It has been even more surreal than usual in my Korean workplace this past month after I abruptly resigned (for a multitude of reasons but most of my building unhappiness with the job was related to my Western co-workers, not my Korean colleagues). It is a very civilized and friendly parting and I plan to go back to writing for the agency once I'm no longer a full-time employee here, and they'll go back to paying me for what I write.
The initial reaction to my resignation was one of disbelief, as Koreans tend not to resign from good jobs over matters of principle or inequality of workload, and was instead treated as a negotiating ploy by my bosses. It took me some time to convince them I was serious and not merely angling for more pay. Once they accepted that, my bosses and colleagues seemed stunned I wasn't leaving to go somewhere else, but because I am unhappy being here and unhappiness affects my work and life in general. I offered to stay as long as it takes the company to replace myself and another position that is open at the same time, and that has lead to a strange situation where I am being consulted on my prospective replacement. Having worked in the country and the journalism field for so long, it's a wise decision for them to have made as most of us in the expat media either know each other or at least of each other.
Happily for him, one of the successful applicants is someone who was my assistant on another publication some years back and I feel sure he will treat the agency well and they will do the same for him.
Yesterday, I and the few other crew on the Saturday duty went for lunch with the office "head honcho," as my immediate boss calls her, and the conversation strangely revolved around how many of the staff had said how much they enjoyed working with me and would miss me (not blowing my own trumpet, just a surreal conversation to have when you've resigned mainly because concerns you have consistently raised have been just as consistently ignored).
That is par for the course in the Korean workplace, however, and I usually adapt to it with equanimity. Other uncertainties of late have definitely made me more conscious of my unhappiness here and I have faith a new challenge will soon present itself. I may not make as much money as I do here but, provided I am working as part of a team I respect for their abilities and their effort, I'll be happy with that.
Until then, there are a few things I have been meaning to write . . .