence the means to an end. I hope that makes sense....I just want you Casey and Ian to leave with your heads held high KNOWING that you have done your best and even before you arrived you would be dealing with a "hung" jury mindset, that literally doesn't understand some really basic principles and are simply "playing"at it..What did Jesus say " Forgive them for they know not what they do"...just don't take this experience PERSONALLY would be my advice and add it to your book of experience...ok, I'm done!..time for bed...hugs and love to you bothxoxoxox

  4. Thank you very much for the service to me of sharing your experience, as painful as I am sure it is. Know that I am a first timer and the waves of information take more than a little sorting. Further, the potholes on this road are not all marked with arrows and signs. Your post was a welcome warning, coming as it did, on the heels of a recent e-mail from the JECHEON English School wanting to know if I was interested in a placement with them.

    Mmmmmmm...... let me think.......

    Best Wishes,