The tension between stopping and settling

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from trying to find a job in Korea, it’s this: don’t settle but don’t stop.

On one hand, there’s this pressure to settle.

When I first started looking for jobs, I really didn’t know what I wanted. The more I interviewed, though, and the more I looked at various contracts, the more I discovered what I thought I wanted. I got pickier. I wanted a specific location, salary, age group, class size and so on.

After the first job fell through, it was easy to lower my expectations. I mean, at first I didn’t. At first, I wanted nothing less than what I’d originally signed for. But the more I looked, the less I saw what I was looking for. I started wanting to settle.

Then one day right after an interview, my dad walked into the room. “Marshall, I was thinking about this. I know you were very discerning when you were looking for jobs. But now the approach might have changed. I just want you to know: you don’t have to settle.”

Refusing to settle sets you up for lots of letdowns. I looked at scores of ads, wrote hundreds of emails, interviewed dozens of times. And each time I did, I had to keep in the back of my mind, If it isn’t what you want, keep looking.

Because on the other hand, there’s this pressure to quit.

With lots of letdowns, you want to quit. I kept thinking, You know, maybe I should just look into getting some more clients here, build more websites, help with social media and all that.

But you can’t quit. And you can’t settle.

You go forward. You continue, expecting nothing less than the best.