Thursday, June 28, 2007

Coffee and Korean

A superficial observation on day 1 of new job:

Awh man I’m tired. I need some coffee. I see a coffee pot, but no coffee. Don’t tell me they don’t have coffee in this office? Is this coffee pot some sort of relic from times past when previous generations that worked here drank coffee? Don’t tell me I’m going to have to spend money on my own coffee.

Boss walks in.

Boss: Where’s the coffee?

2 minutes later. Co-worker comes running in, with packages of Starbucks coffee.

Ah, all is right with the world. Maybe this new job won’t turn out too bad.

A more thoughtful observation after 3 days of new job:

I learn by osmosis, meaning I learn by unconsciously soaking up what’s happening around me. I watch and listen to what the co-workers and bosses do, learn the company culture, and eventually learn the job.

This is kind of hard to do when most of your co-workers are Korean and when they’re not talking with me or the other white guy in the office, speak Korean almost exclusively. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve changed careers. How am I supposed to absorb this job if I can’t understand what’s being said?

The solution-I must learn Korean.* Not only to absorb the job, but also so that I can know when they are talking smack about me. **

*I stole this idea from a friend who is learning Japanese for her job.

**I also want to be able to talk smack about my friends in a different language.*

*Wooh, a footnote in a footnote. Did I just blow your mind?

4 comments:

mm said...

are you working in annandale? if so, you may as well be working in seoul.

mm said...

also, I tagged you in my latest post. Meme time!

Kimchi Eatin' Honky said...

If they use the word "yangnom" they are probably talking smack about you.

Across The River said...

mm: Nope, not Annandale. Also, I don't really do the meme thing, but thanks for thinking of me.

kimchi: I'll take your word for it. Is that word white guy specific, or it something that I could use on all my friends, no matter their ethnicity?