Between Korea, China, and Japan, which country has a more “intense” work culture (on average)?

I’ve only worked in Korea, not in Japan or China but I’m inclined to say Korea because:

  1. they have 눈치 culture which means you gotta respect your seniors and boss and cannot say anything back. For example you cannot leave your work until your boss does
  2. 회식 which is a type of dinner you have with your coworkers, but you cannot refuse. Your boss invites you to go drinking, you have to go because of 눈치 and sometimes your work details can be affected as a result of these dinner meetings
  3. There’s no separation of personal and work life. Your work life is your personal life. If you got pregnant, you have chance of getting fired. If you got a needy bf/gf? too bad that decreases your chances of getting hired or keeping your job.
  4. 9–6 is the common Korean work hours shift, but its not uncommon to see people working until 9pm, 10pm, midnight, or even 1–2am. Working weekends is normal too.
  5. Its frowned upon to switch companies. If you have too many companies on your resume your new employers might question your loyalty and refuse to hire you.

In my experience meeting Japanese and Chinese people, it seems Japan work culture is very similar but maybe not quite as intense as Korea (90% as intense?) after all Korea’s strict hierarchical work culture comes from Japanese work culture.

In contrast Chinese work culture seems more similar to American work culture and they seem to have little of any of these things. Sure people work overtime in China too especially in cities like Beijing or Shanghai but I think overall Chinese work culture is more flexible and loose.


Alternate income streams

Ok, so beginning of 2019, my New Years resolution is to make back the money I lost last year. Which is around $150k give or take. I know, that’s ALOT of money to make back, and I’m still trying to figure how to make that much money back *while* giving me a path to go back to Korea (cause I dont want to stay forever alone).

So the obvious choices for a job is to either be a freelancer or find remote work like I did last time I lived in Korea. Problem is freelancer work isnt really stable, and finding a full time remote job like before isn’t that simple either, not many companies are willing to do it, and even less if I want to work from Korea (thus necessitating my own hours pretty much).

Or I can live in Korea and be an English tutor or teacher, that always works but its not the job I like to do. And if I do that I need some additional income streams. So what are some options for side jobs?

1) Earn money from Youtube. Hey, I already do that. I make around $75-$100 a month from Youtube revenues now. It’s not that much, but it will pay for the cellphone bill each month.

2) Earn money from Quora. Already doing this too, but Quora pays very little, only abut $10 a month on average for me. Again, a free meal every month but thats about it.

3) Write an e-book and sell it on the Kindle store. Need to figure out what to write about. My expertise is either JavaScript libraries, Blues/Rock guitar playing, Magic the Gathering strategies, Korean lessons, or Basketball trivia. Not sure if I’m a good enough expert in any of those fields to really write a book about it.

4) Start a Udemy course and sell the course to students. Again, similar to the Kindle thing, I need to be a good enough expert in a field to really make my own course teaching it, but maybe sometime in the future.

5) Rent out my house/apartment or AirBnb it. I need to get a place first, but I will most likely do this once I buy an apartment/condo in Vancouver in a few months.

6) Drive for Uber or Lyft. I need a car to do this, but definitely a nice weekend side job if I have nothing else to do and have a car.

7) Make advertising / affiliate revenue blogging. I am not a well known enough blogger to make any money from it.

8) Stream video games on Twitch and earn advertiser revenue. Not a good enough or entertaining enough gamer to do this either.

9) Sell my own merchandise on my own store using Shopify and Droplift. I don’t have my own brand that I’m selling right now, I would probably need around 200k ish subscribers before I have a market of people to sell my brand to.

10) Start a Patreon and get folks to support you. Again, if my Youtube channel surpasses 200k ish subscribers then I can see myself doing this but I’m not popular enough now.

11) Invest money in dividend stocks. This is recurring revenue, and something I would like to look at more once I have more money saved up.

12) Invest money in Masternode coins. This is also recurring revenue but you have to be careful to avoid the ponzi ones (I fell victim to several last year and lost around $15k to them), and definitely more riskier than dividend stocks (crypto in general is riskier than stocks) but could definitely have potential for higher return if invested in the right ones.

13) Mining coins. Bitcoin is no longer profitable to mine, and so is most other coins out there. You need dedicated machines and/or equipment to mine, and given the bear market right now, its probably better to go for the PoS coins rather than PoW.


Where should I settle next?

As some people know, I am currently taking a break from work and this is the first time I’ve been unemployed since 2011. This was by my own choice – I needed break and some time off from work to think and reflect on what I want to do with my life and where I want to go next.

Right now I’m in Korea and will be traveling Asia while I relax and think about things and meeting my Korean friends again. There is some choices I have to make – I think I will continue doing programming as my main career since it is one of the best jobs you can get right now – salary wise and flexibility wise. I am fortunate that I am a career programmer and one of the few people I know that have done this since I was young. It is one of the few jobs in the world that can give me good pay and good flexibility on location – I can work almost anywhere in the world since software engineers are popular worldwide.

But even then there are some choices I have to make – now that I’ve sold my San Francisco home, I don’t have a real ‘residence’ anymore and am free to choose where I should settle next. So I have a few choices on where to go but they all have pros and cons, and I’m still deciding between them. I have to take into consideration salary differences, location, do I have friends there or not, how easy is it to meet friends, (and for my personal future) how likely am I to meet the right Korean girl to marry?

Option 1: Seoul, Korea – the best choice if I want to get married soon

-Awesome atmosphere. Lots of things to do. Lots of people to meet. With population of 10 million, easily the biggest city out of my choices
-Obviously lots of single Korean women, easiest to meet the right person
-Lots of Korean friends here
-Rent is cheap – can get decent studio for around $600 a month

-Low salary for engineers, around $40k USD/yr
-Work/Life balance is difficult – probably have to work overtime regularly
-Probably won’t get much opportunity to meet those Korean friends because Koreans are usually busy bodies. Even close friends I only met once a month here.
-Take home pay: roughly $2700 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 2: Vancouver, Canada – the best choice if I want to be closer to family

-Most convenient for me, don’t need a visa to get a job
-family and friends can visit me easily
-Lots of Korean women, probably #3 in North America after LA and Toronto

-Rainy weather
-Salary is relatively low – $80k CAD on average for engineers which is roughly $61k USD and taxes is similar to California so it’s roughly $40k/yr after taxes, so basically same salary as Korea (without the overwork though).
-Cost of living is high, around $1400 USD/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $2000 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 3: San Francisco, California – the best choice for the best tech companies

-Very familiar with the city, still have some friends left there (including one really good friend)
-High salaries and lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers
-Very nice temperate climate and scenery

-Cost of living is very high, around $2500/mo for studio
-Not a lot of women in general let alone Korean women, probably the worst place to meet girls on my list of choices
-High taxes, so take home salary (net income) would be about $84k/yr
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 4: Seattle, Washington – the best choice for earning and saving money

-High salaries, lots of jobs – around $130k/yr average for engineers, but even higher than San Francisco due to no income tax which means net income is around 7% higher, around $94k/yr the highest out of any city on my list

-Not many friends in Seattle, I have maybe one or two
-Not as many Korean women as LA/Seoul/Vancouver
-Cost of living is also expensive like Vancouver, around $1400/mo for studio
-Rainy weather
-Take home pay: roughly $6400 USD a month after rent/taxes

Option 5: Los Angeles, California – the balanced choice

-Sunny warm weather all year round
-the most Koreans outside of Korea
-Have a few close friends there
-Nightlife better than other American cities. second biggest city on my list after Seoul

-Not as many tech jobs as Seattle/SF. Average salary is around $110k/yr for engineers, and after CA taxes would be around $72k/yr, firmly in the middle of my list
-Cost of living is expensive, around $1500/mo for studio
-Take home pay: roughly $4500 USD a month after rent/taxes
-I would probably need a car (which is a hassle), which is something I cannot say for the other cities on my list…

So… where should I go? decisions, decisions.