The Turning Point

In an unexpected turn of events, I accepted a position at the company. Not the one I turned down obviously, but another that was later offered to me.

My decision comes as a surprise to many, including myself. It seemed I had made up my mind to eschew all for what I love, that I felt I am now at the age where I cannot put off pursuing the life I want any longer.

I went into my second interview out of curiosity more than anything else. The interview lasted an hour and a half, and during that time I had more or less changed my mind. The role as presented to me seems like the culmination of my academic interests, all those years spent reading books on behavioural economics. It is a crossover role between Project Manager and Analyst. As I understand, I will be in charge of coming up with and implementing initiatives to support learning in the company, within and outside the classroom. The exact title is TBC. I guess I’ll find that out when I go in to sign my contract.

So I’ll be starting part-time in November, working and studying for my CELTA teaching certificate at the same time. I’ll be starting full-time in January and moving to the city, specifically the Eastern Sukhumvit area. My senior manager called me to explain the onboarding process last week, and the plan is that he’ll send me a detailed plan in the middle of October and if possible I’ll be going in for lunch with the team around that time.

I’m not sure how I feel about this next step. Part of me is over the moon – I couldn’t ask for a role that better suits my interests, and it’s a massive step forward in terms of career progression salary- and ranking-wise. I had the rare opportunity to speak to a leading headhunter at the Wall Street English center where I work the other day, and he said that my new boss is a “super guy” and that the company is a “super company”. So all appears rosy on that front.

Another part of me, though, can’t help but wonder whether I’ve made the right choice. Am I walking away from the life I want, never to return? What will happen to my subtitling career? And what of my dream to live abroad? Other than that I’m also concerned about the workload. Have I taken on too much? Although the CELTA is only one full day and two half days a week, there will be a lot of homework – new material to be learnt, lesson plans to be made. Then there are two full working days a week at the company. On top of that, there’s private tutoring. Though I’ve turned down two new students, I have a handful of current students that I have to continue teaching. And then I want to keep up with subtitling work for both Netflix and iflix. What tends to happen when you turn down too many assignments is that you stop getting them, and I want to prevent that from happening at all costs.

It’s going to be a real challenge balancing everything, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve tested my limits, and the prospect of living in town – albeit Bangkok – is enticing. There will be lots to do, parks to run at, restaurants to try out. And hopefully cool people to meet.

If I try to look at the bright side, I haven’t lost anything. I’ve taken on a new thing, and inevitably I have to put less time into what I’m already doing. But it doesn’t mean I have to give everything up altogether. Although I’ll be putting fewer hours into subtitling, I’ll still be doing them, building my skills and portfolio, and if I’m lucky making a name for myself in the industry. Who knows where that might lead?

The biggest question mark now is Korea. How? Studying is still an option, but now that I’m working at a company which has a branch in Seoul a small part of me can’t help but engage in wishful thinking that I can transfer there. Yes, I do want to live the student life in Korea, but I also know that it will be difficult as a thirty-something to integrate in the young student community. And when? Now that I’ve taken on this new position at a new company, I want to stay for at least two years. Not only to have something solid in my CV, but also to give myself the time to grow and give back to the company that has so kindly given a twenty-eight year-old with limited experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Big changes are coming, and some already here. I’m half-way into my last week at Wall Street English, and my CELTA course starts in less than a week.

It’s onwards and hopefully upwards from here. Life really is unpredictable, but I hope it brings you, me and everyone we know into unpredictably exciting directions.

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