What's the Worst that Could Happen

adaptability south korea warrior spirit worst case scenario

This was our worst-case scenario. What if Korea falls through? We’ve put all our eggs in this basket (or so it seemed), so what will we do if it doesn’t work out?

Well, it didn’t work out, and the timing was brilliant. We had signed contracts - legal guarantees of a job - so I had quit my job to  give sufficient notice, and turned down all sorts of paid requests for our time. It was only after all this that the school backed out.

So it really was the worst that could happen in this particular situation.

Whenever we are planning to do something really adventurous and risky, the thing that stops us is fear of the unknown, and in particular fear of the worst-case scenario. Even if it is extremely unlikely, we still worry that it will happen to us. There are two ways to deal with this. The first is to realize that sometimes what you think is a bad thing may not really be such a horror after all. It might open up new possibilities for you as it forces you to adapt.

In our case, we came up with some really cool alternatives to teaching in Korea.

Staying home was not really an option, so we looked at other countries to teach English, and even fielded some contracts from China (much easier to get a job there). We could have taught near Hong Kong, Shanghai, or a northern (read “ice-encrusted) city called Harbin.

Hitting the worst-case scenario can also encourage you to reassess your methods of accomplishing what you want. Sometimes, you might realize that you’re putting yourself through extra work, simply because you think that is ‘the way things are done.’

The mishap forced us to think about our real goals in going abroad, and so we were able to come up with alternatives to teaching that would help us achieve the goal of experiencing life in a foreign country. We thought it might be possible to live abroad and support ourselves without all the trouble of going through a recruiter. One such alternative was studying Buddhism with Tibetan monks in Dharamsala, which was something our meager savings would actually permit. To support ourselves, we thought of writing for travel magazines, and found some publications that might have taken our work.

The other option is to see just how problematic a worst-case scenario really would be. Sure it might suck, but would you survive? Would it really cost you as much as you think?

Moving to Korea: what’s the worst that could happen? We don’t get along with our school, they fire us, kick us out of our apartments, and we’re forced to…come home? Even if they were not happy to rescue us, our parents would bail us out. If not, we have credit cards. Barring that (staying home now was never really an option) we could always find another job in Korea, backpack around for a while, send back articles and pictures to American magazines interested in the area, or appeal to the American embassy to get us out.

We’d be broke, but at no point is there a danger of death or starvation, so I guess things could get worse.

I guess the worst can be pretty bad, but in the end, we managed to make it work…sort of. I’m still broke.

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