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3 11 2010

http://www.thekoreaguide.com/

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Checklist before accepting a job in Korea

29 09 2010

If you have received a job offer from Korea the first thing you would do is weigh the pros n cons of leaving your existing job and come to Korea of all the other places in the world. So the question is – Is it worth coming to Korea?

And to find the answer you might use Google or get in touch with someone who has been already worked here. Or try to find a online community of Indians working here.  Everybody would go out of their way to share their experience. Some might be positive and some might rather confuse you and make you think – Is it really worth coming to Korea?

So the question still remains and you have left with no choice but to figure it out for yourself. Or in other words do a proper groundwork before coming to Korea. Korea is no doubt a beautiful place with attractive mountains, pristine beaches and 4 different seasons. So one should not miss an opportunity to come to Korea. And to make the most out of it one should do a thorough groundwork.

I am sharing with you a very comprehensive checklist created by Mr. Prashant J Soni who is currently working as a Sr Design Engineer here in Korea.

Let me explain the things here in the easiest way my Indians can understand. With an example of a cricket match (Nope! I am not kidding here).
_______________________________________
I remember the match bwn IND-WI. Carl Hooper won the toss and elected to bat. They scored 314+. While India chased down the score very easily.

At Award presentation ceremony Ravi Shastri asked him – “The pitch was batsman friendly, still u opted for batting. Don’t you feel your decision was wrong?”

Hooper replied – “No decision is Right or Wrong!! If u take a decision, stick to it. But before u take that Decision, make sure that you are done with your ground-work. That’s where we lacked”!!!!
_______________________________________
This is exactly what all people do. The most important thing we miss is ‘groundwork’!!!!

Let me tell you what all ground work I did before accepting an offer in Korea:

1) I googled for Work culture in Korea. That prepared me mentally for ‘long-working’ hours.

2) Googling again told me that ‘Seoul’ is one of the 5-costliest cities in the world and inflation is a-bit high here.

3) I mailed to all the friends in my network asking if they know anybody who ever been to Korea? I got 10-11 references.

4) Mailed all of them 10-12 questions asking about:

  • Indian Food Availability.
  • Working hours.
  • Taxation rules. And, as consultant committed falsely that tax is 0%, I made sure that I do not have to pay any tax back in India.
  • As 95% of companies provide accommodation, I asked for
  • approximate ‘Flat maintenance charges’ + ‘Water-n-Room Heating
  • expenses’ + ‘Society maintenance charges’ and ‘Internet/ TV/ phone/ mobile Connectivity charges’.
  • Cost of Transportation (to-from company and personal).
  • A rough estimate on eatables/ fruits spending.
  • Kid’s education (its extremely costly)….and some more.

5) Through one of my friend, who is International HR, got a rough salary idea. She suggested me **most important** thing… To ask my employer to provide me a ‘Sample Salary-Slip’ before signing the Contract.

Indian consultants for Korea make a fool of us by telling that Tax is 0% and your Salary will be 2-times OR 2.5-times of Indian Salary without telling us anything about high cost-of-living!

Thanks to my employer, they provided me salary slip in KRW and U$D. After comparing it with the Indian consultant’s commitments’, there was a difference of ~2000 U$D!

6) As I was not going to use food-coupons of my employers, I made sure to add KRW 5000 per day instead. Not much for him but fair enough for me.

7) Knowing about ‘Long working hours’ and ‘working on weekends’ helped me to Crosscheck the rules with employer. My employer mentioned KRW 50,000 for working on weekends (which they actually give to their regular employees).

<Important> If anything is NOT mentioned in Contract, it won’t be given
;). U can always ask your employer for a ‘Rough Draft-of-Contract’ before u sign.

8) Through ‘Sample Salary Slip’ I got to know that, after end-of-year when I will return back the ‘National Insurance Fund’ amount (may range from $1000-$1500) can be deposited into your Indian Bank account. And you need to fill a form for that in the last week, before you leave.

9) Though Employers mention in contract OR consultants commit that “every company has IP-phone… and u can make any number of calls from office desk..blah…blah…” Its you who should make sure that u GET this facility actually, through Contract.

10) My employer is very honest. However there may exist some employers who *may* create problems in ur last month’s salary. Keep a Check on that!

The Indian consultant started with and offer of 25K U$D p.a. (in-hand + accommodation + all charges).. and after final offer his words were -“this is the biggest offer any Korean company has made for your Experience-slot”.

…Not that much actually… But, I am really carefree about miscellaneous spending!

All I did was, I spent ~2-weeks in all this… Ground-Work!

Pardes ja rahe ho yaar… itna pataa karne ka to haq banta hai. Afterall, its my life… it me who is sacrificing!!!

On the contrary, when I reached here… I met 2-friends in Pyeongchon who were looking frustrated as Consultant showed them a mirage of 2-2.5 times salary. They didn’t negotiate for anything!!!!

Maintenance charges + Internet + Food + Room-Water heating charges all these they were paying from their pocket and worked for free on weekends as it wasn’t mentioned in contract! Unfortunately, they breached the contract and went back to India on -ve notes! 😦

<Final Notes>
1. It’s you who is sacrificing.
2. They ‘need’ you.

To contact Prashant J Soni you can mail him at: pj_soni@rediffmail.com
or view his profile on:  View Prashant Soni's profile on LinkedIn

So should you accept a job in Korea. Well let me summarize this with a quote from Bhautik Vaidya an Indian working in Korea –

The most positive side of employment  at South Korea is Indians are respected by Koreans than other places of world.

This is true. Indian Engineers are very much in demand here.





Finding Jobs in Korea

15 09 2010

It is extremely difficult to find a job here in Korea for engineers. One of the main reason being Koreans prefer recruiting Indians through recommendation. So mostly the Indians (including me) who are working here in Korea have been recommended by someone (ex-colleague mostly) who has been working in Korea for some time. Having said that Indian Engineers are a lot in demand these days in Korea. But make sure before you accept any offer you negotiate pretty well and accept a salary which is at par with your experience and as per industry standards.

So here are a few websites  and email ids where you can post or forward your resume:

You need to first register your resume on the Gold Card system website here:
Gold Card Korea is coming up with a Job Fair in October. You can check the details here:
Other sites:
And also these are some email ids of consultants in Korea where one can mail for jobs:
  • jackie@koreabrain.com
  • phil@brain202.co.kr
  • SHong@pneconsulting.co.kr
  • ck@halcyonsearch.com
  • 37.jinbae@gmail.om
  • kwoonlee@naver.com
  • kinsley@engineerworld.kr
  • hanssuh@hotmail.com
  • hans@manpower.co.kr
  • w@halcyonsearch.com
  • cfwong7@gmail.com

Image Comp downloaded from: Imagebazaar.com





Caribbean Bay – best way to beat the heat in Korea

9 08 2010

The best way to beat the summer heat in Korea would be to visit the Caribbean Bay – the biggest water park in Korea. Caribbean Bay is a part of the Everland Amusement Park at Yongin and is easily accessible via city buses from Gangnam, Yangjae, Sadang, Suwon and various other places.

If you love to be in water then Caribbean Bay is the place to be. The entire park has this Caribbean and Pirates theme and they have many an exciting water slides, wave pools, surfing, spa, sauna, indoor and outdoor pools and jacuzzi to keep you busy throughout the day. Plus they have many a snack and food outlet which serves yummy food.

Beach chairs, lockers, towels, life vests are available on rental. You need to purchase bay coins which can be traded for food and rental once you are inside the park. A few things to remember:

  1. The Caribbean bay is most crowded as this is this Gold Season also the ticket prices are high.
  2. Since the place is crowded the waiting time for slides would be around 60 minutes minimum.
  3. The bay coins are available for a minimum denomination of 30,000 won. The balance would be refundable at the counter once you are done for the day.
  4. The best ride to relax was the lazy river. Where you sleep on a float and let the river take its course to navigate your float across.
  5. Surf ride was best too but the wait time was too long. But that would be the case with any ride.
  6. A few places where you would be not expected to wait for long would be the sauna, spa , jacuzzi, pools, wave pools, river but it will be crowded anyways.
  7. The food and beer is easily available at various counters and is yummy.
  8. If you buy tickets on your credit card you get awesome discounts on your ticket.
  9. It takes around an hour to reach Caribbean bay by bus from Gangnam so it is better to leave early in the morning to avoid the long queues.
  10. For more details you can visit their website here and here.




How to improve your English

31 05 2010

From my last two blogs here and here it very much looked like I was blowing my own trumpet about India. But that was not my intention when I set out to create this blog. My intention being to help, I feel every visitor should get some valuable information from my blog. So here are a few pointers to help you improve your command over English language.

1. Read. As much as you can. Newspaper, Magazines, Books, Novels, Manuals, Guides, Blogs, Screenplays, Comics, Website Articles. Anything and everything which is printed or published online. Reading will help you in many ways unimaginable. Always carry some book with you so that you can read while travelling in a subway or bus and waiting for someone in a bank or cafe.

2. Movies. Watch it with English subtitles. If you find it difficult to follow the accent and language of native speakers. DVDs with English subtitles are easily available. Over a period of time you will be able to switch off the subtitles and follow the movie on your own. For downloaded movies the subtitles can be downloaded separately. There are sites available online from where you get can download subtitles in English for all the movies. You need to search for it in Google.

3. Music. Listen to songs. Search and download the lyrics of your favorite songs (same as subtitles above). And have a karaoke  sessions of your own.

4. Write. About what you feel. Maintain a diary if you can. Or write a blog. Writing is a very good exercise. If you set out to write regularly then words will come automatically to you. And if you are not sure of a particular phrase or word, then you can check it on Google for its meaning or synonym.  Use tools like Microsoft Word as it has utilities like spell check and grammar check to rectify your mistakes before you publish. And if you find it hard to think of a word while writing then use your electronic dictionary. This way you will not forget what you write and you will be less likely to make mistakes while writing.

5.  Hobby. Develop new hobby and read books or articles online to help you with the hobby as well as the language. Or join a community that interests your hobby so that you can discuss things or write articles to share you knowledge.

6. Make Pen Pals.  That will reinforce you to write. You can make pen pals with guys who share similar hobbies or like similar books and movies as you. So you will have a lot to discuss in English.

7. Sitcoms. Are more verbose as compared to movies. Sometimes movies often follow silent treatment and the dialog are less as compared to a sitcom. Also because of the plot the Sitcom can keep you glued and very much into the flow of learning English.

8.  Career Oriented Books. Many a times good books on a particular subject (Software Engineering, Instructional Design, Photography, Yoga, Cooking, Architecture, etc.) are published in English but not necessarily translated to Korean thus limiting your knowledge. So by reading your subjects in English you will be opening yourself to a vast ocean of resources.

9. Language Exchange. Something which is very common and widely accepted in Korea.

10. TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS exams. Enrolling yourself for any of this exams will make it mandatory for you to study. Make sure you study in a group and read books like Word Power Made Easy, 30 Days to Powerful Vocabulary to improve your vocabulary and grammar.

Well I am myself not a pro in English and have a serious handicap with grammar (I still do not know where to put commas) but I feel I can write or express myself better. So if you feel you are happy with my level of English Language then you can use these pointers for yourself or for your students / friends whosoever is looking at improving his skills at English. If you have problems with communicating in English but have followed this article , then my friend you are very much on your way to become fluent in English.





What blood type are you?

31 05 2010

Last weekend when I was hanging out with my office colleagues for drinks, and one of my colleague was asking me about my blood type.

She said: What is your blood type?
I said: O +ve. Why?
She said: You are very ‘friendly’.
I said: Well. Yes, I know that but what my blood type got to do with that?
She said: Your blood type says  that you are friendly.
I said: Ahh.. That is interesting. So what about other types.
She said: Guys with type B are considered as Playboys. Type AB are very practical. And Tye A are creative but shy.

So the next day I had to run this query on ‘Blood Type Personality’ to get some interesting results on Google. From what I read and understand guys with Blood Type B have a bad reputation. They are considered Playboys, Players, Stingy, Irresponsible etc. and as a word of caution, gals try to stay away from guys with blood group B.

There is also a romantic comedy movie in Korean with the title – My Boyfriend is Type B. (B형 남자친구) based on this Japanese theory of Blood Type Personality.

In Japan there are soft drinks based on blood type popular amongst girls and condoms based on blood type popular amongst guys. Click the image below to read more.

So here are the Blood Type Personalities in brief.

Blood Type A:
Positive Traits: Conservative, introverted, reserved, patient, punctual and inclined to be perfectionists.
Worst Traits: Obsessive, stubborn, self conscious and uptight.
Referred as ‘farmers’ in some descriptions, Type A’s are said to be considerate of others and loyal to a fault. They can also be secretive and reluctant to share their feelings. Apparently they don’t hold their liquor well, either.

While outwardly calm, they have such high standards (perfectionists) that they tend to be balls of nerves on the inside. Type A’s are the most artistic of the blood groups. They can be shy, are conscientious, trustworthy, and sensitive.

Blood Type B:

Best Traits: Animal-loving, creative, flexible, individualistic, optimistic and passionate.
Worst Traits: Forgetful, irresponsible and self-centered.
Referred to as ‘hunters’, Type B’s have very independent natures and tend not to be concerned about what other people think of them. Although often described as shallow and lazy, they can be quite passionate about the things they hold dear. Patience is not their strong suit either.

Type B men have acquired a very negative reputation in Korea and are not considered by many to be good husband material. Often described as ‘players’, they are perceived as being selfish and mercurial, quick to anger and not terribly reliable. That said, their bad boy image makes them very attractive to women, but not for the long term. (Type B women do not share in this bad rep, for some unexplained reason).

Goal oriented and strong minded, type B’s will start a task and continue it until completed, and completed well. Type B’s are the individualists of the blood group categories and find their own way in life.

Blood Type AB:
Best Traits: Cool, controlled, empathic, introverted and rational.
Worst Traits: Aloof, critical, indecisive and unforgiving.
Referred to as ‘humanists’, Type AB’s are said to be controlled more by their heads, than by their hearts. They are rational, good with money, but unpredictable. Although inclined to be distant, they prefer harmony and as such, work well with mediators. Some consider them two-faced, and therefore untrustworthy.

Type AB’s are the split personalities of the blood groups. They can be both outgoing and shy, confident and timid. While responsible, too much responsibility will cause a problem. They are trustworthy and like to help others.

Blood Type O:
Best Traits: Ambitious, athletic, robust and self-confident.
Worst Traits: Arrogant, insensitive, ruthless and vain.
Referred to as ‘warriors’, Type O’s are viewed as natural leaders and are often, also, natural athletes. They tend to be outgoing, expressive and passionate, but can also bore others to death with their obsessive drive for success coupled with their absolute convictions that they are winners. This certainty that they will always win explains why they aren’t afraid to take risks or gamble. They have a strong physical presence and are unlikely to ever be overlooked.

Type O’s are outgoing, and very social. They are initiators, although they don’t always finish what they start. Creative and popular, they love to be the center of attention and appear very self confident. (Thats me^^).

And here is the interesting part – compatibility chart:

  • A is most compatible with A and AB
  • B is most compatible with B and AB
  • AB is most compatible with AB, B, A and O
  • O is most compatible with O, and AB

You can read more about it over here. Source: sites like korea4expats, bellaonline, phlebotomist.