I wrote about how I got my job working at Digital eMation and that was followed by a lot of good questions and things that I realized I should share with people for clarity purposes. One thing I wanted to mention; I was the first foreigner that worked for Digital eMation directly. There were Canadian supervisors, but they worked directly for Fox. So I was the first international minion, as I used to say!
Was it a culture shock?
I was very appreciative to have gotten my start teaching because that's where I learned a lot about Korean culture. That first year was when I came up with my theory that helped me survive Korea.
"If it doesn't make sense, it makes sense in Korea." - Deborah Anderson's consciousness
I'm also very observant so that helped me in explaining how things work, what to let go and what to bring up. I remember once, I emailed the vice president because when we were eating lunch or when we were congregated together, there would be times where I heard my name over and over again, but they weren't talking to me. One thing a person in a foreign country knows is that, even if you don't know the language and what people are saying, you know what your name sounds like. So I messaged her just to tell her that I felt uncomfortable constantly hearing my name when they weren't talking to me. What they were saying could have been innocent, but since I didn't know what it was, it was awkward. It stopped after that.
I survived a lot of differences by justifying the heck out of what they were doing. Sometimes it was less stressful to find out the reason or make up a reason than dwelling on any particular issue.
Check out my follow-up post after reading this one: More About Working at an Animation Company in South Korea
From 2010 to 2011, I was a 3D Artist at Digital eMation, an animation company in Seoul, South Korea. From the time, I started, people have wondered how I got the job; what job board or website did you use? Well, I definitely took the road less traveled.
When I came to South Korea, I came as a native English teacher and worked in Gwangju (Jeollanamdo) which is the sixth largest city in Korea. It was coming up on the time where you decide if you're going to renew your teaching contract. Being a teacher in Korea is kind of like being in a dream world. You have four classes a day and weekends off. With the cost of living, you can save half of your income and still eating out every day. It's easy to forget your actual dreams when your life is relatively easy and money is aplenty. Considering all of this, I was seriously thinking about doing a second year of teaching.
I went to visit a friend and while talking to him about it, he reminded me, "Don't you have a degree in animation?" And I responded, "Oh yeah!" It was kind of a wake up call. I was almost sucked into the black hole of the Korea dreamland. I had to remember and realize that no matter what industry you're in, the longer you stay away, the harder it will be to get your big break. And you ultimately get further behind your peers that are "doing it". At that moment, I decided that I wasn't going to renew my contract and I was moving back to America.
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