Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Life on the Inside: what working at a Korean University is really like. Part 3: Korean University Office Politics (Drama)

In case you missed parts 1 and 2 of the series on working at a Korean University:

Korean Universities: Classes

Korean Universities: Schedules

Today, I'll talk about "office politics" at Korean Universities.  The amount of office politics you have to deal with really depends on the office/housing/classroom situation. 

For example, at my previous uni there was a fair bit of drama because most of us lived together in the same building, had offices all in the same hallway and classrooms next to each other.  In addition, we lived in the countryside and so ended up being friends with each other and spending time together outside of work, generally.  This meant that you saw a lot of your coworkers and sometimes more than you actually wanted (for certain people).

At my current uni, we have three campuses so I literally never see some people. We share offices with a couple other people, but again, it's kind of rare to actually see a coworker in the office.  Our classrooms are spread out everywhere so it's not common to just run into people randomly.  We live in a big city so everyone has their own friend groups, which most often don't consist of coworkers.  And, there is no university provided housing and people just find their own.  I literally live on the entire opposite end of the city from some of my coworkers.  Drama is non-existent.  Like in my 2.5 years there, I've encountered literally no drama whatsoever.  I like it.  A lot. 

While not necessarily a major factor to consider when taking a job, I'd take #2 any day.

How to avoid the drama?  My top tips:

1. Don't gossip about other people!  NEVER speak badly about one of your coworkers.  Assume it will always get back to that person.

2. Make friends outside of work.  If you're having a hard time at work, vent to them and not a coworker.

3. Live away from your coworkers, if possible.  I'd take housing allowance over provided housing for sure.

4. Use the giant headphones if you have a shared office.  Give off the vibe that you're doing work and not available for idle gossip.

5. Attend all social activities and make an effort to actually get to know your coworkers, on a friendly, but not BFF level. 

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