Lets Get KOing: Grad School Vs LG Employed


The website was down for a couple of days but it’s up and running again thanks to a handful of people who had taken the time to remind me that the site has somehow mysteriously disappeared. Some payments weren’t made, you see. The site needs money fodder too. As does everything else.

Once a year, I go through this intense period of time where I seem to break everything I touch. Just a week ago, the room heating had brought the temperature to Arabic heights forcing me to open the window only for the window to comically fall off. I mean it just came off. Thankfully the rooms position was such that I wasn’t accused of any manslaughter (could have been easily womanslaughter if you are sex sensitive). Then only yesterday, I was mindlessly opening the door when the door knob came off as well. Whether that’s down to bad engineering or sheer bad luck or just bad hand, brain coordination, I will leave it for you to decide.

It could also because I haven’t had to get proper amount of sleep. If you calculate the hours we now pump up in the lab, its atrocious in Nepali time ramping up a whopping 90+ hours. Although this also includes some snoozing, some drinking and some eating all but inside the laboratory, it is still an impressive amount of time doing research. This led to me to ask whether this is the norm here rather than the exception? Sure enough, after going through a lot similar stories at other labs as well (not quite intense though), I took the time ask a friend’s friend who currently works with LG and the numbers were quite competitive. Now as a student, you don’t have a family except for an opposite number, if that is if you have time for one, but besides that no kids to worry about. The friend’s friend I mentioned about? Yes, he has two.

Being a graduate student vs being an office worker

Here we look two very extreme cases, one a laboratory at a top school in Korea with crunch deadlines and the other at LG, with even crazier crunch deadlines. Let’s see who gets KOed! on a head to head comparison, shall we?

We will begin with mornings:

Work at the lab begins at 9. Usually for a student living in the dorms, it is just 20 min walk to the lab that means waking up an hour early is enough in case the person wants to skip breakfast. That means a day starts at 8? Most students have to travel so waking up before the crunch early morning rush is crucial. I guess it would be 7 at the latest.

LG: Depending on where you work, usually people living in seoul having to go to a nearby city to work means that they need the company shuttle to carter them back and forth. So even though office begins early at 8-9ish, our friend in particular, has to take the bus at 6am, meaning he has to get up at least at 5.

Student here gets well KOed!

Office hours:

Korean offices and labs, being as disciplined as they are about their morning arrival time, aren’t really honest when it comes to time for leaving their workplace. These two workplaces are, of course, no different.

Graduate lab: The lab in concern begins at 9am-9pm. That’s only the official time, there are not-so-official time as well where you actually stay more than the designated time much dependent on your professors time of “hey, I should better get going!” That’s when the going is good.

When the going is tough, well it’s a different story of actually living in the lab. The fact that most graduate students don’t have other family commitments makes it much easier to do so, but still, staying awake and working well into the night, every single day, is quite daunting. Only a few days ago my friend decided to call it a day and asked permission to leave early. It was bloody 2am. 

LG: Our friend in question works late every single day taking the night shuttle back home. By the time he reaches its 12am. Quite how he manages to do so is quite amazing indeed but I asked him what his kids make out of this work of his.

“Well they wait for me until I get home. I get to talk to them for a good fifteen minutes and off they go to sleep. It’s the same every day.”

If this is how his normal days are, what about crunch? Well, the max he says he has stayed up working at the office all night is 2. Compared to those graduate students, not comparable but hey he has a family.

Let’s give him and the graduate students both a break. And nope, there’s no kitkat involved here.
It’s a tie.

Weekend work:

Yes, the most difficult to take, you-shall-work-on-weekends-too schedule.

Graduate lab: Saturdays are official work days that means it is like any other day. So while most normal people are celebrating that it’s Friday, the lab members have to wait for a day more to have that exact same feeling for half the reward. Even though you are half-heartedly expected to be there on Sunday, you have the day off, if you have done your work that is.

LG: It’s officially a holiday on Saturday but our friend in question has to do extra time and work on Saturdays as well. Sunday mornings are reserved for church and family but when the going gets tough, its back to office again.

Make what you like here, I guess our friend has a much tougher life. So grad students go get KOed!

What else..hmm…. comparison of who actually gets paid less?
Obviously, it’s LG who gets KOed. Is it even comparable?



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