How to Get Overtime Work at a Korean University

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How to Get OT work in a Korean University

Okay, so there’s some lucrative overtime opportunities going around your university, and you’ve been passed over. What gives, right?

Find out some of the most common reasons why you didn’t get chosen for the special opportunity to make a ton of money. And don’t make the same mistakes again, okay?

Why Didn’t I get Picked???

At my Korean university, there are a variety of programs that the foreigners teach in for extra money. Some of them are volunteer and will accept just about anybody, while others are an ask a certain few people thing and you’ll get a phone call or email of some kind.

Some of my coworkers spend a lot of time and effort worrying and wondering about why there weren’t picked for a certain thing. To me, it’s just futile because what matters to a Westerner doesn’t necessarily matter to a Korean. Here are a few examples.

(don’t have a uni job in Korea, but want one? How to Get a University Job in South Korea: The English Teaching Job of Your Dreams)

And I know that it hurts you in the pocketbook because you can double your salary by doing OT. Or even triple in some cases if you’re doing a camp or something.


Westerners have a minimum standard of appropriate dress that they would wear in a professional environment and as long as you meet that minimum standard, you’re in the clear.

However, appearance is much more important in Korea and the best dressed=the best teacher in many cases. And of course, every Korean has an opinion about what skin or eye or hair color the “best” teacher has as well as how old they are.

So, dress for success at all times. Yes, even if you boss works at the other campus, they will hear about your jeans or cargo shorts.

And of course, any time you actually will see your boss like at a dinner, or work meeting, put on your best suit and look the part of professional teacher.


A Westerner would think that the person with the best qualification to teach a certain class should get that job. However, Koreans seem to consider a wider array of factors such as if they know you and have a personal relationship already, your reputation among the students, if you speak slowly and they can understand you, etc.

In general, it won’t really matter to the people you work for what kind of and what level of degree that you have when they consider you for overtime work at a university.

So don’t wave that stick around in front of you like people owe you that OT opportunity just because you have an MA in TESOL and your co-worker has an MA in Sociology. It just doesn’t matter in most cases except for something like teacher training classes.

Positive Attitude

Korea is a top-down kind of society whereas in the Western world we like to be all warm and fuzzy and pretend that organizations can be run by consensus. So any appearance of being a complainer, demanding extra things, or just being plain difficult to work with will lead to being taken off the list of people they ask to do the extra things.

The person in charge is the person in charge in Korea and they don’t like to be approached by you, thinking you are their equal whereas in the Western world, having a little heart to heart with your boss about an issue at work might be kind of acceptable and/or encouraged.

The only acceptable answer to a request from your boss is, “Sure, no problem.” Then smile and go do it.

The Take-Away

So realize these things and try to stay in the clear by dressing well, realizing there is more to you as a teacher than your degree and ALWAYS having a positive attitude when around the university admin (and coworkers too…since it will usually get around who likes their job and who doesn’t). Don’t be a hater!

What are the Top University Jobs in Korea Like?

Hint: they often have enough overtime floating around that everyone gets their share. Find out more details in this short video below:

What do you Think?

What are the keys to getting overtime work at a Korean university? How much is on offer at your place of work? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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