Banner design by Helena, portrait by Eva


Friday, February 09, 2007

Workaholic Koreans- The stresses of work as addictive.

Suwon, South Korea

I bet he doesn't smell the fruit, see the colors, as he passes. His mind is zoomed into the cell phone attached to his ear. What's he thinking about? School, work? Maybe he got a job at Samsung and anticipates a 6 day workweek.

The Korea Times recently published an article on workaholics. Many Koreans work 12 hour days and think about business when they go home at night.

Koreans are forced to be disciplined. I discuss the gruelling days of a typical student here. The educational system is competitive and every parent wants their child to enter a prestigious college like Seoul National University.

I asked teenagers how to accomplish the goals I set for my year abroad. "Should I make a list and check it off?" They just stared at me like I was a fool:

For them, slacking off isn't an option- never has been.

Academic and professional advancement is a commendable goal. My concern is that too many students are unable to relax and do nothing.

Their winter break is the equivalent of a Western summer vacation. What did their parents do to help them celebrate? Take them to Everland? Buy them a football to toss around in the evenings? No. They signed them up for more private classes, of course!

Even with the workload, I heard a lot of whining. "We're bored teacher. We don't know what to do with ourselves." My students killed time with computer games, feeling a major void.


Ernesto said...

nice and terrific blog. interesting reading about your work.

greetings from veracruz, mx.

Eva Karrin McKinnon said...

Hey, thanks!!