Career, travel and cocktail dreams

The future has been on my mind a lot lately.

Several of my waygook friends are on their way out of Chungju, gone from Korea and on to the next stage of their lives. It’s got me thinking about how I have absolutely no clue what comes next.

Initially I thought I would pursue career goals after a “gap-year” of teaching, but I love living in a foreign country. I’m not sure I want to give that up.

Korea is a good place to be, but I could go somewhere else.

Increasingly I feel like no matter where I go, even Salt Lake City, will require I start all over–new friends, new apartment, new job, new everything. If I have to start all over again, it may as well be in a different country, right?

When I think about jobs that I want, I focus on things related to my major like television and film production or journalism. However many of these jobs require experience. My own experience seems limited and too closely tied to my university to really count for much in the pile of resumes companies must receive. I do not have the “real world” experience it seems most employers are looking for.

In the meantime, the evidence is piling up that I am apparently unemployable. I’ve been applying for jobs since January. I have applied for over 30 positions at various companies around the US. I clearly indicate I will be available for employment in July or as early as two months from now. I’m always willing to relocate, even at my own expense. And I do my best to sale myself as an amazing rock star production assistant who is organized, flexible and capable.

So far I’ve heard from no one. I can’t get a job. Anywhere.

I even got rejected from a blogging job where I would blog for FREE! I got rejected for a non-paying job. How is that possible? Do you know how shitty that makes me feel?

That kind of success rate has me thinking I don’t want to go back to the US and join the struggling economy.

By comparison getting another teaching job seems so easy. It took just two interviews and a couple of months for me to get a teaching job in South Korea. Sure I don’t like teaching. I hope to never face another classroom again as a teacher after this contract ends. But it seems schools are hiring ESL teachers at every turn and with a year of experience in the US and in Korea almost anyone would hire me. The only trouble is I can feel the ulcer forming already when I think of a future including classrooms, students and white boards.

My dream is to freelance full-time. I’m constantly pursuing new freelance work, however it seems highly unlikely I would be able to pay my student loans and cost of living from this revenue. As I currently struggle to meet my goal of $500 a month. (Just so we’re clear my student loan payment alone is $800 a month.)

This is the point where I always come back to working in the restaurant business. The only solution I can think of is to try and get a job waiting tables in the UK, New Zealand, Australia or somewhere else. Even then, I’m not sure that’s something I want so much as it’s the only plausible next step I can think of.


There are only two things I know for sure; I’m going to keep writing and I will go home for a visit.

What would you do next? Any suggestions or advice?


About kristamaesmith

I'm a writer living with my boyfriend in Salt Lake City, Utah where I cheer for the Jazz, walk my dog, and spend too much money in local restaurants. I work in marketing for higher education and blog about food, travel, television, and whatever shiny moment catches my fancy.
This entry was posted in Life, salt lake city, South Korea, Travel, Uhh and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Career, travel and cocktail dreams

  1. I feel for you, some times it’s very hard to get your life going to the direction you want… I’d still say that with the prospects mentioned it would be better to continue teaching rather than waiting tables. At least in the old days it was quite good money: I used to teach English in Korea, too 🙂 What do they pay per hour these days?

    Besides, with experience you may land a job as a private tutor, which may be nicer than bigger classrooms. As far as I know, the salary for English teaching is still the best in Asia, particularly in Korea and Japan. I’ve also heard that they pay well in Arab countries, but the requirements are higher than in Asia. Elsewhere in the world it’s not that well paid.

    I know teaching can be tiring, even if you’re a dance teacher like I am these days. The class rooms can make you feel claustrophobic after several years. This is why I have taken time off and I’m now living & traveling in South America. You should keep on pursuing other jobs, but life is a lot nicer with a steady income and if you can make more doing one job, why make less with another…? At least as long as neither of the jobs is something you really love to do?

    Good luck and if you want to keep in touch, feel free to read about my thoughts at


    • saltcitygirl says:

      Thanks, Katia! I guess I’m just in a bit of a decision making place these days. I think my pay works out to about 10,000 won an hour, which doesn’t sound like much but works out nicely when you figure in rent and meals.

      I’m jealous of your South American travels! I hope you are having an amazing time.

  2. Rikki says:

    A lot of my friends have found having the right zip code on your resume means a lot to employers. Don’t be too worried when you have such freedom! Hell, you could move to Seattle!!

    Even the thought of another job search terrifies me.

  3. Uncle Al says:

    Life seems to have different plans than I do. I have two associate degrees in Computers and Electronics which is why I have spent most of my career in health and write poetry.

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