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[Work, life, balance, and K-dramas] A career in sneaking


Age of Youth 2

By @babybeast

I admit, I’m terrible at finding balances in life. More often than not, I swing towards one of the extremes. Either I study and slog my guts out, or I daydream the whole week away. Maybe that explains my habit of binge-eating. In terms of balance, the addition of K-dramas in my life six years ago definitely has not helped, but in terms of work, K-dramas (hopefully) have had a positive influence.

It’s scary to have to admit that I’ve never had any “real” dreams — all “dream jobs” were due to pressures from family or friends (at one stage I wanted to be a doctor because Dad said that was a good idea, and at another, a vet because that’s what all my friends wanted to be). Maybe it’s the flawed portrayal of careers in K-dramas, but after every completed series, I would find myself with a new “dream career.” After It’s Okay, It’s Love, I really wanted to be a psychiatrist; after You’re All Surrounded, I wanted to be a detective. The only careers which remained a dream for longer than the length of the drama were probably doctors from Good Doctor and lawyers/prosecutors/judges from I Hear Your Voice, Switch, Nothing to Lose, and Defendant.


Good Doctor

Arguably, these aren’t the best of dramas, but nonetheless they helped shed light on careers available and (maybe) the lives of actual lawyers or doctors. Right now, I’ve given up on being a surgeon, because I’ve suddenly developed a fear of blood, but the thought of becoming a prosecutor/lawyer/judge still remains. On one hand, I do hope that this thought still remains, because then I can get away with saying that I have a dream, but on the other, I’m not sure if I want K-dramas to be dictating the path I would take — especially not if the portrayal of these careers in K-dramas are overly flawed.

Before K-dramas, as far as I can remember, I was an extremely studious student, and my only form of distraction then probably was Minecraft. The moment I started K-dramas can be compared to the opening of Pandora’s Box (not that I particularly regret it… yet). Watching K-dramas did not only result in one additional distraction, but through K-dramas I found K-pop, and K-variety shows, which meant like another gazillion forms of distraction.


W–Two Worlds

I’m not sure if it was due to stress, but especially in years where I had major exams, I’d experience a peak drama-watching period. My fondest memory of studying when I was 12 was hiding behind my door watching Running Man episodes 109 & 110 with Lee Tae-hwan while my parents thought I was hard at work, and lying on the floor to watch Dream High on my phone so that if at any point in time Mom came in, I could quickly shove my phone under the cupboard and continue to pretend to be studying.

Last year, instead of studying for my O levels, I mastered keyboard shortcuts and the discovered ctrl+tab, my lifesaver, so that whenever anyone came in, I could always change tabs at lightning fast speeds and pretend to be typing an essay of sorts. Thankfully, they never really found out, and my grades were still pretty good, so I never got scolded (heh).

Even in school, the introduction of “learning devices” meant me watching Gu Family Book instead of listening to literature classes on Merchant of Venice, because sorry but Choi Jin-hyuk >>> Shakespeare. It also meant Chinese class bonding through Birth of a Beauty. If only Joo Sang-wook and Han Ye-seul were less good at their jobs, I’d probably have done much better in my mother tongue. After two years when school finally caught onto what we were doing instead of actually doing work on our devices, drama-watching sites became blocked, and that ultimately directed me to Dramabeans instead.


Gu Family Book

Reading recaps and commentaries proved to be as (if not more) interesting as watching the drama itself. Someone else in school must have also been actively using Dramabeans, because soon it also got blocked :(. Thanks to my discovery of VPN however, I survived the rest of my boring classes by manically refreshing Dramabeans.

At this point I can’t tell if K-dramas’ role in my life has been more of a positive or negative influence, but as of now, joining the K-drama fandom is not a decision I regret, especially since through K-dramas I was introduced to the nice community here on DB!


Birth of a Beauty

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A+ for ingenuity!

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thank you!!!!!

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I love ctrl+tab especially when I'm researching (stalking) K-dramas & K-music at work.

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This is literally what I am doing right now and to my back is an entire hallway ((cries)) with the door of a meeting room literally where they back of my chair is! I need to hone my stealth skills like you guys lol

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oh no... keep practicing you'll be an expert in no time.

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Thanks!! **practices furiously**

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Finding balance between study and dramas was (and still is) work-in-progress for me. It is absolutely necessary, so FIGHTING!

As to not having a "real dream", join the club! The pressures of deciding on a career at such a young age are mind-numbing. However, what I've learned with time (and age?) is that you don't have to set out your future life plans at the age of 18. You might study Law and end up happily working as a restaurant manager. You might study medicine and become a successful stay-at-home mom. You never know. Just study what you think you're cut out for and keep working on extra-curricular activities you enjoy.

A Poem A Day reflected a little bit on this issue, because Bo Young chose Physical Therapy over Literature for the very valid reason that she wanted a profession that pays well. She was sad that she abandoned writing poetry (me too). But she brought poetry to hundred of patients and colleagues at the hospital. AND she was a competent physical therapist.

I'm rambling, but the point is that we never know what life has in store for us, so study hard while you can. (If I had my way Bo Young would go to a summer writing camps and read poetry at her local cafe after work, but I digress).

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aww that's a very helpful and encouraging comment!!
"She was sad that she abandoned writing poetry (me too). But she brought poetry to hundred of patients and colleagues at the hospital. AND she was a competent physical therapist."
I guess i'll try to find my passion(s) in life and maybe like Bo Young did, integrate both of them into my day to day life. Reminds me of a quote from good doctor that says we don't have to give up on dreams to have a new one, we can just keep having more and more dreams (this is so poorly worded it doesnt even have the punchy effect but yes)

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Good luck finding your “dream.” Kdramas are good at introducing ideas, and it is our job to pursue what sparks our interests. You sound like a pro getting in that drama watching. I catch my kids doing the same thing but you’ve given me more “tricks” to be on the lookout for! 🤣

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Noooooooooo! She betrayed us!!!

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D'oh!!

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uh oh, sorry in advance @ally-le's kids!!

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It’s a good thing I didn’t know about dramas back when I was in school, otherwise I never would have got anything done 😂 Good luck on finding something to do that you’ll enjoy - in my experience, even if you do find an absolute dream job, there will still be many days when it’s stressful or boring or just plain hard. Those who have achieved a dream don’t necessarily have it better than those who were never driven by a passion. Dramas are the perfect antidote at those times when the real world is all too real, and sometimes they can even inspire you to look at your ordinary life with new eyes and find much more to love about it.

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thank you for your advice!!
"Those who have achieved a dream don’t necessarily have it better than those who were never driven by a passion. " that's a really encouraging quote thank you once again!!

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Aw we seem very much alike! I'm also a student with the 24/7 job of watching kdramas (not guilty one bit), and I feel like I'm living the life of a convict by constantly hiding what I'm watching at the moment with the same ctrl+tab trick! I'm glad your grades are doing well though, because dramas can be SO distracting.

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full time K-drama and part time study can be hard but i'll have it no other way :)

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Great story, and I can really relate to your Pandora's box analogy. Thanks for sharing.

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I know how you feel. None of my friends watch kdrama or distracted by kdrama as much as I do. But here In Dramabeans, I feel like I belong here and always welcome. I feel like none other than outside of this community understand my kdrama addiction. I always use we instead of I when I want to explain something about my kdrama addiction to my family and friends. Some of them watch kdrama but they didnt get invested as much to read recap and discuss about it or find spoiler in soompi forum.

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@jat, that’s exactly how I feel about dramabeans. I usually don’t have anyone to talk to about kdramas. This community feels like a group of friends I watch drama with. I love the people here, not just for their drama analysis and feedback but also because everyone is nice even if we have differences in opinion. Unlike in another website, LOL....

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When I was in school, I actually needed the TV on to study. I remember watching a MASH marathon while studying for organic chemistry. My brain is weird. I don't know if I could have done kdramas, though, since I need to read subtitles.

I don't know if you really need a 'dream.' Especially one inspired by dramas. 😂 Just try to find something you enjoy doing. Maybe it's writing -- good post!

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reminds me of a cute story:
my cousins needed the TV on in order to eat their dinner, but since I always had the TV off during dinner, I couldn't eat dinner with the TV on (I would be too entranced by the TV to do any eating). So whenever we had family dinner there was the "battle" between parents to turn on / off the TV so that the kids could eat, but it was probably turned on eventually, which explains how/why I binge kdramas as I binge eat :)

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Ahh I do relate! I was much like you back in school. I still am, in all fairness. Alt-tab is a lifesaver indeed!

Many people don't have just "one" dream they want to achieve, especially for their career. Kdramas can be an inspiration, but be sure to do research and try to do something that at least sparks your interest outside of Kdrama portrayal!

While Kdrama portrayal of lawyers can be glamorous, you could find yourself thinking differently after graduating law school (it's tough!) and ending up working 70+ hour workweeks at only slightly more than minimum wage, while your less studious peers may be living much more comfortably working in different fields. Of course, I might be slightly biased in this regard due to my own career path.

Nevertheless, it's fine to figure out what you really want to do gradually, but it's also fine to just settle for something comfortable along the road.

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are you by any chance a lawyer yourself? because part of the reason why I'm drawn towards law (besides that studying it seems to be fun, and kdramas) is due to the pay? I really really really want to own (/pay off the loan for) a nice big house by age 28? so that from then on there arnt really pressing finances and I can start to venture and see the world / find new things i like?

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The pay depends on the country youre from of course, as well as the field you work in. I am sure the pay is much better in the US, but then law school is also much more expensive.

It was cheaper in my little country, but unless you work inhumane hours in the large american firms as well as most weekends, the pay isnt as great while youre starting out. However, if you have a good law degree you also have nice prospects in other nice private non-lawyer functions (eg government, EU, banks, insurance)

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beautifully written... I can imagine you doing all the tricks you did for kdramas.
hope you find your dream job soon and excel in it just as you are doing in kdrama watching.

and i am same ignoring exams for tv just the different things... at one time Cricket was my life. There was one Test match between India and Australia while i had my 10th board exam of mathematics the very next day, and i still remember still on stairs next to the tv room to listen the commentary, i was scolded by my dad. then i went on terrace and manage to watch the scoreline (at the bottom of tv screen) through a railing cover on the floor.... i watched it till the match going on for the day.
and as result i did end up getting bad marks in that exam (though i passed) and that percentage remained one of most worst performance of my student life and still is.

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oh my this jogged another memory of me lying on the floor with my ears placed next to the gap between the door and the floor to listen to whatever was going on on TV (come to think of it it might have been kdramas) instead of sleeping as a child. (to be fair i was made to sleep at like 9.30 which is pretty darn early)

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lol.. 9.30 is early very early.... we surely do craziest things for klove

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India? This is crazy relatable :D

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yes India...are you also from India ?

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yes :) caught you from the cricket love and 10th boards!

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hehehe glad to find fellow indian beanie...
nice to meet you..

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Am laughing all the way to the finish, what a fun read! Really applaud you on keeping your good grades, coz back when I was binge-watching, my study seriously suffered T_T With the smart that you have, I'm sure you'll ace whichever dream job you'll choose in the future, hwaiting!

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thank you!! all the best for your future endeavours too!!

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Lovely article @babybeast! Are you a Singaporean? What you’ve written is so relatable.

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oh my how on earth did you figure that out but yes I am, does my language sound particularly singaporean? (i assume you're a singaporean too?)

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Haha your english is perfect (at least to this Sporean). Its the Merchant of venice, olevels and slacking during chinese class which gave you away 😝.

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Nice history😂i can partially relate. You had me at the "shoving my phone under the cupboard"(i hid my in the textbook by flipping the page really fast)😅
I was introduced to kdramas at the age of 14 in my last year of middle school(Italian School). And my first drama was "Empress ki". I didn't have a phone at that time so i use to watch at my cousin's house during weekends. And the computer was in the living room so i couldn't watch but that's how i found Dramabeans(i only read after studying and doing homeworks and house chores). But when i had my first smartphone i did a really intense kdrama marathon and my grades droped to average that is in high school(but now they are back to being high😊). Now I'm in my fourth year of high school and i've really learnt to controll my desire for k drama. Now i can actually go even a year without k drama. As for future dreams, I'm not influenced by kdrama becasue i dont treat it as reality(I can only daydream). So i hope you'll live in reality too☺

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ooh I'm in my second last year of high school (different systems so I'm not sure how that compares to yours) but that's pretty cool!! I think you're a year older than me :))

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May i ask which country?

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i’m a singaporean but i’m studying in new zealand right now!!

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Oh man, I had a few dream jobs too when I was younger. First, I wanted to be an archeologist because I watched the Mummy so join the club of people who get their dreams from TV. :D

Then I went camping during high school and realized I didn't actually like being outdoors so there went that dream. Then I thought I could be a writer since I like books or an historian because my history teacher was awesome ( the Indiana Jones movies also really helped there).

When I reached university, I wrote one essay and hated it so that killed those two on the spot. To be fair, it was about french medieval poetry. Thank god for APAD and creating a tiny interest in poetry because before that, zzzzz (snoring sounds). I only discovered my current profession (software developer) because I had to do science electives and I chose a computer science class.

All of this to say, try everything. And I mean everything. Take a pottery class or a language class. Try chemistry and physics. You won't know what you like until you try it.

And don't stress too much about finding "THE dream". Our generation will have 5 to 6 careers in our lifespan so you can (and probably will) do a bunch of things.

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thank you for your advice!!! i suddenly feel inspired to start doing things i’ve never tried before and that’s honestly great

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Please do! I tried silk painting on a whim this weekend and really enjoyed it. Now, I am looking for more classes.

The things you end up enjoying will always surprise you. :D

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Ditto @babybeast and thanks @luzitania :)

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Don't worry, not everyone figures out their dream in school! I know i didn't and now I realise that as long you're doing something that you like/doesnt stress you/allows you to achieve your goals and challenges you, that's enough. At least it works for me 😆
Just enjoy your school life and try to learn things that interest you, not other people. I used to read my novels by hiding them in my textbook so anyone looking would think i'm studying, not reading for fun!

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thank you for the advice / encouragement!!!

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I am convinced @ babybeast that we must have telepathy because I do the exact same things!

I too have mastered shot-cuts, the art of split screen viewing and ultra-quick tab changes. I'm practically a ninja!
DB was blocked in my school too but VPN saved me and if teachers asked me why I was always on my laptop, staring intently, I'd tell them I was researching on an essay and open the exact same essay every single time. Using free school time to watch dramas accelerated my watching habits!

The moment I started K-dramas can be compared to the opening of Pandora’s Box (not that I particularly regret it… yet). Watching K-dramas did not only result in one additional distraction, but through K-dramas I found K-pop, and K-variety shows, which meant like another gazillion forms of distraction.

👏🙌 The truth! I fell down the rabbit hole too and also ended up reading Korean manhwas and webtoons. *Shakes head*.
The only difference is that my grades did drop down during my mocks but I was soon on track for my actual exams after late night studying (which included watching Running Man +2N1D+ TROS clips on Youtube). Heh 😂

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running man is the pre exam MUST HAHA!! it’s so cool that we’re so alike though!!!!!

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Heyyo, y'all sneaky people! It's so great to just scroll through the comment threads- I relate to all comments about dreams, ctrl+tab, and of course, k-drama addiction :D never mind that I got an exam tomorrow :)

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oh, also RIP my headphones in the first year but life and especially studies without the rocking k-drama osts (besides k-pop) is so not right :D

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hi! I am honestly so happy to be reading your article,because I never had someone to relate to so hard!!My o's are coming up next year and as you can imagine,being a kdrama fan and this major exam are definitely recipes for disaster.I am a relatively new kdrama fan,just entering last year.I have to say that I definitely did improve on controlling myself and holding back dramas during the school year this year,but its a pain to completely cut myself off,which I have been doing.Do you have any tips on balance?ik ik after reading ur article I shouldn't even be asking u about this hehe but since you have been through o's,i definitely would love some tips and tricks from a sunbaenim hehe.Anyways,just wanted to let you know that I love this entire theme on Dramabeans and the articles coming with it so far!!KEEP IT UP :)

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It's nice to see how the dramas inspire your imaginings of what you'll do some day!

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