Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fun with HR

One of the joys of working in Korea (or, quite possibly, anywhere you don't speak the native language) is learning when to really try to understand what's happening and when to just let it all slide and hope is works out. After my summer, I've concluded that in matters concerning HR, it's almost always best to proceed with less than perfect information and assume that if a real problem (that I can actually do something about) is occurring someone will find a way to let me know.

For instance, when HR gave me an address to ship my belongings to, I figured it's just easier to send them there and hope for the best rather than try to find out where I was actually mailing things. However, upon arriving in Korea, I began to worry about the distinct possibility that I would never see my possessions again.

So, I broke down and asked HR where I had sent all my stuff and how I would be notified when it arrived. I learn that I have apparently mailed my belongings to an empty apartment. Not one that I will be living in, mind you, just an apartment. I'm unable to convey my concern that mailing packages addressed to me to random empty apartments may not be the best way for me to received said packages. I decide I will have to bring a 3rd party into the fray in order to express this concern.

Back at my office, HR has recognized my concern and sent me a message inquiring if I had given the delivery company HR's phone number. I had not. HR asks how will we know when the packages arrive. Exactly.

HR suggests I find out who the delivery company is. I say I will call the USPS and ask who they hand packages off to upon arrival in Korea. That night USPS informs me the Korean Postal Service will deal w/ the stuff once it's in Korea.

The next day, I inform HR that what the USPS told me. HR stares at me blankly. I stare back, trying to remember how to say post office in Korean. I try to explain again, confused, since HR seems to understand what I mean when I say I sent the package via US postal service, but does not seem to understand Korean postal service. I wonder what the translation of their postal service is if these two entities do not equate or if the USPS is just wrong and there are many potential postal services or something.

After a while, HR says, "You must mean the Korean National Postal Service". I stare blankly.

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