Saturday, July 26, 2008

Camouflage

First things first, because I have a backlog of photos from recent outings that I want to get up, I need to express what I have been struggling with recently.

If you had happened to catch a post I put up here about my situation recently at my work, than you would also know that I deleted it. Why? You may ask.

As you know my last week of work was the intensive one and of course was going to be a walk through hell. And yes it was a walk through hell. But the worst came on Wednesday when I became irritated with everyone and everything around me at work. I had few falling outs with one coworker and thus wrote a little complaint about it here on blog.

One of the responses I got was that I need to get use to the Korean way of relationships. When I read this it felt like an appropriate response to my post, but also that I must have not explained my situation well enough.

First off I think it is oh so important I make clear my situation at work:
  • There are 5 Korean co-teachers, all female.
  • There are 4 Foreign teachers, 1 female (me) the rest male.
  • 2 of the Foreign teachers are engaged in relationships with 2 of the Korean teachers.
  • The teachers room is small and offers no privacy.
  • I made the mistake of not going out with everyone after work during my first few weeks.
  • I am now left out of the social group. This makes me feel alone and more alienated than usual.
Let me make clear my opinion:
  • I do not blame my coworkers for my situation for I did not take enough action on my part to interact with the group.
  • I feel each and everyone of us works hard as the other, and all get in trouble from time to time by our supervisor.
  • I know it would difficult to be a part of the group now that it is too late, but I at least want to be on the same level w/ everyone so to have peace in the office.
My solution:
  • Talk more with everyone about the classes or just general opinion questions.
  • Apologize when necessary but don't overdo it.
  • Join in during after work gatherings on occasion.
  • Accept I am not in the group, but I can still be friendly.
So there you have it. Whether I need to start becoming Korean and try to figure out the Korean mind is up in the air. Actually I think this isn't necessary because it is practically, in my opinion, impossible to think as a Korean woman would think. I think as an American woman and so be it! The key lies in that I make the two compromise with each other. I understand their side and if they don't understand mine, well that is up to them anyways.

This is what it is about being a foreigner, for you encounter not only the foreign sites but the foreign way of thinking and functioning. You can grow to hate it, loathe it or love it, but no matter what it will always remain foreign.

So last night my coworkers were going out for dinner after work and I decided to come along. BK joined us as well. I didn't socialize with everyone due to the table being so long, but I think it showed my human side and also I got to see my coworkers human side as well. I could tell by their tired faces that the job is hard on them too and so I know that no matter whether we are Korean or American work is work and it will always be a duty that is difficult at times.

From now on I hope my coworkers see me, if not a part of the group, but someone willing to get along with.

4 comments:

  1. You're right. Work is Work. Those problems can happen even among all Korean group as to my personal experience. I hope you get along well. - Anonymous reader from Wisc.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think you're a good person without ever even meeting you, so patience is the only way they'll see you for who you are.

    Work is only a small facet of who you are so the fact that they are in relationships within the work place shows that they are willing to see more eventually.

    ReplyDelete
  3. hey Thanks!!
    I love getting positive reinforcement.
    I am feeling oh so better today and my workday felt better too!

    Hope my qualms don't scare you off from work in Korea :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh no! Haha! I'm coming to Korea.
    Wild horses couldn't drag me away from that dream.

    Now if only Murphy's Law wouldn't mess up my visa process.

    ReplyDelete

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