The successful separation of work and life can be a difficult thing. And working in a Korean lab, one often experiences a blurring of the distinction between the two. I saw a speech recently about happiness, and the speaker was saying that if you're asked why you work, a deeper analysis always reveals that the ultimate goal is the happiness of yourself and those you care about. So he called 'work' a rather inefficient way of obtaining something that is already in abundance.
Which is the ability to enjoy ourselves on a day-to-day basis, if we try hard enough.
Working in the new lab, there seems to be a lot more freedom in terms of self-determination. Different professors have different management styles that work well with different kinds of students. I'm more of a Toastmasters kind of student and I like to go to Toastmasters events. In case you haven't heard of it before, Toastmasters is an international non-profit social organisation that focuses on developing public speaking and leadership skills.
At the Korea Toastmasters Interclub Picnic, we ordered a few more pizzas than we needed. The day was a social event organised for the clubs in Seoul to meet and mingle.
Public speaking is a funny thing. The majority of people who enjoy it are those who have done it enough times to be good at it. Clubs like Toastmasters tend to attract the same sorts of people, which could be defined as those willing to volunteer their free time to improve their public speaking skills and help others do the same. The initial reason I joined was to practice toward becoming an engaging science lecturer.
We played a few team games, with this one being quite memorable. There were different team colours, and the idea was to tie a coloured balloon to one foot and then work together and try to stamp on your opponent's balloons.
It started off predictably enough, with the same coloured teams huddled in defensive groups. But eventually chaos ensued.
As with many such chaotic games, offense was the best defense.
Here's me and Alice with another girl we were talking to that day, whose name I forgot. We started talking about blogs and I said that I'd post this picture.
We had a great time that day. Although I only joined last year, the Toastmasters experience has been one of the highlights of my time in Korea. Wherever you are in the world, you should track down your nearest club and take the plunge.
You'll probably be glad you did.