Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Legitimate Complaint or False Entitlement?

I am looking forward to some time off. It has been a long year, but I am proud of it. Since I have improved as a person and as a role model. I was satisfied with my recent evaluation that I got back. On it I received 4’s and 5’s out of 6. Although, I did get only one 3 which is basically the baseline mark. The comment said that I have a great personality but I am a bit lacking in some skills.

Now, I will be honest here. I don’t know if what I have is a legitimate issue or if what I have is just a false sense of entitlement. Here is the story.

A few days ago, I recently checked my e-mail to find that I got one saying I must attend the training for the new employees the first week of my coming vacation time. The thing is the e-mail didn’t give me any concrete information, and didn’t address me personally. It only said in the e-mail that the I scores could use improvement on my evaluation. So I did send an e-mail and called them but they have yet to get back to me.

Now, I know I am entitled to my vacation, but I know I too have a responsibility to my job when they feel I am not up to their standard. Although, to be honest I don’t know what a low evaluation score is to them. I got average and above. Unless there is further information I am not aware of.

But my issue is with the amount of time they gave me. This is last minute. Poor management. My contract mentions nothing about having to do further training outside the months stated in it. Further stating that I would be notified a full month in advance of training dates. This is so others can rearrange their vacation and travel plans around training dates.

Now, I will be compensated that I don’t have to pay for my meals and rooms during the five day training. So I suppose this is there way of paying me for giving up my vacation days. …This is okay, I guess.

But my issue is not with having to go to further training outside the one day regular training. I am all for giving advice to new employees and working to improve. But I had made plans long before with my girlfriend. We have been looking forward to enjoying the nature and spring weather. We made these travel plans at least two whole weeks prior to this notification. If they would have given some kind of indication that they were thinking of doing this to some employees. Or even a heads up then I would have been slightly more accommodating.

So is my claim legitimate or am I just being a whiny bitch about it? The thing is I just don’t want to be a doormat. Thinking that they know what’s best or I have no say in the matter as an employee. I’m trying to be mature about it by not just blowing it off as something like I DON’T WANNA.

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Brainwashed by religion

I’m close to finishing The Portable Atheist, and I can’t help but think about my time going to catholic school. After my parents divorced, I was sent to attend it. I hated grade school and middle school, but much for different reasons than my experiences in high school and college. Although many of the same themes overlap, I will mainly just concentrate on my time from high school to college.

In high school, I didn’t have much confidence in myself or my abilities. I don’t know what it was. I just thought there was nothing good about me. There was nothing important in my existence. I blamed the Catholic sky-god for my problems, and I blamed other people. I just could not see that just maybe I could fix the things I hated. That I could be an active force in changing my life. But I was young. I didn’t know better. I was scared. I just wanted to feel important and as if I belonged.

So going through four years of high school was a stupid roller coaster of emotions. I would never wish to relive them. High school is NOT the best time of our lives. If anyone says this to you. They are a liar. I have found more growth, and freedom since I left it. But my situation is a little different since it wasn’t a public high school. Rather it was a catholic high school. The thing I hated about attending a catholic high school was the lack of rationality.

I was going through a phase. Or so some people claimed. I hated that there wasn’t any openness to question things or be outspoken. I remember one time I had asked a theology teacher openly during class, “How do we know Muhammad didn’t just rip-off the Bible?” That sure caused her to sweat. But that is the kind of person I was and rediscovering I am still today. I didn’t like being told that I was wrong for my way of thinking. Of course. I was just one student with questions and objections to the various staff, students and teachers who believed this nonsense.

At that time, I didn’t think of myself as an Atheist. I didn’t know what I was. I was just searching for answers. I wanted a reason to say, “This is why our god exists.” I felt everyone at least needed a religion. Something to believe in even if maybe I didn’t believe in Catholicism. So, I even explored many different religions. But I was lazy. I didn’t want to read doctrines or beliefs of something new. Pagan religions seemed interesting with their rituals and fancy rites. But I found the pagan gods mythological, and absurd to believe in.

I was introduced to a book called Fundamentals of Faith by Peter Kreeft. It was actually this book that made me consider the priesthood and catholic apologetics.

I found this book amazingly insightful with its essays and causes for the existence of god. But looking at it now, many of these arguments can be easily demolished. I then realized just how important it is to see from both sides of something. To weigh in the evidence. Especially on something that effects ones worldview so strongly.

I had a theology teacher that I enjoyed talking to. She was a nice lady and often would listen to what I had to say. I don’t think I could ever forget her kindness and patience. I mean, she did listen to me selfishly talk on and on about things. One day she asked me, “Do you think that maybe your reason for wanting to be a priest. Is because you are searching for your faith?” I firmly denied it at the time. I thought nothing of it afterwards. But her words are something that come back to me now. It entirely makes my story with religion make more sense. I was using Catholicism as a crutch for something I needed emotionally. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to feel important. I wanted an easy way out. I thought the priesthood would be something easy, and I could just coast along with it.

During my final year of high school, I was really dead set on being a priest. I wanted to defend the faith. How ridiculous I was. I just couldn’t see how I was going along with it. It was a facade. I didn’t want to admit it. My best friend had noticed and said so. I argued with him over it. Recently, I apologized to him for my rationality at that time. He had said to me that during that time it was hard for him to be my friend.

I didn’t want to recognize it. Faith made me feel important. It made me feel good about myself because other people were noticing. But others took advantage of me too. I was naive to this. They showed me all kinds of books, and introduced catholic retreats I could go on. I had to have brainwashed myself to believe this nonsense. I was getting a deep emotional need that I wasn’t getting any other way. I deluded myself that if I became this certain way, it would be easy for people to like me. To find a nice girlfriend. I was sacrificing my values and core beliefs for something I didn’t entirely believe at all. I was becoming a doormat.

It wasn’t until I attended college and going to theology classes did I realize I didn’t have an interest in Catholicism. I couldn’t see eye to eye with the other students in my major. I was feeling like an outsider. I found myself arguing with the professors about their claims rather than agreeing with them. I didn’t want to be in this major anymore. But, I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what to do.

But thanks to a friend who knew me better than even I did, recommended I try taking some Japanese classes at her college over the summer. It was then that I took my life in my own hands. I changed my major and found a different college. Today I look back on that experience of changing my major as the first step of my change as a person. I still am shocked about it because I was so used to other people doing things for me. Suggesting things I should do and believe in. But that one time, I took change into my own hands. It wouldn’t be until many years later would I realize the strength of change and being active. But discarding religion entirely was a step in the right direction.

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Transition From Gray

Today I experienced my first middle school graduation in Japan. Just for a moment during the long speeches of congratulations, I thought of my own high school days.

I know people look back and say it was the best time of their lives. But I hated it to the very end. Not one person did I connect with at that time. I was too busy wanting something different. I longed for a life that I couldn’t have. During middle school, my life was muddled with anger and confusion. Going into high school only allowed those feelings to grow. I was an awkward child. I didn’t know how to tolerate or deal with other people my own age. So, I ran away from any forms of communication because I was afraid of being hurt. I hated others deeply but it was only a reflection of the hatred I had for myself. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I couldn’t see this problem in others and I hated them for it.

While others my age grew and explored, I stayed as I was. My growth halted from my parents’ divorce no less than five years ago when I entered as a freshman. I rarely went to school during my first year because I got anxious from it. I had low self esteem and I couldn’t make any friends. I was suffocating so I retreated into a world of video games and anime. It’s time to face that fact. For 8 years I had been using anime and video games as an escape. I longed for a better life. I wanted peace and stability. I wanted to grow and gain knowledge. I wanted to be recognized and appreciated. I wanted to be liked by others and feel loved.

I felt uncertain. I wanted these things but I didn’t know how to find them. I didn’t know who to turn to for answers. I think I couldn’t even put to words those desires. The only things that were reoccurring in my life were ones of failure, anger and depression. I felt the things I wanted could only be obtained from the outside. I looked towards others for sympathy. It was how I found worth. I caused discord and drama online. It was how I felt important and got noticed by others. Dropping those immature habits was a great step in my development.

I was an idiot. I wish I could just go back and tell him all the things he would need to do to get his life together. Read books. Study and learn new things. Exercise a little bit each day… If only I could tell him. But it wouldn’t matter. I doubt I would have even listened to myself. I was heavily undisciplined despite I thought I was more mature than my peers. It was fake.

I desperately wanted to die. I didn’t have much to live for. I had no goals. No desires. No aspirations for the future. But at this age, I don’t want to die. I want to cling to the life that I have. I want to do what I can with it. I wonder why? Why didn’t I have these common human desires? It took me 8 years to grasp onto myself. “Aha! This is who I really am. This is what I’ve been striving to become all this time!”

Today, I cast my old self into the deep blue sky of spring. I have graduated from the grays of transition into adulthood.

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Don’t work for the Wonderland chain in Korea

It’s nearly been two years since I was fired from a Wonderland chain in Korea. Despite this I continue to look on the Internet hoping to find other people’s complaints and problems. It’s been like a hobby. I should just move on from it. It’s hard because it was my first real job. It also had a tremendous negative effect. But to let the healing process begin, it’s time I shared my own experiences with the chain.

It was fall 2010 when I was hired. Of course I too my doubts about Wonderland. I may have been more wide eyed and naive back then but I wasn’t stupid. I checked the Internet and read the complaints. But I trusted my recruiter because I knew someone who got a job through them as well. They were enjoying their time in Korea. So I believed my recruiter when he said, “They’re not all the same.” and “People are more likely to report their negative experiences than their good ones on the Internet.” Maybe I’m being lenient when I say I don’t blame my recruiter. He has a respectable business that strives to find a good placement in Korea for potential ESL teachers. As I would later see my boss was very two-faced. It is possible he was just as fooled.

Two years ago I didn’t think working in Korea would be a horrible experience. I thought my experience wouldn’t be like those I had read about. But it sadly did. I hated working there so much by March and April. I called home every chance I got after a while. But it wasn’t bad at first. It wasn’t until around the fourth month mark for things to turn sour. Sure I could focus on the normal complaints you read everywhere. Long working hours without breaks or holidays, the wacky curriculum, and having to serve the children lunch to name a few. Maybe I will write about that in the future. But I want to focus in on my boss who made the experience a living hell. If not for her, I believe it could have been a better experience. I want to hold onto this belief.

This woman remains the worst boss I have ever had to work under. She was clearly not fit for this job. But she had the job because the manager knew no English and she was very good at it. She was such a bitch on some days. After the holidays and New Years, she started getting on my case about everything I did. I don’t know why because I am someone that likes to do my job correctly. I try to follow the policies and rules of my job. The problem was she was a control freak, and loved to micromanage everything. Things had to reach her standard of perfection. If it didn’t then it wasn’t good enough in her eyes. This caused tremendous stress because I was worried about not meeting her expectations. I’m sure my coworkers felt the same way. But there wasn’t any cohesion between us. We all did our own thing keeping our feelings to ourselves.

For being my supervisor, she was extremely unhelpful too. She would explode about the dumbest things. And give mixed signals about what should be done. One time when I was leaving work, I asked a question about the event that would happen the following day. We were going to be divided into two teams for the sports day. We all had to wear our team’s color. I wanted to just double check what color I was. But she exploded in front of all my coworkers. “I already told you!” She sighed. “You are on the white team!” She got upset over such a little question. In the end it didn’t even matter because all the teachers were told to put on animal costumes that day.

On another occasion during recess, she got angry because I wasn’t in class and on my cell phone. Even though it was recess period. There was another time at the start of the second semester where we were distributing out the new textbooks. Having learned not to ask questions, I just distributed them out accordingly. I figured if the number of books matched the number of students for that class then they must go to that class, right? Wrong. Apparently I got the two classes mixed up and my boss was angry about it. Why did they order more books than the amount of students? That made no sense.

There were also many things I was criticized for. But was never informed how I should handle the situation. Discipline was a big issue. My boss said it was entirely my problem and I had to handle it alone. When I did try to handle the situation myself, I was criticized for the methods I used. I didn’t understand what she was looking for. I was not a native teacher, and I didn’t know any Korean. There was no way I could discipline the students verbally. I was new to ESL teaching and given no assistance on how to improve. It left me feeling helpless. It only added to the stress each day. Many nights I would have nightmares where I imagined the kids running around my apartment. Making noise and I had to attend to them. I was burned out by that point.

When I was finally fired without notice, my boss actually expected I would continue working. I declined saying that I wanted to talk to the manager. When I went in that same day to discuss being fired, my boss said to me, “We need teachers who know what they are doing.” This was coming from the same woman who had said my first day there, “We were actually a little worried. From your photos you didn’t look very photogenic, but seeing you here I’m relieved.”

I was hired for my looks and not my credentials. To hell with her statement about not doing what I was never informed about. I received zero training or outline what should have been done in those kinds of situations. I hated my time working in Korea because of this woman. She made the entire work place a negative place to be. She was just as nasty to the children as well. From what I last heard she is no longer working there because of health problems. I breath a sigh of relief. I wonder how things are doing now? I don’t even if the place is still open today. They haven’t updated their personal blog since 2012, but from those photos it looks like it might have turned into a better place.

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