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Monday, May 11, 2009

Rain is falling down/ But will the sun come out again?

I'm feeling so contemplative and reflective (ah, I love a good -ive word) today. Maybe it's the rain, which hasn't stopped pouring down since I woke up this morning. So much for my plan to get up early and work out before teaching today. Instead, I rolled over to turn off the alarm and went back to sleep.

Mostly what I think about is work. Not the work I'm doing now but what's next. The majority of my friends back in America have jobs but most aren't working in their degree fields. People I graduated with are working at the GAP, bar-tending, providing after-school tutoring and waiting tables. Sure there are some fellow '08 grads working an actual career but that number is much smaller than the opposite.

Which led me to consider this article from The Wall Street Journal, written by a fellow Philip Merrill Class of '08 grad (someone who actually found a job in our chosen profession). Sara writes about the struggles our graduating class -- as well as the Class of '09 -- face as we enter the workforce.

Gone are the days when a degree from a good college could land you a sweet job. Now, we're lucky to have any sort of income to pay the bills.

All of which makes me more glad than ever that I took this teaching position. I never wanted to be a teacher; I still don't want to be a teacher. But considering what my other options might be, Korea is the best possible place for me right now. I'm earning a steady income and saving a good percentage of it, getting the opportunity to travel and learn about new cultures, and even enjoying a job that may not be directly linked to my future career, but at least looks better on a résumé than making milkshakes at the local diner.

My nerves are already on edge at the prospect of finding a temporary job when I return to the States in October. Ideally, I'd find something for four months to keep me afloat before taking off to my next foreign locale. But in the current economic climate, this is seeming more and more unlikely.

A natural-born worrier, I question this desire to continue traveling. I crave stability -- nothing appeals to me more than a Pottery Barn-furnished, light-and-airy apartment complete with fireplace, balcony and rooftop garden in the heart of Eastern Market -- but at the same time, it seems too soon to settle down.

I'm 23. There's an entire life ahead filled with sitting at a desk and pushing papers. What's another year or two of exploring the world? When I talk to my friends here in Seoul, it feels like I've hardly been anywhere and touched just a small corner of Earth. There's so much to see and I only have another 60 or so years to do it.


  1. Yes, there is no rush. U will get the whole pottery barn existance though. Trust me, travel is much more fun. I lead a structured life more or less at home, replete with stuff from Banana republic and a few pieces of furniture from Elte, but there is nothing compared to the freedom of travel. u are so young, enjoy ur time before u decide to settle down once and for all.

  2. I am feeling exactly the same way when it comes to jobs, an anxiety that started this morning when my favorite editor/mentor, who basically ran the show at The Sun, left for PR. Now I'm wondering what the future holds for me and what I'm doing teaching in El Salvador when I, too, have no desire to teach when I get back...but it's still better than what some of my friends are doing back home.

    Loved Sara's article and that she lead with Friedson.

  3. traveling is always the prefered option.