7 Things No One Tells You About Working Full Time

Hi friends!

As you know, I am currently teaching the world’s cutest kindergarteners, and it’s great. So many funny moments happen every day and I feel really lucky to have my job, and the perks that come with living in Korea as an expat. I feel really lucky in general. But… sometimes, the whole full time thing gets a bit much. I don’t know if anybody is made to thrive in a full time setting (certainly not in an open-plan office, yuck) but I do know that it kills me a little bit every day. And it hurts!

So in honour of all this pain and suffering I thought I would bring you a few truths about working fulltime that no one really tells you. Ever. Enjoy!

1. Your lunch break becomes sacred.

Before I ever worked full time (which was the whole rest of my life), I was interested in food, sure, but never clung to my breaktimes the way I do now. Seriously, those little morsels of downtime in the workplace are sacred. Of course, I work in a Korean kindergarten, so there is no real down time per se, but there is time when I am able to leave that tinny, terribly acoustic-ed building and sit myself down in the nearest cafe/enclosed area serving food. If I don’t have these breaks, I will possibly die. If I have to talk to someone on my break, I will, also, die.

2. Your interest in your appearance at work decreases as time goes on...

Or is that just me? I know for sure that when I started work at my hagwon, I was interested in maintaining a professional appearance that one would expect of a teacher. I was quickly wisened up to the fact that Korean teachers are less about dressing “professional” and more about dressing “perfectly”. So, last year I would wear dresses and bows and it was fun, etc etc. But these days, or at least recently in my current crazy state, I just don’t have the time/effort/wherewithal to rustle up an outfit containing more than 4 separate pieces. It’s just not gonna happen. If I have to add tights into the mix? You’re joking, mate!

My preferred method is in fact rolling out of bed, into the bathroom, onto a chair to eat breakfast (how does that even work? Wouldn’t you like to know!), then over to my tiny wardrobe and, eventually, out the door. All rolling. It’s a nice routine.

3. You spend your weekends recovering from the week that was.

I know recently I have been a bit poorly, but my job is very tiring and requires a 2-day period of recovery. Conveniently, I am given but 2 days each week to myself, and this is what I spend it on. You will often find me sitting on my couch in my pyjamas, drinking a caffeinated beverage, watching Youtube videos or reading a psychology book, or trying in vain to cultivate my poorly plant collection. It’s pretty riveting stuff. Except you won’t find me because I never leave the house (it’s my weekend “thing”).

4. Doing anything after work is practically impossible.

It always starts out well, and then it turns sour real quick. I don’t know about you, but after a full day of demanding, fun, ridiculous work, I don’t really wanna do anything in the evening. Granted, I have been making some concessions and dragging my butt to pilates class a few times a week, but that has ended in week-long recoveries and now visits to the studio are few and far between. In general, even if it’s not what I end up doing, I just want to stay home and relaaaax.

5. You put on weight. 

This is something that I have found consistently through my various incarnations in the working world. If I am at the workplace from 9-6 (or whatever it is), or especially if I am commuting (thank goodness there is none of that now), it is a pretty sure bet that I will put on weight. It just happens so easily! How exactly does this happen? Generally if I am working every day, I feel “entitled” to indulge in a snack or three. This includes, but is not limited to: iced cafe mochas (although I am now milk-free!), muesli bars, green tea iced lattes, McDonald’s, pizza… you get the gist. Please note that these aren’t consumed at the same time – well, not always, anyway.

6. You get sick a lot.

This might just be a “shout-out” to anyone who works in a school/kindergarten/hagwon, but ever since starting full time I have been getting sick at a rather increased rate. Of course, if you work around kids, you become aware that they are, in fact, snot factories with no real idea of personal hygiene. That’s fine (well, not really), but it does take its toll on you. Namely by passing these viruses onto your poor, unsuspecting, overworked immune system. Kids, hey?!

7. Basically, you have no time for yourself.

This is my main gripe with the whole full time “thang” and something I have struggled with for the past 18 months. As a self-confessed introvert, being surrounded by screaming children all day isn’t always the easiest thing to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, when I arrive at work early and then get accosted by excitable children who are really happy to see me – it ain’t the worst thing in the world. In fact, they are ridiculously cute and I really am trying to appreciate it all before it’s gone. In four and a bit months, I know I am gonna be reeeally sad not to see those munchkins every day.

However, sometimes I just need a liiiittle bit of time, and in the life of a hagwon you don’t really get that. It’s nothing about the kids, it’s the whole system and that’s just how it is when you work full time. I’ve really appreciated my time here, and everything that it has afforded me (*cough* my amazing Korean life *cough*)… but I am really excited for the next chapter in March. Details soon!

With all that being said, the kids also give me notes like this:

Turning my heart to mush <3

Turning my heart to mush <3

… which makes it all worth it and everything okay. Bless their tiny hearts!

And that’s it for today. I hope this wasn’t too whingy because I do appreciate all of the good to have come for working a full time job: money, security, socialising, free lunch (not necessarily in that order). I am so glad I’ve done it, but there are definitely some things that “society” doesn’t let on when it comes to full time work. Either way, I hope you enjoyed it and if you can relate, I’d love to hear about your FT experience in the comments!

Until next time,

Steph x

[VIDEO] Throwback to Summer – My July Favourites!

Hi friends!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking with this one: seriously Steph, July favourites? Well, yes. It just so happens that I have a whole bunch of videos tucked away on my harddrive that have never seen the light of day… until now. I wasn’t going to bother uploading it, but I figured that it contained some products I really enjoyed – plus I talked about my Thailand holiday (again) which always makes me happy! Soooo, I thought I would throw it back in the name of summer.

I really need to start getting more punctual with these monthly favourites, so rest assured that I have been taking notes for October and this video should be on time! But for now, let’s go back to when my hair wasn’t dyed black (oh, did I mention that happened?) and think about summer… and July… and favourites!

Until next time,

Steph x

My Minimalist Dream

Hi friends!

This may come as a surprise to you (or it may not) that I am in the middle of a complete lifestyle change. It has become my life goal to clear the clutter from my life (and house) and to downsize. I never thought I would live like this – and I certainly never thought I would like it – but here we are.

I find that the amount of physical clutter I have lying around directly corresponds to the amount of mental clutter filling up space in my mind.It’s just how it goes with me (and most people?). Getting in on the whole minimalist thing (or trying to, at least) has also changed the way I see things. And I mean things. Like, actual things. As in, I don’t really crave that much anymore, because when I look at something in a shop, I think about having to store that at home, and that stresses me out and I just don’t want to own it. I see it for what it is: a burden and a responsibility.

I don’t mean that in a bad way – since when is responsibility bad? However, I do think that owning things takes more of a toll on us then we realise. I am the first to admit that I am the worst perpetrator of this and it is something I am literally working on every day. It’s hard going from a hoarder to a… I don’t even know what I am anymore, but I sure am changing. Slowly, but it’s happening (I think).

Feel the zen!

Feel the zen!

So, what spurred all this on? Well, Gavin is obviously a big influence on my life and he also happens to be Mr Minmalist. Like, the sort of person that only takes a backpack for a 10-day holiday. I’m not quite there yet, but I am increasingly understanding that carrying less stuff – and owning less stuff – is an easier, lighter way to be.

I think of it like excess weight: there are all sorts of ramifications that we don’t necessarily see straightaway. If you are carrying a few extra pounds (and who isn’t?), it doesn’t just affect you aesthetically. There are all sorts of things going on under the surface (skin) that we can’t see, but they are definitely there. I feel the same about clutter: it’s not just about having too much stuff. It’s also about all the lost time, extra stress and general mess that slow us down mentally and physically.

If this is coming across all preachy, please know that I am still struggling with this and fighting the good fight every day to have less stuff in general. It’s really hard making a change like this! So I’m really trying to motivate myself, too. And honestly, I know what it’s like to have too much because my bedroom back home in Australia is full to the brim with old dresses and unread books and I cannot wait to get back there and clean it all out in December. I am hanging out for that! In the meantime, I’m trying to get a handle on my life in Korea, and yeah, it can be difficult. A few tips that I have found helpful for anyone interested in (or trying) decluttering:

  1. Do it one thing at a time. This may sound obvious (and it is) but I try not to focus on how much stuff I have to get through, and instead keep my eyes on how much I have finished. This is why I am now obsessed with empties and throwing things out. It feels so good and lets you know you’ve made progress.
  2. Stop shopping! This is another big change I’ve made and I’m still working on. The less stuff you bring into your house (or your space, whatever you may have), the less you need to look after, clean, tidy and find space for.
  3. Take your own shopping bags. This is a big one for me because in Korea, they are hardcore about their recycling and you can’t just useany old bag for trash. Having extra bags lying around isn’t helpful, because there are assigned bins for every type of material (glass, paper, plastic, etc) and you just need to empty your stuff into them. There is a bin for plastic bags, but I feel like it’s wasteful to just use one once and then recycle it. I try to get as many uses out of things as possible, because it takes a lot of energy to make anything and, you know, Earth.
  4. Keep unfinished things readily available. By this I mean, if you are trying to finish something in particular, keep it in sight so that you use a little bit every day. Again, slow and steady progress is often the best way, and if you keep using a little bit every day, eventually the whole thing is finished. To me this is moisturisers and cleansers, but it could be notebooks, pens, food, candles, whatever. Keep close and use it up, goshdarnit!

So what is my minimalist dream? Maybe a day where I don’t open my closet and feel a slight dread at the thought of tidying up the mess before me. That would be nice! No matter how much I seem to clean and tidy, the fact of the matter is that I just have too much stuff. Even after working away to finish up all of my product (not quite there yet…), it still sometimes seems like I’ve gotta climb Mt Everest and I’m not even wearing pants. Or something.

How about you? What are your thoughts on minimalism and decluttering? I could use some inspiration/support! ^^

Until next time,

Steph x