By Shannon Selis
There are two kinds of people in this world. . . before I continue I realize this is quite a general statement. I’d like to first state that I realize there are wayyyy more than two kinds of people, but for all intents and purposes run with it. There are two kinds of people in this world: those who work at a job they hate but tolerate and those who do exactly what they love. Those who tolerate their jobs tend to live a mediocre happy life. They can’t complain because they have a job, right? And who can afford to switch jobs in this day and age. Then there are the people who love what they do. They found a way to make a living doing what makes them most happy. Hopefully they don’t get sick of it, right? They can’t because they truly love their jobs. It’s rare for people to get to do what they really love.
I have worked as a server and hostess and a plethora of other restaurant positions. Being a hostess is a piece of cake. It’s customer service with a dose of Tetris. I’m awesome at figuring out floor plans and evenly distributing head counts amongst hard working servers. But the money is in serving. And every server knows they love the money but hate the job. Once you leave it you never want to go back. But it’s so hard to leave because there’s nothing nicer than that cold hard cash at the end of the night. I worked at Shula’s for 6 months. I walked people to their tables as the head hostess made the floor plans. I smiled and did what I was supposed to do. Occasionally I would offer some helpful input about how this table would be better here or there. There were three of us: one head hostess and two table walkers. The head hostess was promoted to cocktail waitress and the redheaded spawn of the Devil was anxious to become head hostess. She was quick to give orders, but slow to plan the floor under pressure. Within a month of being hired, I was head hostess. I ran the floor like a well-oiled machine. Man did that bitch hate me. But who cares? I was making my way up! Each server thought I was helping them more than others and would slip me a few extra bucks at the end of the night. I probably would have made cocktail waitress within 9 months, but I transferred to a resort in Hawaii instead… not a bad trade up.
I’m a massage therapist and I love what I do. There have been so many days that I wasn’t too pleased with what I was doing. Mostly that was due to my clientele being smelly or my employers being over demanding (you can read all about it at www.wittylmt.com). There is something so incredible to me about feeling a muscle under my hands. I find peace within myself by giving a complete stranger an hour of relaxation that they otherwise wouldn’t find. I feel empowered when a person with limited range of motion gets up and moves their arm higher than they’ve been able to in the last year or seeing someone stand up straight after an hour of deep tissue. It’s amazing. But it’s best when I can work on my own and create my own business. Unfortunately until I settle down in a cozy spot, it’s a bit difficult to get regular customers. I’m good enough at what I do that I could get a nice business running if I wanted to. But that’s not why I’m writing this article today.
I’m currently working as a Teacher of English as a foreign language. I help people improve their English speaking skills in exotic places like Thailand or Korea. Sometimes I teach younger kids and sometimes I teach older kids. Sometimes I teach adults and occasionally I put myself through hell… I mean kindergarten. I have worked one year in Thailand and am halfway through a year contract in South Korea. At the end of my contract last year, I was offered a managerial position. I knew it would be better pay and look great on a resume. But Surat Thani was NOT where I could spend a minimum of another year. HELL no. But it was nice to know that the management appreciated my efforts enough to offer me a higher position.
At the end of January, my director approached me at the copy machine ((aka – the typical ‘lets talk serious with only 2 minutes to spare’ space in Korea)). She said I was looked at by the other Korean teachers and managers as a sort of ‘chief’ of foreign teachers. She wants to promote me. Sweet. Starting in September I would get a pay raise. Huh… interesting. My contract ends in September. ‘if you want me to continue doing managerial things, we need to discuss a pay raise now,’ I said. No response. For two weeks. I was moving from the 6th floor to the 7th floor though starting in March. And then on the last day of the semester, end of February, my director approached me and said ‘Teacher, here is a secret. We are promoting you for 100,000won more a month’ Thumbs up. Done. I’m now mostly in charge of dealing with the foreign teachers for 6th and 7th floors. I am to be the walkie talkie between them and the Korean management.
Cool. I finally have a proper promotion. Maybe I will stay? Maybe not. I like to move around a bit… and that doesn’t look as good on a resume as a promotion and extra time at one particular school. If only I could find the perfect place to live with a perfect job and eventually my perfect husband with the perfect diamond ring. Hmm. Maybe one step at time.
Shannon Selis is an English teacher and massage therapist currently frequenting South Korean karaoke bars. When she’s not teaching, singing show tunes, or mastering recipes, she shares her experiences at wittylmt and Another Food Thing.