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Sugar strikes again

I got fired on Tuesday.

Not by Alan Sugar, but by the lying shower of bastards collectively known as Ginius Academy. The letter I was given by Sharon goes like this:


We had hoping [sic] that during this difficult period of affiliation we have expected you to change your attitude in work. Unfortunately, you have never cooperated or followed our policies. The last notice we have given you showed that you will be monitored and reported. we’ve got the report that you did not follow our working hours. We got the report that you ignored our warning and you had just left early the final term from June 17th to July 1st. Moreover, you did not work on July 11th for your personal reason which made other teacher to take over your class.

Last of all, we’ve got too many complaints from both students and parents since you’ve worked.

We have given you many opportunities to change your attitude and behavior.

Although we have been warning you several times, you have disregarded out warning.

Therefore the main branch informs you that we will be unable to utilize your services after August 31st.

President of Ginius Academy
Kim, Young Man
August 11 ,2009 [sic]

Ugh. This letter gets worse every time I read it – and not because of the grammatical mistakes.

Here’s what really happened. A few months ago, after Ginius took over from E-Castle Academy (which Sharon has now told me went bankrupt. Actually, she implied that ECA was someone else’s company – others have told me it was owned by her and her husband) Jason (Sharon’s brother) told us that we couldn’t leave before the end of classes at 10:10. He told us there was someone from Ginius watching us and that a first violation would be met with a warning, a second with a pay deduction and a third with dismissal.

You may remember that I was pretty pissed off about this, but I eventually came to terms with it and made arrangements to go to my taekwondo class later for one-to-one training with my master (and very nice of her it was to to this). I deliberately left early once, shortly after that meeting. Immediately after that there was an exam period for middle school students. I’m pretty sure Jason told us we could leave early during this time, because we had no classes after 7pm. One of the Korean team leaders also told us we ought to go home. So Travis, Sandy and I all did so.

I heard nothing more about the matter until Tuesday.

As to the other things, July 11th was a Saturday – and my contract says my work days are Monday to Friday. They gave us less than a week’s notice of this extra work day – after they decided to cancel classes on the preceeding Monday. I might have gone into work, but that was the weekend I went to the Mud Festival with Habiba and friends. The complaints are par for the course in the hagwon business – parents complain about anything. And, again, that letter was the first I heard about them.

Which all makes a comment like, ‘Although we have been warning you several times, you have disregarded out warning’ completely fucking retarded, not to mention downright dishonest.

Lastly, as you can see from the dates mentioned in the letter, they’ve given me 20 days notice (my contract states I should have 60 days).

I’m not the most assertive person in the world, so arguing with Sharon about this was pretty depressing. Anything I said she would just ignore or override me, or counter that that’s not the way we do things in Korea. I wrote what I think was a very diplomatic letter to the Ginius president; printed it off and gave it to one of the receptionists on Friday. Don’t think it’s got to him yet; certainly I’ve heard nothing more from Sharon.

The most likely explanations for them firing are cutting costs and office politics. They may well want to get rid of someone they don’t like in favour of another foreigner on a lower salary or who is possibly underworked at another branch. Or they may just want to get rid of the post, but I doubt that. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is a real danger for foreigners teaching English in Korea.

So now I’m looking for a new job, but also considering whether I really want a new job at this stage. But I’m definitely planning to get legal representation and take Ginius to the Labor Office for unfair dismissal.

As I said in my last post, I had already been thinking about looking for a new job to start in March. Now change has been thrust upon me – and it could turn out to be a good thing. Pain in the arse, though.

Categories: Employment
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