Jan 30

Deskwarming: The World’s Most Dangerous Job

head in crocodile

Mine remover. Firefighter. Lion tamer. Nuclear bomb builder. While those jobs all sound dangerous, nothing compares to the world’s most perilous job taking place right here in Korea. And I don’t mean being Kim Jong Un’s hair stylist. What could possibly be more life threatening, more harrowing, more death defying even than wrestling alligators and jumping through flames?




Deskwarming is a job created by the Korean Ministry of Education which requires contract teachers to come to school and do absolutely nothing. While a few Korean teachers fall into this category, it is primarily the foreign English teachers that are subject to this very special job requirement.


Because of some legal nonsense, contract teachers must always be at school 40 hours per week, even if there are no students and school is not in session. Theoretically, we are using this time to lesson plan and further develop our skills as teachers. But what am I really supposed to do when the students are on vacation and my contract is up in two weeks and I am sitting alone in an (unheated) office for eight hours a day?

“So you’re complaining about being paid to do nothing? Get over it! Do something productive!”



Ah yes, young grasshopper, I too once felt this way. I envisioned all the valuable things I would do with my deskwarming hours: I’ll build a website! I’ll learn a new language! I’ll become an expert in ancient philosophy!

imagine the possibilities meme


No, nope, and definitely not. The only things you become an expert in during deskwarming are Netflix and naps.


As I lay here on the floor wearing the flannel pajamas I haven’t changed out of for two days, I realize that laziness begets laziness. Having no priorities means you make no priorities. Doing nothing saps your motivation to do anything and you find yourself in a downward spiral of worthlessness, thinking only about your next meal and wondering what the smallest amount of effort you can expend is and still acquire food.




In case you still don’t believe me, allow me to outline the inherent perils of Deskwarming and the ways in which it threatens your life:



You lose your grip on reality: If you were stranded alone on a desert island for a month, don’t you think you would go a little crazy? Deskwarming is a like a desert island without the beach or coconuts. You spend so much time alone that you dive deep into the darkest recesses of your brain and begin to think increasingly strange thoughts. When you do eventually come into human contact, you forget that it’s not okay to talk about your toenail collection or plans to chop off your legs and become the first bionic man on the moon. What?

crazy face deskwarming going crazy

Photo Source: www.chilloutpoint.com




You become dirty and diseased: It begins innocently enough. Maybe you’ll wear some casual clothes to the office, and then graduate to sweats. Makeup is definitely a waste of time, and you don’t really need to shower today, right? It’s not like anyone is going to see or smell you. Hair brushing becomes optional and the next thing you know you’re crawling out of your cave and going in to school like a homeless bird woman who lets pigeons nest in her hair and only bathes in a fountain on the full moon.

Home alone bird lady



Your muscles begin to atrophy: Oh yes, you could work out. Or you could just go home, get in bed, order McDelivery, and continue your series on Netflix. Choices, choices. You’ve done nothing all day, why not continue the streak?

homer simpson on couch



The internet eats your soul: The internet is dark and full of terrors. You stalk that ex. You take every dumb personality quiz. You read the rants on Waygook. You spend a minute trying to research future career options, and then you’re distracted by the kitten videos and Buzzfeed. You decide to research a symptom you’ve been feeling and realize you have dysentery, a flesh eating bacteria, and spiders living in your brain. In the end, you’re nothing but a shriveled excuse of a human who sits whispering to your computer in a creepy Gollum voice.

gollum at computer deskwarming

Photo source: www.flickr.com/photos/josh1

It’s a miracle that any of us survive deskwarming and we should all be given a medal of valor. I suppose the end of contract bonus will have to do. As the Koreans say… Fighting!

  • I would much rather be busy then spend the day sitting at my desk at work (which sometimes happens), it makes time pass so slowly. And, the less I have to do it seems I am less productive or motivated.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      I know, I always dreamed of the deskwarming days when I was working my tail off during teaching, but now that I have all this free time I realize I can’t get anything done! I need the pressure of being busy to motivate me haha

  • I sort of love deskwarming because I’m lazy and I will choose working over not working any day, but I also suffer from all the things you mentioned above. If I have a week of deskwarming, I will be productive for half of one day and that’s it. And it does totally carry over into my evening. It kills my will to do anything, haha. This winter I’ve tried to do more writing and reading, but I’ve still spent countless hours watching youtubers apply smokey eyeshadow. (Hangs head in shame).

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      I’m not going to say I don’t sometimes enjoy it… haha. You must be a pro at the sexy eye look now! 😉

  • salambander

    I considered offering to cut stuff out for other teachers, or collate papers, or sort through the lost property inappropriate t-shirts collection… but the other deskwarming teachers have already taken care of that. The t-shirts are pretty hilarious though.

    Here are some great time-wastage links for you, along with the time they use up.

    – complicated paper models of things. I take great joy in using up school resources for personal things when they’re wasting my time by being here. Dancing Groot takes about 4-6 hours if you work carefully (slowly). https://www.behance.net/gallery/19979037/Dancing-Groot-PapercraftRich
    Others here: http://paper-replika.com/

    http://www.printmandala.com/ Print ’em, colour ’em, then shred ’em. A complete waste of time and resources, but very relaxing and cathartic. If you colour them very artistically (shading and whatnot) then you can make one last about 2 hours.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/ten_years_in_your_ears/2014/12/best_podcast_episodes_ever_the_25_best_from_serial_to_the_ricky_gervais.html Listen while doing the colouring or other stuff

    http://boiteajeux.net/ play boardgames online. You may have to wait several hours for your opponents to take their turn, so a single game can last days.

    http://www.365escape.com/ solve puzzles to ‘unlock’ the room (like the ones that have been springing up in cities all over the world). I have yet to complete one, but it can take several hours.

    http://dsg.neko-machi.com/hikikomori.pdf a solo RPG. You can use an online dice-roller to play it, like http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ftp/client_ftp/ks1/maths/dice/index.htm Yeah, it’s nerdy but no one is watching, no one cares, and it could kill a good chunk of time.

    http://www.oneword.com/ you see one word at the top of the screen and have 60 seconds to write about it. Go. (rinse, lather, repeat).

    http://freerice.com/ quiz game where correct answers donate rice to starving kids. Kill time and save lives.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      wow, that’s a whole lot of time wasting! you should put it into a book: The Ultimate Deskwarming Time Killer Guide. I, however, don’t even do half-productive things like play games. Really. I didn’t always have to go to school so I just laid in bed. I didn’t even know it was possible to lay in bed for so long. But it is.

  • Oh my god this post is hilarious. I don’t think I’d ever want that job! And I’m pretty lazy, too, so that’s saying something. But yeah, too much time alone with my thoughts is never a good idea.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thanks! Haha I know, too much time alone can be dangerous. You start getting all these crazy ideas in your head…

  • This is hilarious. And so accurate. My deskwarming’s coming to an end for about a week. And then back to more deskwarming. 😛 Joy.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Haha thanks. Good luck… I wish I could recommend something to help pass the time but I mostly just laid comatose in bed.