March 8, 2015
For this week’s episode of Speaker’s Corner we asked people about their dream jobs. It seems like a simple question, but I think it’s an important one in Korea, especially since education is so strongly emphasized here so that children can get into good universities and get good jobs. How often do we hear the stereotype of kids pressured into being doctors or lawyers. And yet, in Korea, more than working in a medical or legal field, tons of people are working for chaebols, big conglomerates like Samsung and LG and etc, and become salarymen or salary women. Working in Korea is pretty hard, and we often hear of people leaving their jobs at their big companies to start smaller ventures, like opening a coffee shop, for example.
Moreso, I feel like in Korea, your jobs are a bigger part of your life than they are back where we’re from, in Canada. The people that we know in Canada had jobs, and they’d punch in and punch out at the right time ever day after working the legal amount of hours, and then they’d go home to their families or friends, hobbies and vices. In Korea, though, it seems like people’s jobs define them a lot more. People here seem to work longer, and after work they go out and have dinner and drinks with their coworkers. That work/life balance that people keep striving for is rarely met in the people we know here in Korea, which is why we wanted to know about people’s dream jobs. While in Canada, it seems like when we talk to people about the jobs they want to have, they talk about the kinds of environments they’d like to work in, or the stuff they’d like to create in their jobs, while when we speak with people here it seems like people talk about their dream jobs in a different way: people don’t want to pursue something they’re passionate about as much as they want to just not work where they’re working now. What’s sad is when we speak with people who say they want to open restaurants, and when we ask them about what food they want to cook, they just say “oh, anything.” Their pursuit of a dream seems more like just trying to escape the nightmare of their current job.
But that’s just our experiences. Maybe it’s different with the people you’ve spoken to in Korea. Or maybe it’s different where you’re from. I’d love to hear what you think, what it’s like where you’re from, or if our experiences of what Canadian dream jobs are like vary vastly from what your Canadian friends say.