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Misaeng: Episode 15

The big theme of the day is around acknowledgement, whether it be from colleagues, bosses, or family. It’s not something that comes easily, as it takes time and an empathic understanding of a person to acknowledge their worth. But the result is rewarding because in a world where there are so many people ready to put you down, a small recognition of hardship or acknowledgement of effort can get you through the day. Might I add that there’s a hint of bromance as well? Sometimes that’s all I need to get through my day.

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

As Geu-rae overhears Chief Oh’s conversation with Deputy Director Sun about not giving him hope, he thinks about his path with a predetermined end. Although he wants to continue as “us” and “together,” he realizes this path and optimistically tells himself that he has one more year with his team. So the next morning, he arrives full of energy with a loud greeting and a big smile. Aw.

Seok-yul continues to mope while making coffee for his team. Baek-ki (with a new haircut) walks in and bluntly consoles him, as he himself has experienced the futile attempts at escaping his newbie status. Seok-yul tries to counter his claim, but Baek-ki’s successively preoccupied with a call, revision suggestions from Assistant Manager Kang, and then an emergency shipment malfunction report, leaving Seok-yul alone to face his problems.

The steel team deals with the crisis in an organized chaos, with calls and meetings being scheduled right away. The ship is stuck somewhere near Vietnam with a hole in it, and the options to recover it are limited. Baek-ki proposes another ship to transfer the items, a crane, or a towboat, but they all get shut down due to impracticality.

Dong-shik and Geu-rae arrive amidst this chaos, and they ask Assistant Manager Kang about the details. Geu-rae quietly asks Dong-shik if the hole can just be patched up, which elicits an incredulous response from Baek-ki but an intrigued response from Assistant Manager Kang. He considers it a valid option and sets plans with the chief to attempt this fix.

Chief Oh asks Geu-rae for all of his reports and drafts, and he delivers all the completed work. Seeing this, Chief Oh asks what Geu-rae is working so hard on, and he replies that he’s looking for a new sales item for the team. He doesn’t have experience working on new sales items by himself, but Chief Oh tells him to continue, a little surprised by his work ethic.

Young-yi’s work is interrupted by a call from her mother, and she steps outside to call her back. Her mother apologizes for her father, who took out money again to try a new business, and pleads for help to cover the deposit for the landlord. Her voice quivering, Young-yi tells her mother that she barely recovered from paying off her father’s previous debt and has nothing to do with him anymore. She thought she could live her own life now, and on the verge of tears, she refuses to give her mother the money.

Geu-rae continues to work hard under the silent vigilance of Chief Oh. As Chief Oh walks out, he runs into the steel team and asks about their emergency. Thankfully, it got resolved because the crack was patchable, and Assistant Manager Kang gives credit to Geu-rae for the idea. He praises that some people like Geu-rae may not have correct answers but have solutions to problems. Baek-ki looks slightly envious of the praise, and Chief Oh brushes it off as a matter of interpretation, though he’s got a proud papa smile plastered on his face as he walks away.

When Baek-ki returns to the team, he’s showered by more praise for Geu-rae from his chief and then from Assistant Manager Kang, who thanks Geu-rae in person when he delivers documents to the team. Baek-ki walks off to the break room in outrage. Not being able to contain his anger, he throws his pen and takes a moment to cool off. Just as he’s about to leave, he sees Geu-rae, who has picked up his pen and walks over to hand it to him.

Baek-ki takes it and spits out some biting words. He tells Geu-rae to take care of his own shortcomings before meddling in another’s business. Even in face of spite, Geu-rae maintains his impassive façade, thanks Baek-ki for the warning, and goes back to work.

Geu-rae returns to his desk in a gloomy mood, but his thoughts are interrupted by Seok-yul. He peeks at his work and teases him for improving so much since their intern days. Then he reminisces on his onsite days and explains to Geu-rae that he wants to go back because he fears what he’ll become stuck in the office, hinting at Assistant Manager Sung.

He asks Geu-rae what he was thinking about, and Geu-rae replies that no matter what happens, there is always this distance. Without further explanation, Seok-yul hits the nail right on the head and picks up that he’s referencing Baek-ki. Seok-yul elaborates that with Baek-ki, it’s always one step forward and two steps back. Sounds about right.

Baek-ki goes out for a drink with Bitter Intern (who I’d hope we’d never see again) and gives him updates on Geu-rae. As expected, he’s super bitter about how much Geu-rae has accomplished and meddled with, crediting everything to his connections within the company. He’s clearly still resentful that someone who lacked credentials got hired instead of him.

He asks Baek-ki to be completely honest with him and asks if he really thinks that Geu-rae is like them. “We’re us and he’s him. Equal opportunity my ass. How can he share that opportunity with us? Do you know how much money my mother spent to send me to tutoring? Do you know much struggle she went through? This is discrimination.”

Seeing where he is now compared to Geu-rae, he sarcastically notes that he should have lazed around more during his youth. Baek-ki asks how his work is, and he replies that it’s only temporary, as the ultimate goal is a major corporation. He adds that the only way for them to survive is to score a position at a big corporation.

Geu-rae works the night away at home, polishing his presentation with more jargon to add a professional touch. He reminds himself of Chief Oh’s advice to convince yourself in order to convince others, and he notes that he has a good feeling, a conviction about this report.

The next morning, Dong-shik comments on Geu-rae’s confident attitude, and Chief Chun boosts Geu-rae’s confidence by saying that he’s always full of unique ideas. But Chief Oh deflates the expectations by reminding them that Geu-rae doesn’t really know anything.

Geu-rae wraps up his presentation in front of Chief Oh and Chief Chun, with only the latter giving him an applause. Chief Oh reads right through his strategy of using professional English jargon and criticizes him for using these words without even understanding the language. Chief Chun gives him a compliment, saying that it doesn’t give off an amateur feel, but Chief Oh notes that words aren’t everything — they won’t suffice.

Chief Chun gives Geu-rae an encouraging pat on the arm before following Chief Oh out, but Geu-rae seems completely deflated. Baek-ki walks by the meeting room, and when their eyes meet, he walks away. Geu-rae’s reminded of Baek-ki’s warning that he should compensate for his own flaws before minding other people’s business, and that message hits home.

Young-yi struggles to pay attention at work, and when Chief Jung asks her to print a copy of the Norwegian minerals report, she doesn’t respond until Assistant Manager Ha knocks on her cubicle. She forgets what he’s requesting, runs to the copy room, and runs right back when she realizes she needed to print it. Chief Oh watches this scene (hilariously trying to give Young-yi a friendly wave as she runs back and forth in confusion), and Chief Jung pokes at him, questioning aloud if Young-yi has become Geu-rae for the day. Heh, the petty rivalry.

Upon returning to their desks, Chief Chun asks Chief Oh if he’ll be giving any feedback to Geu-rae. He clearly tried too hard, and it showed, but constructive criticism could help. Chief Oh doesn’t plan on giving any feedback, and Chief Chun comments on his changed behavior towards Geu-rae in this new year. He also asks if there’s any possibility of Geu-rae becoming a permanent employee, but Chief Oh dismisses the possibility and walks away.

Young-yi continues to get sidetracked by her mother’s ringing pleas but tells herself that she’s not going to cave this time. Assistant Manager Ha gives a strange look in response to her uncharacteristic behavior just as her father calls. She ignores the call, but her phone continues to ring as she’s ordered to quickly find the Norwegian contract for Manager Ma, who’s on the phone with Chief Jung.

Her mind clearly not there, she doesn’t remember the passcode to their cabinet. The delay causes Manager Ma to walk over to the team in fury, and Assistant Manager Ha opens the cabinet to find the contract for her. She apologizes and runs off to take the call while Chief Jung gets a kick in the shin by Manager Ma.

Outside, Chief Oh thinks about the possibility of Geu-rae’s permanent employment. His thoughts are interrupted by Young-yi hysterically yelling at her father on the phone. She’s overwhelmed by her father’s casual request for money again, and she hangs up telling him to never call again. Chief Oh is caught eavesdropping, and before he can explain, she runs back into the building for a much needed cry in the stairwell.

The resource team members wonder what’s wrong with Young-yi today, and though Assistant Manager Ha tries to brush it aside, Chief Jung acknowledges that it’s hard to ignore since they see her every day. When she returns, they try to ask what’s going on, but she refuses all her team’s attempts to understand. Assistant Manager Ha scolds her for dragging her personal life into the office and walks off in frustration. Chief Oh walks in and watches Young-yi push through her day.

When he returns to his desk, he sees Geu-rae depressingly reflecting on his status: without basics, any achievement is for naught. Chief Oh thinks about Chief Chun’s suggestion to give Geu-rae feedback and decides to do so. He sits Geu-rae down in a meeting room and hands him an envelope of 100,000 won. He tells him that business is just a fancy word for sales, which has the sole purpose of buying products to sell to a target audience. He gives him the mission to find out the basics of sales by buying something with that money, and selling it (to anyone who isn’t family) by 7 o’clock that evening.

Dong-shik looks through Geu-rae’s report while making copies and quickly concludes that it got rejected. He forgets to take it with him as he leaves, and Baek-ki happens to be the next person making copies. Dong-shik returns for the report with Assistant Manager Kang, who’s there to get some coffee, and since Baek-ki looked through most of it, they ask for his feedback. His criticisms are met with silence, and when Assistant Manager Kang guesses that Geu-rae has been given the 100,000 won mission, he decides to make Baek-ki join him.

Baek-ki’s clearly annoyed to be assigned the same newbie task as Geu-rae and tells him to buy any item; he’ll find a way to sell it. In the meantime, Baek-ki plans on meeting up with a sunbae, and Geu-rae indignantly stares at him as he makes the call.

Back in the office, Dong-shik wonders how Geu-rae is doing and remembers when he was first assigned this task. He was lost trying to figure out what to sell and then had the realization that he should find the cheapest item possible and sell a lot of it. We see Geu-rae running around the streets finding the cheapest item, and in voiceover Chief Oh continues the conversation: “Thinking that you can just sell the cheapest item: that’s the pitfall of this mission.”

Geu-rae finds the cheapest underpants and socks at a street stand and quickly decides to get 100,000 won worth. Carrying two large bags of underpants and socks, he picks up a call from Dong-shik checking on his progress. He replies confidently to his questions, and after he hangs up, Dong-shik and Chief Chun joke about the possibility of Geu-rae getting the cheapest underwear and socks sold on the street. He wouldn’t have, right? Haha.

Seok-yul gets ridiculed by his seniors for the forum mishap, and Assistant Manager Sung jokingly tells them that he’ll do a better job training his newbie. Seok-yul submits the report to him, but it gets ripped up right in front of him. Assistant Manager Sung doesn’t say what was wrong with it and tells him to figure it out with his own resources. Angry tears well up in Seok-yul’s eyes as he holds in his frustration.

Young-yi takes out a limited loan with her newbie status and returns to the office, only to get scolded by Assistant Manager Ha for not fulfilling her duties. Her work falls on another team member, and she still can’t seem to get on top of her work, missing an incoming call. Her team looks at her worriedly, which Assistant Manager Ha expresses in the form of angry yelling, and she apologizes for her lack of focus.

Geu-rae returns with the bags of socks and underpants, and they head over to Baek-ki’s sunbae’s company. He meets with his generous sunbae, who’d previously spent an overwhelming amount of money on a congratulatory dinner. Baek-ki explains that this is a task assigned by their company and asks his sunbae to give him a good offer. The sunbae asks specific questions, like where the product is from and how much he’s selling it for, but Baek-ki doesn’t have clear answers. His sunbae decides not to buy the product and tells him the reason: He doesn’t need it.

They walk out dejected, and Baek-ki scolds Geu-rae for his choice in the items. Geu-rae argues that Baek-ki told him to get anything and continues by acknowledging that he lacks experience and skill — that’s why every moment is more pressing to him. He walks away ready to finish off the task alone, but Baek-ki gets a text from Assistant Manager Kang asking how his mission is going, forcing him to continue with Geu-rae.

The two end up awkwardly standing on a subway train, where they’ve decided to try to sell their items. Baek-ki tries to hide away in the corner and suggests that they find a different location, but Geu-rae seems determined to make some sales. Baek-ki sits down in protest and pretends that he’s not involved.

Geu-rae cautiously greets the crowd in the train and starts to promote the socks to everyone. Baek-ki watches Geu-rae’s earnest attempts to sell the socks and thinks back to his words on how everything is much more urgent for him. Thinking back to his time as an intern, he remembers how hard Geu-rae worked, and he can still see that in him now. At one point, a lady throws down the socks in annoyance, and Baek-ki walks over to help pick them up.

Walking out of the subway station, Geu-rae looks up at the ticking clock and closes his eyes. When he opens them, he takes the bags of items and tells Baek-ki that he’ll be back after selling them. As he walks over to a building, he tells us in voiceover: “A good memory is commendable, but real greatness comes from forgetting.” A montage of his baduk days reveals to us that the building is the place where he spent most of his youth. We see that Baek-ki followed him here, and he looks utterly confused by this building.

Geu-rae walks in and climbs up the stairs. As he approaches the place of his youth, he tells us, “As in all games, once the play has started, you realize how unprepared you actually are. If you want to run away, it’s already too late.” After some hesitation, Geu-rae gets himself to go inside, where he greets his former team leader. Baek-ki follows, still completely confused at why he’s there until he overhears a group of guys talking about how unexpectedly Geu-rae came back.

After a quick greeting, Geu-rae sits down with his team leader to tell him the reason for his visit: selling the underpants and socks. He starts to unpack the items, but his team leader stops him. He gets up, and after a moment of silence, he tells Geu-rae that he thinks he came to the wrong place. Everyone here would buy the items from him, whether it be out of pity or encouragement. It would defeat the purpose of the task, and Geu-rae knows this.

As Baek-ki walks out, he recalls the eavesdropped conversation. They guys talk about what a shame it was for Geu-rae to drop baduk, since he’s much better than the professionals they know now. He started much later than usual to get into the professional sphere, but he advanced enough to be considered one of the best. He was even a smart student while working part-time jobs and practicing baduk. If it weren’t for his family’s financial difficulty, he would be excelling at baduk now. They note that it must have been hard for him to come back here after giving up.

Geu-rae leaves after parting with his team leader, and from afar, Baek-ki watches him as he takes one more look at the building before heading back. When he returns to the subway station, Baek-ki feigns ignorance and acts disappointed that Geu-rae wasn’t able to sell anything. They decide to head back, as their time limit is over, and they walk back together in silence.

Seok-yul concludes another stressful day of work and runs into Young-yi, who’s returning with food for a late night work session. She thrown off by his depressed state and tells him to cheer up, to which he forces a smile.

Chief Oh plays with his cigarette outside as he thinks back to earlier in the day when he asked for any statistics on sales team contract employees with Geu-rae’s education becoming permanent employees. He was told that it’s never happened before, which only makes Geu-rae’s chances worse. Young-yi runs into him outside, and Chief Oh greets his favorite newbie. He asks if he needs to trip anyone again, but Young-yi admits that it’s her fault this time. She mentions the awkward moment earlier in the day, and though Chief Oh pretends not to know, she explains that she always has a hard time with her father.

She asks when Chief Oh plans to leave, and he says that he’s waiting on Geu-rae. Young-yi assures him that Geu-rae is bound to accomplish something, and Chief Oh optimistically agrees.

But from the looks of it, Geu-rae and Baek-ki may return empty-handed, or full-handed in this case. Baek-ki asks if they’re really going to return without a single sale, and Geu-rae dejectedly says that there’s nothing else they can do. A bicycle whizzes by Geu-rae, which seems to bring him to his senses, and he notices a sauna nearby. He suddenly thinks back to all the times that his surrounding coworkers would break to go to the sauna, and he overhears other workers entering the sauna complaining about wearing the same underpants after washing up.

He hands Baek-ki the bags of items and runs off to get a bottle of soju. When he returns, he tells Baek-ki that they can sell their items right here in front of the sauna and gives Baek-ki the soju, as he seemed to need it while they were in the subway. And so drunk sales times ensue, with Geu-rae and Baek-ki both being the loud obnoxious salesmen they need to be. They catch the attention of their fellow senior salarymen and other passersby, successfully selling their items. Baek-ki is amused by drunk Geu-rae, and they seem to have a good time. Nothing a little soju couldn’t fix.

Geu-rae returns to the office still drunk yet satisfied with his sales feat. He sold everything, and Chief Oh seems pleasantly surprised with the result despite the time. He tells Geu-rae that it’s not about selling everything and asks what he learned. Geu-rae starts slurring some drunk explanations, but Chief Oh yells at him to sober up and submit a report by tomorrow morning.

After sobering up and finishing his report, Geu-rae turns off the lights and starts to exit when he sees that Baek-ki is doing the same. Their awkwardness is back, and Baek-ki breaks the silence by giving some acknowledgement: “I don’t believe we’re at the same level, but still… I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 
COMMENTS

Another wave of struggles passes through One International, and the newbies continue to maneuver their way to make it out alive. I was waiting for this interaction between Geu-rae and Baek-ki, and I am so glad that it finally happened with an extra dose of drunk shenanigans. The understanding and acknowledgement between these two is long overdue, well-deserved, and much more rewarding with the wait. To be honest, it was mostly due to Baek-ki, who needed to stop taking two steps back every time he took one forward. Thanks to the newbie mission and the chance to get a glimpse into Geu-rae’s life, Baek-ki was able to take leaps forward from entitlement and jealousy to sympathy and pity, and even empathy and respect.

It’s a matter of understanding where people came from. Bitter Intern isn’t just bitter because he thinks he’s better. Okay, maybe that’s actually all there is for him and he’s just stuck at the stage of entitlement and jealousy. But we see that his resentment does have a reason. He doesn’t see the same struggles he faced reflected in Geu-rae. And therein lies the problem: He’s comparing apples to oranges. He’s missing the context of Geu-rae’s life, and by directly comparing his credentials to Geu-rae’s lack of them, he sees a very simple answer to a quite complex issue. Luckily, Bitter Intern isn’t the one at the office — Baek-ki is, and he now has a better understanding of Geu-rae’s context.

I like the complexity of Baek-ki’s character, and I can see Kang Haneul staying true to his mission of taking on interesting characters. Baek-ki isn’t constantly malicious, but he has enough malice and pride to make him a flawed yet realistic character. And most of his nasty words have some truth in them. At the time, they seem to be direct results of his envy and entitlement, but they have enough truth to resonate with Geu-rae later on. Sometimes, I can get wrapped up in rooting for the underdog that I forget that he doesn’t actually belong there. Baek-ki’s that character who constantly reminds me that Geu-rae’s not qualified, but in a good way. He’s the one that reminds us that Geu-rae’s not a geeeenius and that getting to this position usually takes a lot more than memorization and intuitive smarts. Geu-rae still has a ways to go.

As does Seok-yul, but more with finding a good balance for his pride. I wish that Seok-yul had more screen time to grow because he seems so behind with his character arc compared to his fellow newbies. I can’t really tell who’s at fault for this continued tension between Seok-yul and Assistant Manager Sung. It’s something that this show does well — lots of nuances and gray areas. It does seem like both parties are at fault, but I’m leaning towards Seok-yul for the bigger part of the blame. While part of me wants him to continue his anarchist streak of fighting The Man, I understand that there is a time and place in the workplace. That’s a lesson that the rest of our newbies have learned: that it’s foolish to fight the powerful as the powerless. It’s a practical choice, and I want Seok-yul to learn this. I admire his persistence in sticking to his guns, but it’s crushing his spirit. I want bubbly, gregarious, gossip queen Seok-yul back.

Young-yi is a strong and fiercely independent woman, and all those characteristics make her an admirable yet fatally flawed character. You can see just how foolishly strong she is in this episode when she’s forced to embrace all her family’s monetary debt despite her obvious resentment towards her parents. And she doesn’t tell anyone about this. She purposefully isolates herself so that she can be her own person without the baggage of pity she could possibly get with the exposure of her vulnerabilities. She became this independent person to escape the burdens, but if there’s something you can never escape, it’s the burden of family. That’s where all her logic is flawed and backwards. She’s only building the pressure inside of her by keeping everything to herself, and her strong and independent façade is bound to crack. I’m sure the newbies would have her back if she lightened some of her burdens on them.

As would our resident Newbie Guardian Angel Chief Oh. I really hope he continues his trend of being that guardian angel because the other two — Seok-yul and Young-yi — could sure use his help. But wait! His newbie still needs his help. Geu-rae needs a permanent home. Where else is he going to go when he’s an adorable drunk who’s proud of his achievement of selling underpants and socks?

 
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Thanks so much for the recap. Gotta say that whole entitlement/privilege section and the talk between Baek Ki and Bitter Entitled guy got me so angry i wanted to scream. I kept remembering Young Yi's comment about "Are you so greedy that you are jealous of the little scrap a poor guy gets?"

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The Bitter Intern "almost monologue" was a highlight of the episode, I think. A very clever way to develop the relationship between Baek-ki and Geu-rae, and from my point of view much more effective than the 45 minutes of "underware" subplot ...

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I was so angry during that scene all my political anger and impatience about privilege just floated up to the top. I could've killed!

And yes...good way to handle Baek Ki's growth and muddled conscience/muddle enlightenement.

Am pretty glad there is equal opportunity in these companies...but seriously annoyed that the same problem pops up there as in here...all that reverse discrimination stuff.

I wanted to say to Mr Bitter: Wow! Your mom had extra money to send you to all those cram schools! Geu-Rae's mom worked as hard as your mom and maybe as hard as Young Yi but being a poor laundreywoman/widow, the pay she got was just enough to put a little food on the table! Oh my teeth were so clenched washing him. Probably didn't help that i was arguing with folks on facebook about "privilege."

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Then again, he is not very different from "us" viewers who write angry comments about nakasan characters on other K-dramas, where those characters "steal" hard-working people's positions despite the fact that the show told us nothing about those nakasan lifes ...

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Bitter Intern was awful but at the same time I can see where he is coming from. Sure he's putting himself on a pedastal, while treating Geu Rae like this connection trash.

But like many characters in the drama, everyone has their story and flaws. While he may seem like a weasel and total douchebag, he did go to cram school, and studied overseas, so that he could find a good job. Similar to Geu Rae he put in effort, or least "tried" to do well, and work towards getting a good job. Just because someone has the privilege of not worrying financially, doesn't mean they didn't put any effort in trying. I think the fact that he was a intern at One International must mean he isn't stupid, plus the fact that he's still able to find another business job.

I don't believe Bitter Intern is a one dimensional character, I'm sure there are actually plenty of people in real life who are in his situation. He's just like Baekki in the beginning, someone who never had the opportunity to see Geu Rae's side of the story.

Of course his horrible personality doesn't make him any likeable.

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That last sentence! Who would want to hire such a person? And really..are companies made up only of intelligent people who know how to do business? One needs people who can get along with others. Other people who treat people as equals. Some of the folks in this company are downright horrible and are more detrimental to the company than anything. Bitter probably didn't get the job because at the presentation he presented/showed himself to be an arrogant asshole.

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Who would want to hire Bitter Intern? Probably the same kind of person who hired AND kept promoting Mr. Ma....

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"..Probably the same kind of person who hired AND kept promoting Mr. Ma…."

Gosh, What this guy did a the presentation making a power point @ a girl'd day in the office, he'd get a red carpet welcome into Ma's team right away. His constantly touching Young-yi , he is as sexist as Mr Ma if not worse. At he isnt even in a place of power in the office. Just a trainee.

His education and entitlement will get him a job, perhaps even his errant ways to make a sell (the ppt presentation example again) but he is a very vile character. And beak-gi wasn't ready to jump ship at all. He infact even acknowledged Gue-rae's performance.

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I kind of thought maybe the work stuff in Misaeng was over-drawn and then I read this in today's New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/world/asia/korean-air-executive-resigns-post-after-halting-flight-over-snack-service.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Daughter of the owner of KAL (and a company VP) made a flight turn back to the gate at JFK before take-off because the flight attendant didn't open her bag of nuts and put them on a plate for her. At least she is being crucified in the SK press and online. But the article includes one or two other real horror stories.

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I sort of liked that scene... mostly because you could see that Baek-ki was conflicted – which means he has come a long way. Bitter Guy went somewhere else, and had no chance to develop, but Baek-ki has been working with Geu-rae for more than a year now, and although his jealousy (due to that same entitlement) is still there, he coudn't straight-out agree with the Bitter Guy anymore. You can see he wants to agree with the Bitter Guy because it's easier, and it's what he has believed up to now, but it's a "Yes, but...." that's on the tip of his tongue (he even changes topics when BG tries to push him to answer). Because with all of Geu-rae's 'flaws', 'lacking qualifications' Baek-ki knows there are other things.

I wouldn't even say that Baek-ki quite gets there by the end of the episode (with the soju-helped bonding over socks & underwear), but he takes a huge leap forwards (with another realisation to dawn on him in the next episode).

Their entitlement is infuriating, but here's the thing: these entitled guys have lived in a bubble. They don't know how to empathise with people outside that bubble, how to understand their reality – in this case, the fact that Geu-rae has worked just as hard as them (indeed, BG is whining over all the hard work his mother put in for him, but we know that Geu-rae did all the hard work himself, working menial jobs at dawn) without ever getting the same opportunities. Of course BG and Baek-ki should know how to empathise with people from a different socio-economic background, but imagine if Geu-rae hadn't shown up... Baek-ki would have just been working with other highly-educated people like him, with little reason to look out side his bubble. (Sad, but reality is often like that.)

The thing that makes me most angry is the company – how they don't want to support and further someone who is showing immense promise just because it's not normally done. There is someone who could succeed, but they just can't be bothered. And it's infuriating because afterwards they'll just say "people like that are no good"... but they don't give them the chance to be good! (okay, I'm crossing over into the next ep so I'll shut up now :-D)

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Absolutely agree. Baek-ki's silent non-answers and facial expressions did so much to flesh out his relation to Geu-rae. Great TV.

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I didn't say that i disliked the scene. ust that it made me very angry. Some great scenes are supposed to make folks angry. One can dislike a scene that makes one angry. :-)

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I know :-D

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"The thing that makes me most angry is the company – how they don’t want to support and further someone who is showing immense promise just because it’s not normally done"....This basically explained why characters like Bitter Intern and Baek Ki live in their entitled bubble. They're reared in a culture where a piece of paper ie. their diploma, count for the most instead of intelligence, intuition and plain experience.

I had an extremely difficult time to wrap my mind around the fact that these contract employees will not be hired permanently because why would a company not want someone with true experience?! What we learned in school is mostly theoretical and sure, school gave us some basic tools to navigate the professional environment but ultimately, you ALWAYS learn on the job. And for this company to discard these valuable employees after spending all that time training them?! That's such a stupid ass way to function as a company in my opinion.

But then I finally remember the insane pressure Korea put on their students with the college entrance test and it makes sense in that it's a culture that value the prestige of an educational institution over everything else. We do have this same thing in America but I don't think it's ever a policy to not hire someone who has proved their worth because they lack that diploma. Sure their pay maybe lower but to let them go completely? I don't think so.

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Thanks for pointing this out. You echoed my thoughts exactly. In America, a person like Geu Rae would be hired by One International as a permanent staff. Very likely with a lower pay, but would still be hired because he has such raw potential and shows such promise. I guess that's why it's called the land of opportunity, and we can't expect every country to have the same thought process.

Here's a question which resonates mostly for episode 14 but is not out of place here: Are there any rules thst state that Geu Rae's two year contract can't be renewed? If not, then it would do away with much of the problems Geu Rae is facing about lack of continuity. Does extending his contract or renewing it violate any Korean laws?. I do hope Chief Oh explores this as a viable alternative to hiring him full time due to his lack of qualifications.

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I think in contract positions, rehiring and extending the contract really depends on HR. So there's forever the fear of being let go instead of an ease of assurance at work when you are permanent staff.

And since you can be let go anytime, there's many privileges that you will not be able to enjoy and work you cannot undertake compared to permanent employees.

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this gets addressed in the next episode because Chief Oh asks about it.

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The first time I didn't like an episode of Misaeng, mostly because I felt that the episode had very little to offer other than variations of regression.
Chief Oh is back to what he was when Geu-rae was still an intern. Geu-rae is back to what he was when he was still an intern.
We learn something more about Young-yi's weakness (thank you for pointing out the "strong independend woman" theme btw), though this includes a different kind of regression in itself.

I really, really hope that this is NOT the result of the common problem of K-drama, namely that the airing of the show caught up with the writing and filming, and we are about to see a sharp drop in production value, plot cohesion and continuity (that ruined oh so many great shows before).

Misaeng is still a fantastic show, of course, and no matter what will happen in the remaining 5 episodes, nothing can change that. Still it would be a shame if the 3rd act of the drama would turn out to be the weak link of the show. So much, in terms of memorability and cultural impact depends on a well done conclusion.

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The "underware" plot:

The whole underware&socks plot seemed unnecessary to me. It didn't manage to do anything that the show hadn't done much better before. One could argue that it helped to develop the relationship of Baek-ki and Geu-rae, but only a tiny little bit, and the way Baek-ki was inserted into that plot felt really forced to me, starting from the heavy-handed ship crisis. ("Oh, the ship took damage? How about you fix the damage?" - "Wow! Fix the damage! That's genius! Why didn't anybody think about that?")

There are also a lot of things that I didn't understand. What's the point of sending your employees on a wild goose chase where they might or might not learn a tiny lesson they should have learned a long time ago? How is that better than giving any kind of actual useful advice or feedback on his business proposal? Wasn't one of the themes in recent episodes how understaffed teams are and how much they need the team members to do actual work? Now they not only send their team members away to do nonsense, they don't even supervise them, but then the team spend time to discuss hypotheses on what they might be doing right now. Is there no actual work to do?
Why would Geu-rae buy overpriced low-quality mass products on the street? What was his plan? Well, we find out he doesn't have a plan, which is totally out-of-character for Geu-rae. He somehow took Baek-ki's word for it that Baek-ki would sell anything, instead of Geu-rae trying to solve his tasks on his own. Which is, again, totally out-of-character. Baek-ki tries to rely on his connections instead of doing real work, but that's just the repetition of a theme the show already explored much better before. Also, didn't Baek-ki already learn a lesson that he needs to improve his basics? Why the regression? Now Geu-rae tries to use his connections and needs to be reminded that this is not what his test is about. Repetition, regression, and out of character. I also didn't understand the metro sequence. There seems to be some kind of cultural trope involved, I guess, remembering the metro scene from "Miss Korea". Yes, Geu-rae is willing to put his pride away to do his "job", while Baek-ki isn't. We've known that before.

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I gotta admit that i totally thought of the sauna the minute he bought the underwear. Maybe it was the sauna scene in previous episode or me just thinking of korean saunas. But although this is one of the first episodes where i totally could guess what was coming, i don't think the underwear scenes were totally unimportant.

I used to teach and the one thing we learn about learning is that learning must be coupled with emotions in order for it to take. It's like trying to learn a language. If one merely memorizes, it'll take forever to learn. But if one's emotions are engaged with the vocabulary, then learning becomes easier. This is basic to all kinds of learning and integral to teaching the learning disabled.

The patching the ship is a case of experts not being able to see the simple things. They are so used to mega-complicated response so yeah a childlike mind would ask, "Why can't they patch it?" And this is what infuriates Baek Ki so much about Geu Rae. Geu Rae is totally ignorant and totally unaware of what cannot be done. That is the kind of mindset that Exec Director needs. Someone who can see with new eyes. (Doesn't help matters that GR is so humble either..because one can see that he isn't even trying to do strange things.)

Remember, the person who wanted tomatoes in winter are the type who have childlike minds and end up inventing stuff like refrigerators.

I remember reading a story about editors and slush pile readers for magazines back in the day. Seems this newspaper and magazine wanted new eyes to buy stories from the slush pile. They would hire new girls who knew nothing and only knew what they liked. Then the girls would start understanding the editorial world/lingo/concepts...and the next thing they had grown out of their innocence and were buying stories like their predescessors.

So Geu Rae isn't super genius as dramallama said. HE just has intuition, gumption, and unbiased eyes.

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"I used to teach and the one thing we learn about learning is that learning must be coupled with emotions in order for it to take. It’s like trying to learn a language. If one merely memorizes, it’ll take forever to learn. But if one’s emotions are engaged with the vocabulary, then learning becomes easier. This is basic to all kinds of learning and integral to teaching the learning disabled."

Well, yes. However, what did they actually learn? And by what coincidence? That's kind of the problem here for me, if you want them to learn a _certain_ lesson, you still need to provide guiding even in a non-diskursive and more empirical way of learning. Otherwise it will, in 9 times out of 10, be just a waste of time and even counterproductive. In this case, the actual lesson is minimal _and_ coincidental.

"The patching the ship is a case of experts not being able to see the simple things. They are so used to mega-complicated response so yeah a childlike mind would ask, “Why can’t they patch it?” And this is what infuriates Baek Ki so much about Geu Rae. Geu Rae is totally ignorant and totally unaware of what cannot be done. That is the kind of mindset that Exec Director needs. Someone who can see with new eyes. (Doesn’t help matters that GR is so humble either..because one can see that he isn’t even trying to do strange things.)"

Well, that might have been the case if it was by any stretch some kind of insight problem. But it really, really isn't. I cannot believe for a single second that Geu-rae is the only person out of all people, including the ship's crew, the monitoring people, etc. pp., who thinks that the most natural reaction to "it is broken" is to think "well, try to fix it". It was MY first, involuntarily reaction, really.

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I agree..it was odd that no one else thought of patching the ship but stories are about manipulation so certain things have to be manipulated.

Re: the learning. IT seems to be something that is done routinely in offices. As the guys outside the sauna said. So although the sockbuyers were kind and helpful because they identified, our newbies learned that when making a proposal they can't just create or buy something to sell. They have to buy the right quality product at the appropriate price and sell it at a profit. And i think humiliation in this cause taught our newbies not to think too highly of "a good deal" simply because it's a good deal.

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I wanted to comment on carole mcdonnell's reply below but there was no reply button.

"So although the sockbuyers were kind and helpful because they identified, our newbies learned that when making a proposal they can’t just create or buy something to sell. They have to buy the right quality product at the appropriate price and sell it at a profit."

Uhm, I don't think that was the lesson they were trying to teach. What chief oh is trying to teach is that they can't just buy and sell anything without first considering their target market. That's what Baek ki's senior also pointed out. That he wouldn't buy their product because he has no need for it, and that their answers show that they didn't really buy the product with him as the future owner in mind. It wasn't about quality and mark-ups, although I'm sure they also have methods to teach them that... it just wasn't this one.

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Manager Oh felt the best way to teach the importance of understanding what your market is, is by experiencing the process firsthand than hearing from your superiors what is right or wrong. Geu-rae may work well and think appropriately in the office, but outside is a different environment.

The train segment invoked a sense of frustration/helplessness. You try so hard, you throw away your pride, yet you fail miserably and you're still desperate for success. The working culture in Korea forces you into that position and is something we can connect to when we watch this scene. Yes, we have seen these emotions/feelings portrayed in previous episodes, but it would be strange not to see them repeatedly. These newbies aren't perfect and the process won't run smoothly. They are going to struggle or be out of character. That happens to all of us

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I didn't mind the socks/underwear plot. I think this is groundwork for the bigger picture of getting GR hired permanently (at least somewhere).

It's actually a bit of a reversal from the beginning of the show. In the beginning, Manager Oh was like, you don't even know the language of business. So GR memorizes the trade dictionary and works on developing his "professionalism." Now, we have the comment by the assistant manager than GR no longer has the stink of amateur on him, but there's something missing, something fairly important.

He had nothing, now GR has the ability to work in a company. But this is a TRADE company, and he needs to understand what it is to sell. This is a fairly major point (though I do agree that the setup was a little forced as to BG joining the mission).

I think the point is that it is not enough to have somethign to sell. The most important thing is to find what is needed. It's not clear whether there will be a human element to this yet, but from a work-drama poitn of view, I don't think it's a bad point to make. People often forget that you can sit behind a computer all day, but somewhere down the line, there is buying and selling, and if you lose sight of that, the company suffers.

Personally, I think this is a setup. My theory is that Manager Oh is struggling to find a way to get GR hired permanently, though no one without a college degree has ever done so. One of the themes that has been coursing through the show is GR finding non-traditional routes to traditional problems.
My suspicion is that GR learns from his sock/underwear mission, develops his selling strategy further, and then develops a major deal. It will be the deal that allows his superiors to see beyond the fact that he doesn't have a degree.

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Ahn "strong independend woman" Young-yi

Young-yi finally shows some serious weakness. I should be happy, shouldn't I? I guess I am hard to please after all. Geu-rae's weakness is his lack of education and confidence. Baek-ki's weakness is his pride and entitlement attitude. Seok-yul's weakness is his impatience. I could go on and on how about all these male characters have personal flaws that result in the corresponding conflicts in their professional (and sometimes personal) lifes. Young-yi, one of the two female characters in the office and our strong independend woman archetype, has a weakness too. Her weakness is ... men.

Well, sure, she had her (unfair) share of professional conflict, and sometimes that resulted in some evening drinking session, but that never stopped her from getting up next morning, being the professional, "confident" and aloof determinator that she is.
The only time we see her losing her professional demeanour was when she was confronted with that ex-boss (and mentor, maybe lover to some degree). And now when she has to "face" her father. There is nothing wrong with this kind of conflict per se, but I cannot help to notice the unfortunate implications. Young-yi is a very strong, very independend, extremely competent woman, as long as she doesn't have to deal with an authoritative male she has a personal relationship with.
Both of her big conflicts come from personal, non-office related relationships, with her mentor/maybe-lover and her father - the two roles that in traditional chauvinist literature are used to define female "characters". Pretty much all of the male characters get conflicts that are office-related instead of "just" personal ones. It's almost "men do, women are" all over again.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, it gets worse with how her team reacts to that. She turns from that suspiciously competent, disgustingly professional young woman into a passive, apologetic, pathetic and pitiful victim. And her team loves it. Finally they can treat her as that helpless girl they want to see her as. They finally can follow their male instincts and stand up for her to defend her against Mr Ma's physical abuses.
The silver lining for me was the behaviour of Mr. Ha, simply because he keeps his rudeness and bluntness up and doesn't victimize her. He simply treats her like a subordinate who isn't doing her job right.

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I don't think Geu Rae is proud at all. So he doesn't have any proud to put away.

His weakness is lack of education yes but it is also that his weakness are his strengths. As for Baek ki, his strengths are his weaknesses. He is well-studied. He understands politics. He understands a lot about the world. But that kind of over-education severely limits him. He's like a very well-made poem that says nothing new.

Young Yi's problem is that she is way too self-reliant and insular. If she were a guy, she'd still have that problem. She doesn't even share her sorrows with the other newbies. She's the opposite of Seuk Yul who is very open-hearted. She'll comment on other people's lives and will help her newbie friends but she doesn't allow anyone to help her.

Seuk Yul, poor soul, isn't generally impatient. He's tolerated a lot. Baek Ki is more impatient than Seuk Yul is. Seuk Yul just is too human. He understood that humanity is part of the workplace and he was always the most openly human of the newbies, not hiding his thoughts. Maybe it's from his blue collar life. Blue collar guys say what they mean when they hang out. It's a class thing. In addition, there is a lot of collaboration in the blue collar world. After all, they have to cooperate with each other to work those big machines. The office folks aren't generally like that. So Seuk Yul is really dealing more with a class situation than with an impatience situation.

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From what we've seen in the flashbacks, Young-yi wasn't as "remote" as she is now at her former company. Which lead me to believe her current demeanour has to do with the relationship to that guy at the other company. It doesn't help that her worst behaviour is brought out by him (and, now, even worse, by her father).

I agree with your evaluation of Seok-yul, but that's beside my point: Seok-yul got his character traits (positive ones and flaws) from his environment, such as his family (+ traditions), his work experiences and such, and his conflicts are (when they are not sexual harassment played for laughs) office-related ones. And it's the same for most of the other characters. Mr. Oh has some conflict deriving from his relations to his wife and kids, but this is heavily overshadowed by his flaws and corresponding conflicts in office life.
When it comes to the female office characters, well, Mrs. Sun had two major conflicts so far: her not-played-for-laugh sexual harassment conflict with Mr. Ma, and her struggle as a mother.
Young-yi, well, ...

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Her current demeanor has everything to do with her current co-workers. At the beginning of the story, she was outgoing and friendly because her co-workers supported her even though she was an intern. She does not have a "male authority" problem.

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<Her weakness is … men.

I totally don't think her weakness is men.

Or if her weakness is men, it's only because Korea is a patriarchal society and that's the thing she has to struggle against because it's outside her control.

Mr. Ha treats her terribly regardless of whether she is failing at her job or excelling at it. Her co-workers defend her, yes, but for me this was because they are starting to see her has a human being of equal value and with feelings (just like them) not a "male instinct" to defend the weak female. We are all weak sometimes and need help, and I'm not going to interpret every time a guy helps me, it's because I'm a weak female. It's a human being helping a human being in my book.

Ep 16 reinforces this – it's not about male/female there at all, but about a boss (who is insane imo) who lashes out verbally and physically against anyone that doesn't kiss up to him. They all need help there.

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That's why I said "unfortunate implications". Her team never really cared about her up to this point. Yes, they cut back on abusing her, but they never defended her against Mr. Ma either.
The first time this happens was in this episode, right when she was turned into a helpless victim by her father.

There is nothing wrong with helping a person who struggles. What rubs me the wrong way is the way this is - maybe even unwittingly - framed. I've seen this kind of thing WAY to often not to notice a certain pattern:

A strong, independent but also aloof female has an emotional breakdown because of a male person with some authority over her (in worst cases, because of violence) to soften her up both for other male characters to trigger their protective instincts, but also for the audience to sympathise with her.

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I think they started "thawing" before this episode, and expressing concerns for her before, even if sometimes by yelling at her (when she was driving the van). She didn't need their defense before, she was strong ("perfect" as some have said) enough by herself, but her family issue came out now and it's her achilles heal, her one weak bit that makes her fall apart.

I don't see it as a male/female thing, it's still human empathy to me. I also feel what these recent episodes have revealed more and more clearly is that a) the other three employees are actually quite different from each other (one is more sensitive towards her, another more "traditionally" defensive) and that b) part of the way they have been behaving (esp in relation to Mr Ma) has to do with the fact that they are "old" employees who have long been cowering and just following Mr Ma, while Young-yi is the "new" one, the one that still stands strong and defiant on her own.

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I see how Young Yi and I share a weakness; in order to survive in an autocratic professional world, we/I refused to ever ask for help to the point where we hurt ourselves. Obviously, this is conditioned by sexism, but not being able to ask for help, or accept it when it is offered, can mean that other people resent you because they see this as arrogance. They feel pushed away. It's a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't kind of thing, but I don't see this as "her problem is men."

Baek Ki has to do more than recognize Geu Rae's struggles; he has to curb his spite. When he is faced with Bitter Intern's spiteful rantings, I think he starts to recognize the ugly mirror that is being held up to him. One of the reasons I went from disliking Seuk Yul when we first met him and he was such an ass, to deciding that I like him after all is because he was able to HEAR Geu Rae during their sales duel, and took a step toward him.

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<he starts to recognize the ugly mirror that is being held up to him

Ohh, that's a nice way of putting it. Well said!

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I think one of her bosses has shown some guilt over treating her in this awful way before, Mr. Ha, I think it's his name, his turning point was in the episode she drives all night, quite a few eps ago. Also, it's kind of wrong to put all her family problems on the dad I got the impression was very angry with the mother as well, just because her father caused the debt doesn't mean the fault is entirely his. I also don't see her as having any man problems.

The only thing that troubles me in the Yy situation is that sometimes it seems the show is sending a message that all that violence aimed at her is something she just has to endure to move forward and I just want to call a lawyer!

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Jon G, Young-yi team members have no clue about her problem. She just mentions her father in a terse comment to Mr Oh. They have started acknowledging her as a valuable team mate who knows her work and is professional. So when she loses it completely one day, they get concerned. Something is wrong they know, but what it is they do not. And it is this concern that get them worried and sort of create space to acknowledge her mess. Mr Ha was the ass he usually is without any empathy or sympathy.

May be someone has written this in the comments, am still reading top to bottom and Jon G's take on YY got me a little worked up. If Ive repeated what is written, apol in advance.

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Team 2's shock over the supervisors unwarranted vitriol towards Young-yi was a wake-up call for them. They recognized themselves in his hatred and felt ashamed. The same thing happened with Baek-ki and bitter intern guy. His response was 'Am I a monster like that too?'

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"We are all weak sometimes and need help, and I'm not going to interpret every time a guy helps me, it's because I'm a weak female. It's a human being helping a human being in my book" Brava!

Also -- can anyone clarify something for me? -- in the conversation with her father I think YY mentioned that her father (or she on behalf of him?) had borrowed money from Team Leader Shin or somebody -- isn't that the guy she was embarrassed to see at the meeting? So maybe a former mentor but not lover?

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... ... Men?

I agree that Young Yi's weakness is men, only because the men in her life are asses. She crumbles in front of them because they're asses, first and foremost, before because they are men.

For example with her team. What else could she have done other than just take it in then? Report them? Holler at them? They were so much bigger than her, experience-wise and power-wise. If she had tried to retaliate, she would just have become another SeokYul and we all know how that turned out. In dealing with workplace shenanigans against women, Manager Sun might have shown to be able to stand up against it - but again, that's only because she's a long-time worker with significant power and standing in the company. Ahn YoungYi is a miserable, insignificant ant.

With her father, what was she supposed to do? Sure, perhaps she could leave him alone to die on the streets, but then what about her mother? I get the sense that she's much closer to her mother and however hard she can try to ignore, her guilt about her mother will never let her turn away. And that's why one of the best luck in life is to be born to a good family. It's hard to leave the people who raised you, whether they're loving pillars of strengths or whether they're complete, troublesome idiots.

I will only agree with your conclusion that YoungYi's weakness is men if, one day, she bows down (and I don't mean physically) to Chief Oh, who remains one of the few non-ass male superiors that she has. (Or if she defers to Jang GeuRae, Jang BaekKi or Han SukYeol, which I can't even imagine her doing.)

Other than that, I'm concluding that he weakness is ass-like people. But of course, we're all entitled to our own opinions.

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Okay, rant (almost) over. Sorry for that.

I haven't have time yet to watch the 16th episode, and I'm not sure whether I should hope that they simply ignore the whole episode and pretend it never happened or I should hope for them to try and incorporate what little development we got and turn it into full fleshed arcs somehow. Surprise me, show :)

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Ah, watch it, chingu! IT was quite good.

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You should, maybe your criticisms will be taken back after seeing it. I don't see why you would rant so much about this show if you weren't going to continue watching!

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true growth involves regression sometimes. Like Baek ki. ;-) It seemed very true to life. There are subtle changes to growth so you have to look for subtleties. Chief Oh isn't the same as he was. The former Chief Oh was a bit like Baek ki because he thought Geu Rae was a parachute. So his present attitude is more protective. He is being cruel to kind in many ways..to not hurt someone. Totally different.

Geu Rae is not in the same position either. In the first instance, he was fighting to be included. Now, he is fighting not to leave his friends. There is heart and friendship involved here...and broken heart as well because he has to deal with Baek ki not being the friend he thought he was.

Young Yi has to learn to trust those who had formerly treated her as an outsider. It's by increments and i don't mind seeing the tiny inching movements. How does one allow those who treated one like dirt to become one's allies?

There are various stages to being an outsider...and all the aspects of the theme and variations of being an insider/outsider and knowing how to play the political game were being explored.

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Yes, very early Oh was like that, but he warmed up to Geu-rae pretty fast, and tried not to show it. The actor played that kind of "Aaaaw, he is so adorkable but he probably wont make it so I'll try not to encourage his enthusiasm" very similar he plays his character right now. (He was overtly dismissive of Geu-rae's impressive progress as an intern, maybe not quite to the extend he tries to discourage Geu-rae right now.) And the situation is, indeed, very similar.

I don't think Geu-rae is so dense that he didn't pick up any of the million signs of Baek-ki's somewhat unfriendly attitude towards him. Not to mention Seok-yul talking about Baek-ki's jealousy in front of Geu-rae. Twice.
If Geu-rae was - at any time after episode 2 - under the impression that Baek-ki was his friend, he didn't pay attention at all.

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it's not denseness. it's humility..and seeing the learning potential in all situations. Think of him as a disciple of "the way of the baduk player" kind o' thing.

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Maybe we use different definitions of what the word "friend" means. I don't think Geu-rae is socially handicapped or anything. He picked up the way he was treated by the other interns pretty fast (though not always the reasons WHY he was treated that way).
He does treat Baek-ki nicely and respectful and anything, but I really, really don't think it's the "loss" of Baek-ki's friendship he fears to lose when he thinks about his contract ending.
(In fact, I even would extend that to the other friendly co-workers, with the exception of Mr Oh. Who isn't his friend either. I said it before, Geu-rae has a one-sided and unhealthy romantic relationship with One International. And THAT'S what he fears to lose.)

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Geu Rae was always a loner. At last he became part of a group. Uri. Kecho. Kasi. The first time in his life he belongs. I think he sees them as friends..or as allies. The last allies he had were the baduk players..and that is somewhat lost (unless Exec Dir plays baduk with him a lot.)This is the loss i mean...the loss the contract means.

HE understood Baek ki had issues with him. But I think he thought Baek ki was like him...in that Geu Rae is always working on himself and is somewhat morbidly introspective and has come from a world where you listen to advice in order to change. I really feel that Geu Rae understood Baek ki's attitude toward him but Geu Rae also felt that Baek ki was working against that. In Geu Rae's mind, friends understand each other's imperfection. Everyone likes and deals with each other, just as everyone likes and deals with Seuk Yul's gossip. That's what life is. But the hurt he felt at the loss of the "friendship" with Baek ki is that Baek ki didn't fight the evil jealousy within. Geu Rae had assumed he would.

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<I think he sees them as friends..or as allies.

Allies more so than friends.

I still don't feel he has a full grasp of what friendship entails. It's not that long ago that he was wandering by the river around New Year's, thinking to himself that he has no one to call up and ask to share that time with. And it's still in these episodes that all the newbies are struggling, yet they don't reach out to each other the way friends do – I mean, if I were them, I'd invite the others (or whichever one I was closest to) to my house, we'd whine and rant about work, eat pizza, watch a movie, sleep over, whatever. The most they all do is go for a drink together, and then they walk each totter home alone. With the other newbies I assume they've had friends in past (and might have them now, outside work, though that is less clear) and are just keeping somewhat of a professional distance with their co-workers, but with Geu-rae I feel he doesn't have any experience of this at all. But he could have called up at least Seok-kyul within the first couple of months of knowing him and they could long be best buddies already, because Seok-kyul is open enough for that.

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I always saw Geu Rae as being exquisitely aware of exactly how Baek Ki was dissing him, from that first incident with the shredder to each and every cutting, dismissive remark BK made. There is always that extra beat, as Geu Rae looks him directly in the eyes, and doesn't say "you are being an ass, Baek Ki."

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@ Joanna. Agreed. Geu Rae is perfectly aware how Baek ki feels about him. He'd be dense not to. And it always comes out in the extra long pauses or stares Geu Rae gives Baek ki when interacting with him. Since Jang Geu Rae's expressions are so subtle, it might be easy to miss, but notice how free he is with his Sales Team 3 members, and to a lesser extent with Seok Yeol and Young yi, but how careful he is in his interactions with Baek ki.

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@Joanna & Adal: agree, Geu Rae's no-one's fool - he knows how Baek Ki feels towards him (even if he may not have noticed how BK feels about YY). GR's not deaf either - no doubt he's heard similar comments in the coffee room, etc, and he's never denied he got in through his connections/personal introduction.

But GR's also honest enough to know that BK's barbed comments have a grain of truth, and humble enough to know that he can still learn from BK. That's why (imo) he hasn't borne a grudge against BK for the lack of friendly overtures. That, plus the fact that he's usually got bigger problems than BK to deal with.

What makes me curious sometimes is how far Geu Rae has come from his initial mantra of "It's because I didn't work hard enough" to "Do I need permission to be greedy?" On the one hand, I'm rooting all the way for GR's underdog adventures, but if I stop to think about it, it feels a bit discordant. Never mind, I'm overthinking!

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ive never managed to master the requierments to comment but thankfully i do so agree with your thoughtful insights i dont have to.

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Wow, I agree with everything you say, now I don't have to actually sit down and write it myself haha.

Anyway, contrary to your feelings, these last episodes have changed my overall thoughts and appreciation of the show, and I'm not sure it can or will fulfill the high expectations I had for it.

There's just so much OOC and characterization fail for my taste.

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Thanks so much for the recap!?

something was bugging me while watching this episode...what other shows has the actor playing Bitter Intern been in? I could have sworn I have seen him in something else playing a similar Draco Malfoy-esque character...

He has such a perfect entitled, sneering face...I hope he's not getting too typecast!

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You're perhaps thinking of Monstar? He played the weasily Jae-rok. He seems to be very good at playing characters you want to smack round the face :)

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Ah yes, that was it! And he played against Kang Haneul in that as well...

Wasn't Monstar the same PD as well? If it is, I'm glad he's working off an already existing story this time, because the way Monstar ended was very unsatisfying IMO

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Thank you! I've been trying to place him.

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He was in monstar, reply 1994 and emergency couple. More recently, he was in episode 2 of Dr Frost .

He was quite draco malfoy-ish (heh) in monstar but he played nice albeit forgettable characters in reply 1994 and emergency couple (he was one of the interns that had a crush on clara's character).

Thanks for the recap! This episode was quite hard to get through, it was too much misery for everyone. But that final drunk scene between baek-ki and geu-rae made it much better. And baek-ki now knows the truth about geu-rae, maybe he will treat him better now...hopefully?

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He's in the drama Monstar with Kang Ha Neul too and he's role is a bit similar with his role in Misaeng. He was a bully and though he belongs in the school's orchestra he was very jealous of the other group "Colorbar".
He's quite handsome though and I hope he get to play other roles in the future as well and not be typecasted as jealous, bitter bully all the time.

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He had a non Draco Malfoy character (LOL) at "Emergency Couple"!

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it's funny that some ppl are comparing some misaeng characters to that of harry potter's.

so, sang hyun is draco malfoy.. mr. choi is voldermort, mr. ma is..what..lucius malfoy? and while we're at it, shall we call mr. sung as bellatrix lestrange? heheheheh

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haha Mr. Ma is definitely an Uncle Vernon type bully

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I do want to give a shout-out to the actors in this show who are playing the unpleasant characters -- these are the kinds of performances that tend to get less recognition but which are so important to making a script and a show really work.

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yes, definitely this! It's even more impressive because none of them are playing an over the top villain (well, Mgr. Ma is pretty over the top) like you often see in other dramas...they are just ordinary unpleasant people that you would meet in the real world

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As you mentioned at the outset, dramallama, the bit of bromance really made the episode, though it was long overdue and they still have a long way to go.

Sometimes I'm just screaming for these people TALK to each other about their issues because yes, yes, it won't always solve things, but sometimes it will. And they could all use more friends who understand and try to help them when they need a listening ear.

Still love this show though! (And it has one of the best OSTs of the year, imo.)

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A standing joke of mine is that 'guys' don't talk to other guys about their problems, they talk about car repair and barbecue grilles and sports teams. That's why men die younger.

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Did her family's previous debt have any link to her relationship with Team Leader Shim for Samjung? I thought she mentioned him while on the phone with her mom, but I couldn't catch it exactly....

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I don't think they really explained it all yet, but just gave us another piece of the puzzle...

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Her father called her ex-company and borrowed money from mr.shin, YY said. i think that's why she couldn't hang up her father's call, or he'll call her company..

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Thank you -- I asked this question above before I got to your comment.

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ah, another piece of puzzle. if her father knew how close she's to mr. shin(she must have gushed about his awesomeness to her parents), then i supposed he's at all feeling guilty asking mr. shin for a loan. i supposed that's why YY so upset to the point of quitting samjung. and maybe that's why she's so distant with bonding with others(especially male).. in a way, she refused to let her father trying to get loans from anybody she's close to. not only it's embarrassing, your friendship could suffer too. once bitten, twice shy.

it's cruel sometimes...kids having to pay for the parents' "sins".

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Thanks for the recap!!!

Just as you said, the interaction between baek-ki and geu-rae was magical in this episode! Im happy that baek-ki was given the chance to see the other dimensions of geu-rae. Im also happy that show is constantly showing us new sides of yeong-yi. I admire her even more for the crap she's going through and still being affected by. I see no easy solution to her dilemmas. Seok-yeol is also being beaten down from every side. I keep waiting for the difficulty to let up for them but I applaud this drama for showing the reality; that it probably wont.

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Young-yi is admirable. And it is extremely interesting that they choose her personal conflict to be something that involves her family – and her standing up to both her parents. That's not something you see in Korean dramas a lot (I'm reminded of one of the first kdramas I watched, Marry Me Mary, when I found it mind-boggling that the female heroine didn't cut ties with her father or sue him, or simply walk out on him when he faked the marriage contract. I mean, love your family... but that doesn't mean accepting everything!).

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Of course, her "standing up" only lasted for so long before she caved in anyway. Or that's how I understood the scene where she asks for the loan.

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Yes, she eventually caved. But her hanging up her parents is a big deal nonetheless.

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But you misunderstand why she is caving in. She is not bowing to male authority. She realizes she has to take care of her family. This could happen even in America. Robert Frost the American poet wrote, "Home is the place/When you go there/They have to take you in." She is not a victim; she is the only responsible adult in her family.

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Yes, well, I agree on the first part, actually, because that is kind of a different problem for Young-yi.

She is rendered helpless and incompetent when she is faced with the Samjung guy, who has been shown to have a "personal and authoritative" position towards her. She is even more helpless and incompetent after she talks with her dad. (And there is a significant difference between her reaction during and after she talked with her mom, and then her dad later.)
Now, that's not so much because she respects these men or has to obey them or something. She clearly tries NOT to do that. She doesn't want them to control her life, but she has to let them controlling her life for reasons beyond her control. (The Samjung guy was her boss, is now a business partner, and her dad is, well, her dad.)

You could argue that caving in for the sake of the family is a "responsible" thing. I'd challenge that, but that's not the point of victimisation. She might not be a victim towards her family, but she clearly is a victim at work _because_ of that conflict with her family.
She never before was victimised in that way, despite all the abuse she had to endure.

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Man, Chief Oh is killing me with the withholding and the pessimism! The poor guy is so dead set on not getting GR's hopes (but really his own) up. It's actually pretty hilarious watching him trying to remain so unimpressed and glowery when GR keeps doing awesome stuff. But he's actually super proud of him and you can see "don't show it, don't show it!" all over his face. I'm glad GR overheard what he said on the rooftop and kind of understands where Chief Oh is coming from, otherwise I think he would be really discouraged (even more than he is I mean). I'm really proud of him for stepping it up and maintaining his optimism, filling that gap himself. I don't know what it's gonna take to get Chief Oh to open up to GR again, but I really hope it happens soon :(. Just like how GR was stuck in an emotional loop blaming himself ever since he gave up badeuk, Chief Oh is also stuck in a similar loop of guilt and defeat due to that girl who died. Please overcome it Chief Oh! Saranghaeyo!

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i agree with you, pearl. i can't help but chuckled at Mr. Oh' proud face as he walked away. cute. and what sad is, both Mr. Oh and GR try to comfort each other in their own ways. GR knew about Mr. Oh's heartaches and the reasons why he refused to give GR hope... so he tried to be positive and cheerful so that Mr. Oh won't feel so bad if he had to go the day his contract finishes. but like his mother said, he maybe all smiles, but deep inside, he's suffering.. knowing he will never belong to this little family of his.

and Mr. Oh is trying to detach himself from GR so that both of them won't be so hurt when the TIME comes. he's gruff, he's cold and never really look GR in the eyes. he seemed not caring for his boy but in reality, he's trying his best to keep him in his team..trying hard to find any loophole, no matter how tiny, so GR can keep working for the company.

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Thank you Dramallama for the recap..I liked how you explained Baek-ki's character:
" Baek-ki’s that character who constantly reminds me that Geu-rae’s not qualified, but in a good way. He’s the one that reminds us that Geu-rae’s not a geeeenius and that getting to this position usually takes a lot more than memorization and intuitive smarts. Geu-rae still has a ways to go"
I think Baek-ki's character does deserve recognition, he DID work extremely hard to get at the job he is at. And it took many years. By the interaction he is having with Geu-rae, I think Baek-ki, will see what "talent" is about. Talent is something that is not always learned, I think some people are gifted with talents, that education from a book or school cannot teach you. What talent Geu-rae has is "looking out of the box". Maybe standardized education does not support this. (my own opinion).
What was written about Young-yi, I kind of agree with " I’m sure the newbies would have her back if she lightened some of her burdens on them.", however, in my own opinion, talking about parents, and their dysfunction is so painful because you DO KNOW no one can help you. Sure the newbie team will be kind and support Young-yi but she is embarrassed and ashamed, letting your work environment in on that, is taking away all their good opinion of your work ethic because if you let them know about you, that is all they will see when they see you at work...the person who needs to be pitied. I think there needs to be a definite separation between work life and family life...again, my own opinion.

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Suprisingly now that I think back, I quite enjoyed this episode. I liked the parallel of Baekki and Geu Rae both hitting walls, when they turned to their respective reliable source. The Go institution scene was just so heart breaking, I fully expected Geu Rae's teacher to say no, but the fact that he said everyone will buy the items because of his sympathy really touched me.

Geu Rae drunk is just enjoyably fun, he reminds me of a former colleague who was always pretty quite. Then once the alcohol came, he could became all loud and excited. I loved how Baekki just ended up directing his hands towards Geu Rae, when they were selling. Ah the drunk acting in Misaeng is just great.

Has anyone noticed that they've started showing more little tid bits of the Assistant Managers getting along with eachother? I loved how Dong Shik asked Assistant Manager Kang to smell his perfume lol Like in the past episodes when they all got together to look at Dong Shik's date. It's nice to see some good relationships between the people who help manage the newbies.

In the previous episode it was through Manager Ma that we saw the Resource Team starting to care for YY. While in this episode it's through YY herself that we start to see them worry for her. I hope YY can open up to more people, it's not healthy for herself, and the others around her when she suffers inside like this.

Did anyone else see Chief Oh smile like a proud Papa, when Manager Kang said that Geu Rae really helped them out. Gyaaa ze FEELS. I don't mind Chief Oh being cold to Geu Rae, he's just trying to sort his feelings on how to approach him, because he's scared of giving him too much hope. But it's really great we get to see the behind the scenes of him searching for solutions to try get Geu Rae hired.

For me the family dynamics of Sales Team Three is, Chief Oh is Papa Oh, Manager Chun - is Uncle Chun, Dong Shik - Hyung, and then you have our baby Geu Rae.

While in the newbie team (I’m terrible with dog breeds, but that’s how I kinda see them), Baekki - Doberman/German Shepard, Young Yi - Female Collie, Seok Yool - Sausage Dog/ Terrier, Geu Rae - Golden Retriever puppy.

Thanks for the recap dramallama!

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Re: all the team managers connecting to each other.

This is the Geu Rae effect and the effect of the oppressed.

Ah a doggie lover i see. and yes!

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@Carole: re the "Geu Rae effect" - it's great seeing Geu Rae find solutions to problems by seeing them in their simplest essentials.

His style is more a tentative "Can't we do it this way?" rather than a confident "Yes We Can!", but I never tire of watching the way it unifies people (like that roomful of Execs at the Jordan project presentation - it's our company!) and empowers them (like IT's Mr Park and Young Yi in the early eps).

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I love the little bits that we get of the Assistant Managers being friends! You know they all must have been newbies together at one point and went through similar things to the current newbies that bonded them

Maybe I just missed it, but when they were talking about dating and marriage, they weren't hanging out with assistant manager Ma, Young Yi's boss, were they? I like to think that he's so generally grumpy that they exclude him from these little gatherings, haha

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"I love the little bits that we get of the Assistant Managers being friends!"...YES! I love this scene too especially between Dongshik and Assistant Manager Kang. I love their rapport and good ribbing of each other. More anything else, I appreciate seeing them outside of their usual environment aka dealing with their bosses, dealing with their underlings and dealing with work.

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Nessie, I like the way that you categorize things. Especially the family dynamics of Sales Team 3. Geu Rae is definitely a puppy - is he a Golden Retriever because he is smart and gentle?

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Yea I put Geu Rae as Golden Retriever mainly because of that. Aren't Golden Retrievers known as the most gentle kind of dogs, that's why their breed is chosen as guide dogs? However they can get real aggressive when something close to them is put in danger etc.

I generally think any kind of puppy would suit Geu Rae haha, or maybe I'm just limited with my knowledge of dog breeds.

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I really hope Geu Rae is not a golden retriever.....they are such nice sweet dogs but I know many and they are the stupidest dogs I ever saw hehe.

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GR is perfect as a GR puppy(see, they have same initials! lol). goldern retrievers are not dumb. they very clever, obedient and gentle. it simply down to how you train them. i have a golden who is the gentlest among my dogs. i can teach him new tricks and he can catch on in less than 5 tries. he's disciplined, never begs for food or bark unnecessarily. but don't that sweet, gentle demeanour fool you. they can be quite protective too.

just like our misaeng puppy.. just because he looks so delicate, doesn't mean he can't fight back. GR showed us several times that he can be one tough cookie. he's just being smart.. make a move when you are sure of the outcome.

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@Nessie & Maryse89: yes, great seeing the Assistant Managers hanging out together, just like the newbies do (and just like the newbies they once were)!

(also glad to see Asst Mgr Ha there in the group too!)

It feels true to the generational "groups" that must exist in the company, apart from the company hierarchy - they go through the milestones of life together, like marriage, kids, etc, as well as all the company & boss stuff.

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saw the preview on episode 17.. the Assistant Managers were drinking together! i can see AM Kim, AM Kang, AM Ha, AM Yoo..not sure if AM Sung is there.. so, yeah, i supposed they all came in together just like our four newbies.

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@ Thursdaynext - That's so true, it's just like the phases we go through with our friends. One moment we've all graduated university, the next we're all talking about work and experiencing similar things. Shared experiences help bond people, especially in One International a company this big.

I just saw the preview and *fangirls*, it looks so exciting! I feel that they actually all get along together, but when you have your own team members to care for, you can't help playing sides even if that is your "friend" on the other side.

Like when YY's Manager and Assistant Managere Ha saw Dongshik and Geu Rae in the hallway a few episodes back. This was when the evil Mr Park was still in Team 3, YY's Manager told Dongshik to "look after him (Mr Park)". After he said that and walked, Assistant Manager Ha gave Dong Shik this look that said "good luck", and gave him a pat on the shoulder. Moments like these show, not everyone hates eachothers guts, it's just work politics make it that they can't always be on the same side.

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@ Kennedy Rose: pleez, not AM Sung! :)

@ Nessie: I know I'm stating the obvious, but it really is the cycle of life and seasons thing. I've been with my current company for 5+yrs, so I sometimes catch myself feeling like a pretty seasoned employee - but then I meet veterans who've worked here for 25+ yrs - makes me feel quite green again!!

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Hm... what's up with some thoughts here... this is the problem of a drama being good, because when it doesn't do what the person expects they start to dislike it or say it isn't that good.

It is like being a son with only good grades, and when he gets a bad grade the parents get disappointed and all. But if the not so smart son gets a good grade, parents are happy and praise him for it....

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Boy, oh boy! I haven't read the comments above thoroughly yet, but just skimming through... gosh we all are so passionate about Misaeng! And with good reason! This series is superb. Par excellence.

And at the heart... our Geu-Rae. Humble and brave.

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Misaeng never failed to disappoint me! I dont know why some people here keep telling the 100,000 won mission is unnecessary. Gu Rae make a presentation that is not easy to understand because he (I think) put/tried too much and like the previous ep in BK, he needs to learn the basics of trading.

I hope more of the adorable drunk version of GR. Drunk GR faces the sober Mr. Oh and that was priceless lol. Thank you for the recap!!!!

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*Never disappoint ^_^

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I like this episode as I understand some of the issues. First, the bitter intern conversation with Baeki is kind like the people at the company I used to work before I have kids. They were jealous due to vietnamese people at work worked really hard and they are totally jealous of it. I worked at accounts payable and boy I can see how they react toward me too once I got the job over someone else who is more qualified than me and who is non vietnamese. As for Young Yi, I do feel sorry for her but she should man up and focus on business and not be too emotional due to family issues. That does effect your work.

Oh just to let you know, in Accounting/Finance Department it is like Misaeng drama with accounting and finance issues. =) Oh the office politics of Accounting/Finance Department is a lot more worse of dramas, rumors, and gossips.

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" I worked at accounts payable and boy I can see how they react toward me too once I got the job over someone else who is more qualified than me and who is non vietnamese."

It's basically the same thing, but with racism instead of classicism. Sadly, that's an almost automatic human reaction ...

"As for Young Yi, I do feel sorry for her but she should man up and focus on business and not be too emotional due to family issues. That does effect your work."

I "blame" the writers here. I feel really uncomfortable that they had to drag in the non-office, personal conflict to break her down enough to make her team more sympathetic towards her. So far they did really well, they showed how the team warmed up to her despite her aloofness, because she was professional and determined and, well, highly competent. It kind of spoils all that development to drag in this conflict.

It also made no sense, story telling wise, from my culturally biased point of view. Because my reaction is similar to yours, in a way. I understand that there is that overbearing personal problem that renders her unable to solve even the most simple tasks at work, and her character is designed in that way that she cannot just "man up".

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idk what happened with me, but i cried like a river when i watched jang geu rae was rejected by the baduk team leader. T_T
it's so heart-broken moment, you feel embarassed but you keep going, you know you'll be rejected but still you tried to sell.

many people commented here that they didn't understand or dislike 100.000 won mission, but i think that's the point of episode, chief oh wanna teach him something that he didn't need to try like a genius or like a pro, he teach him the basic of trading.
and because 100.000 won mission baek ki finally understand jang geu rae and bromance was born! my tears suddenly changed from sad tears became happy tears (i LOL-ed so hard when they drunk and sell the underwear)

3 episodes more to go and I hope misaeng keep on the right track till the ending. fighting Jang Geu Rae!

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Sales has got to be the most degrading job ever. Having to practically beg people to buy your stuff. This is why I hated fundraising when I was a kid. And to think, that was just socks; I can't imagine how Geu Rae would underwear in the subway. Can't you get arrested for peddling on the street?

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I can't believe Misaeng will be ending in a few more weeks. I think this will be the first 20 episode drama I have seen that I did not find the urge to fast forward/skip scenes. Everything is so interesting. I hope they don't do an extension coz I have never seen a drama that benefited from an extension story-wise.

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What's wrong with 100,000won mission? GR made a PPT about new item, but he didn't know about basics - Why do you want to sell it? Who wants it? It was just a mocking of seniors' PT. Much decorations but no essentials. You can learn from the book, but you can't fully understand it without an experience. You can be a love expert by the book, but when you fall in love you become an idiot, and books don't help.
First GR tried to sell socks and underpants to people who don't want them and finally he learned today's lesson : sell socks and underpants in front of the sauna.
It was Chief Oh's first lesson to make GR get prepared outside One international. Why was it unnecessay?

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And many people sell cheap and useful things such as toothbrushes, socks, band-aids and so on in a subway(though it's illegal) when you can't get a place in a market or don't have enough money to, but you want to meet many people to buy such things. GR and BK faces monitors and numbers everyday so they might think it's a business, but subway and streets are REAL market, and people are REAL buyers. It was a REAL lesson to both of them.

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Well, we had this whole "how to sell stuff" thing in episodes 3/4 already, where it was broadly explored along with Geu-rae's and Seok-yul's bonding.
The "selling underpants and socks in front of a sauna" is much, much weaker a lesson than the one he learned back then (or at least the show made it look like that).

In the "intern presentation" plot back then, with less screen time a much better display of bonding AND learning what's important about selling stuff was given, and these were only side aspects of the plot back then.

This episode, he learns a part of a lesson he was shown to have already learned a year ago again. And not so much by experience, in fact. It just happens that he has the right idea, not so much by observation but by accidental insight. Same way, btw, he learned his lesson last time.

What makes it so disappointing for me is: Not only does it seem redundant and regressive, it was also poorly done in terms of character continuity. Usually one of the main strengths of the show is the intertwining plot and character development.

Why does Geu-rae buy underpants and socks? He is, by definition, a strategically minded person. When he has to solve a problem, he does that in a fashion where he thinks about what steps to take to get to the desired outcome and takes a lot of risk management into account.
Here, he just buys them because ... ???
He clearly has not only no plan, he has no idea at all. He doesn't think for one second what to do next (because if he HAD done that, he wouldn't have bought them). Not only did he forget everything he was shown to have learned over the last 14 episodes, he also does not act like the character he had been.

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Jon G., I think your point is right, but a bit too harsh.

Actually, this "socks and underpants" episode takes place a way earlier than this in the original web-toon(and even without BK).
I think you might have felt it instinctively...

I guess the screen writter changed the "time-table" because this episode would be perfect opportunity for the relationship between GR and BK.
(Wasn't it so amusing to watch that they sell socks and underpants together, drunken?)

But I didn't totally disappointed by it myself.
Though the whole "how to sell stuff" thing already happened 3/4 as you rightly pointed (it could have been much better, to be honest), it was "at the office" thing, rather than real.
And especially, GR has lived most of his life in a "mind game" of Baduk, very philosophical and strategical but quite unreal.

He learned the lesson before, but after working very, very hard more than a year (on the desk!), perhaps he forgot some fundamental, basic thing, that is the reason why his PPT failed to impress his seniors.

Anyway, I do hope you will be relieved after watching the episode 16!

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Yes, I actually thought that they should have done a subplot like this much earlier, that's one of the reasons it felt so regressive to me. Well, I guess I have to wait until the webtoon will be translated to one of the languages I am able to read.

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Yes, I can see this fairly simple task didn't quite fit into the "arc" of the story at this point (indeed, now that you've explained, it sounds like the kind of exercise they'd get trained on in the first month!), but I could still accept it on the basis that Geu Rae's been doing most of his work experience in the office, while Dong Shik and Chief Chun have been doing the actual sales grunt work on the road, around the country.

We haven't seen much of Geu Rae actually getting his hands dirty (apart from the octopus sauce, really), so it kind of made sense to see him out on the streets, making hard sales.

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Yes I was also surprised by the their regression in ability to sell, but I think I was able to overlook that and focus on bonding between JGR and BK

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Exactly. GR has no plan because he is inexperienced. He has had some wild success with his outside-the-box insights, but he still needs training, both academic and practical, just like all the other newbies. It's the difference between theory and practice, as others have been saying, between understanding something through a "lesson" and understanding through "learning a lesson," through experience, which includes failure. Why do you think the middle managers were all joking about the times they had to do the $100 challenge, and about how he'd better not buy socks? because they had to do it, too, and his mistakes are typical mistakes. Because it's part of the process. it's one thing to look at performing surgery in a book; it's another thing to cut a body open and poke around inside.
What GRT brings to the story that makes him so wonderful is sheer bloody persistence AND those moments of insight. BG is told to go along with him because HE has to learn these lessons, too. In spite of all his education and connections, he makes the same mistakes as GR, but he doesn't even realize that he is being tested, too! he says it is GR's homework, not his.

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even the best of minds can fumbled sometimes. when you are "out there" with a deadline..and a partner who refused to help you plan and decide, you get into the panic mode. it happens. i know, coz i've been there. you got all those brilliant ideas about selling but when you are chucked into the 'real' world where you have to meet customers face to face, trust me..the brain can go kaput. it's sooooooo embarrassing to approach a person to sell something..since you dunno if that person is in that target group. that's why i ..well.. horrible in sales! i got tongue-tied and flustered. so, i greatly admire those who can do sales well. (try selling gas cylinder hose to ppl who can't afford the price but you have to try anyways..ugh)

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And as we readily see from each season of 'The Apprentice' :-D

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The recap didn't mention that Youngyi's mother borrowed money from Shin manager in the past (the man she avoids in earlier episodes) thought it would be good to clarify why she was so jumpy when the company phone rang because she thought her mother would ask to borrow money from her superior again

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Really? Thanks for that explanation it didn't come out in the subs as well. Young yi-ya LOL (you like her that much)

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I've done some HR orientations for interns. Often they asked, can I get a ft job after my 3 months? There were days I'd feel like mgr oh. Why can't I do something to get this kid a job? But nowadays there aren't too many positions to give interns. full time staff don't leave.

I've also met tons of interns who expect entitlement. If they got thru the door, they should be only using certain equipment or doing certain tasks.

In the many yrs of internships I assisted in, I only heard one guy say...I'm glad you gave me the opportunity to try relief reception. I got to meet tons of people & understand how the differnt divisions of this co work. We don't make all interns do reception. random times. But if you have to ever send an intern to the front desk, they look squeamish about to protest. Or if they set up for client meetings, imagine them having to set up chairs or buy Starbucks. But that's partly what we have interns do. Cuz you have to impress the clients by every little detail you put into selling your services to them & the culture that your co represents. that might be a hard thing for the entitled kids to accept. They just want to do the presentations yet they only do the research for client pitches. Cuz they have a lot to learn just like mgr oh is trying to do for Geu Rae before they stand before a real client & manage a business.

We have certainly hired interns after their internship. & those who came by recommendations, the odd one got hired in the multinational system; h/e it's the hard worker who is also super smart who gains the ft positions in our co. I think we'd hire GR, even if One won't take him. Cuz he loves his job, & doesn't mind the dirty work to get the job done.

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Thanks for the great recap :) The bromance in this episode was fantastic. I'm really happy that Baek-ki finally understands how Geu-rae's life isn't full of happiness and fortune like he'd initially thought. There's already more than enough people who are resentful of Geu-rae and disrespect him, so I'm hoping that at the very least Baek-ki will acknowledge Geu-rae's abilities and respect him more now.

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Small but significant breakthrough!

I think Baek Ki would also respect the fact that Geu Rae's tried so hard without making any excuses, and without revealing his baduk background (which would have sounded like an excuse anyway). Now that he's realised that Geu Rae hasn't been bumming around, and he's as much an overachiever in his own way as Baek Ki is - hopefully, Baek Ki will come round, and make the newbie group a complete and tight-knit circle! (looks like a few more bottles of soju wouldn't hurt ...)

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That's right, he's been very humble about his past all along and that alone makes Baek-ki see that Geu Rae isn't trying to take over or whatnot. It's sad to think that Geu Rae is so emotionally attached to the company when he often gets such a frosty reception and is afraid of being "disowned" by them due to his position as a temporary employee.

While most of us are rooting for him to go up the corporate ladder to achieve success, I think what he needs more than anything is to feel like he belongs and to have a "family" to support him and vice versa. That's ultimately how I'd like to see him be, happy. Regardless of his position in the company.

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I did something a little different this week - I watched Misaeng on VIKI with the comments turned on... and I promptly got annoyed with them. Such judgmental comments, I thought of whether they were written by sixth-graders. One called BaekKi a "small-minded fool" and I was like... Um...

I get so annoyed because Misaeng is not like other dramas. Each character has so many dimensions and they're all grey, neither completely black or white. No one can be described in just one sentence (except for Manager Ma. His character remains a curious outlier).

You know, I got a bit ticked off when Chief Kang kept praising GeuRae for solving the crisis. It's not that I don't like GeuRae or that I don't believe that he had not helped at all , but at some point that It's ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL Because Of JANG. GEU. RAE. is going to make the rest of the department sound stupid. Do you mean that all it takes to solve a problem is the idea of the solution? No one needs to implement it? No one needs to check for divers, welding equipment, weather, insurance...etc? Then what are the rest of you, expensive chopped liver?

Giving too little praises is a problem, but giving too much is also a problem, you know?

I liked what Dramallama pointed out today too. Insofar, almost everyone has been rooting heavily for GeuRae, just because he's the underdog. We just want him to WIN. But many people have also belittled the struggles that the other newbies are facing. Hey, trying to get over your ego and coming to terms with your entire belief system turning itself on its head is also similarly difficult, okay. Trying to break down this perpetually, huge wall that you've built around yourself so that you can connect with your co-workers is also hard. Trying not to lose yourself to a messed-up superior is also frustratingly painful.

I understand why people want the underdog to win. It's because we each see ourselves in him one way or another and we want to see hope. But Jang GeuRae does not belong in that company yet (since, yes, he doesn't have the basics). GeuRae needs to work harder. If the company requires that he get more than a GED, then he needs to get that college degree. If the company doesn't want him, then he better make use of his time there as a stepping stone towards the next (smarter) company that DOES want him. If the company accepts him as he is right now and disregards their own policy, then I'm gonna have to agree with bitter intern. It would be reverse discrimination.

I like that scene with Bitter Intern. It explains a lot about their "entitlement attitude". Actually I don't even get why his attitude is being labelled as entitled. It just comes across as him being indignant to me. He DID work hard. He worked his ass off. It's not that he's angry that someone else got the job. He's angry that someone less qualified than him got the job through the backdoor. Imagine if you worked hard, scored in as an intern and one day your...

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... ... your boss says, hey, my nephew needs a job and he'll be taking yours (even though he doesn't even have a college degree), so bye. Imagine how indignant you would be and how Bitter Intern must have felt. Because that's all his understanding of Jang GeuRae is. He doesn't have the luxury that we've had of understanding GeuRae's plight. To me, it wasn't really about entitlement. It was more due to injustice.

So GeuRae needs to get his specs, or whatever it is the company requires before he can stay there. I know, he's had it hard, but so what? Like Chief Oh said, at work, no one cares about effort. It's all about the results.

C'est la vie. It sucks. So what?

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IA with most of your points. for me the resentment would've been more acceptable if it comes from people with integrity like young yi. the show had shown us early on that the bitter intern had no qualms taking a few shortcuts himself, such as copying their seniors' presentation. AND he totally sucked at the presentation itself because of his arrogance. i believe if he was the one offered a position through connections he would have no problem in taking it either. so all that dissing coming from him just comes across as jealousy instead of rage against injustice to me lol

I have wondered why nobody thought to suggest to geu-rae that he further his education like going to night/online classes while he was temping there.. is it impossible in SK or something? he should be getting a monthly salary and since he only lives with his mother he shouldnt be spending much of it anyway..

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I think for Geu Rae to be taking extra classes, he'd have to have a set time for finishing work. As we've seen in the past episodes, he stays late, and sometimes even overnight.

So I think it's a time issue for him not being able to take classes to further his education. It's like he's basically sold his soul to One International and will devote his time 100% to the company.

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So has my co-worker and she's still taking night classes.

He can do it. He'll just have additional bags under his eyes. If he really wants to stay in One International, he has to take up those classes.

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Well, I think it's just that the story is about a character who doesn't have the qualifications and makes it anyway. If the story would give him the qualifications, the premise basically invalidates itself. That's why the idea of getting the needed qualifications, which seems rather straight forward, is not brought up (or shot down like in that segment with the newbie training program where Geu-rae is excluded because he is a temp).

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@ Peeps: "He’ll just have additional bags under his eyes."

That's perfect - he'll be a mini Chief Oh then. Father and son!

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a contract worker doesn't earn as much as the permanent one. just because there's only two of them, doesn't mean everything is simple. there are bills to pay, groceries to buy, sometimes things have to be replaced..and his mom is no longer as strong as she used to. no laundry, no money. if you have been poor, you would understand. things don't get cheaper as time goes. been down there before. it's so hard. you basically have to budget everything so the money can stretch.

btw, how much is the fees for night classes anyways?

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Yes, JG salary is all that they are living on. If you recall, back in the earlier episodes his mom said something like having to give up her business now that he got the job (or something like that).

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I agree with most of your points too, as did Chief Oh and others in Sales team 3 at the start, that is why they refused to acknowledge him. But I think the missed point is that Geu Rae proved himself in the selection presentations and tasks despite his lack of credentials. Baek-Ki aslo mentions this to Bitter intern. So for me the lack of specs is less of an issue, if Geu Rae was kept on despite being incompetent then I would have had issues.

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GeuRae's specs is all good right now for a contract employee but he's not good enough to become a permanent staff yet. He lacks the absolute basics, and just because someone's good at the presentation does not make him a good worker, since a permanent staff has to do practically everything, from speaking to clients in various languages and intentions and planning, constructing and formalising a contract. GeuRae can't even speak English right now and in a trading company, that's inconceivable. Like his last presentation, he just put together some English words that he doesn't even understand and expects it to seem professional. What kind of nonsense is that?

Also, companies are profit driven. Why should the train someone FOR the basics when you can hire someone WITH the basics?

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I understand your point, I guess I am thinking of it more with regards to the fact that he proves himself in other areas, such as coming up with ideas and solutions to problems and that he works very hard generally in his work. In my eyes I think that talent, in coming up with ideas solutions, hard work and willingness to learn is more important than simply having the basics, most of which Geu Rae can pick up through work and after work study. The presentation was actually the means through which the company was to pick the successful interns so I think it makes sense to pick Geu Rae as he out performed the others in the selection criteria. All the interns make mistakes along the way (bar perhaps Young-Yi) learning on the job whatever your specks is part of the learning process.

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But there are other college-trained people who HAVE the same talents as GeuRae. And those are the people that One International wants to replace GeuRae with. Not all college students are entitled/dim/narrow-minded/one-track-mind/what-have-you. There are people who are GeuRae with the required training and why wouldn't One International want them.

A paper is not JUST a paper. It's a piece of evidence corroborating your FOUR (or three, or more, depending on your major) years of higher education. Why else do you think a practicing doctor needs to have a medical cert and licence? An Engineer needs to have a degree in Engineering before he can work as a fully fledged Engineer. Lawyers need their certs before they can speak in a formal court. All those certs are required because they work for the public and they need to prove to the public that they have the qualifications. Similarly, since GeuRae works for One International, he has to prove to One International that he has that four years of knowledge that the rest have. And One International does that my looking at his paperwork, which he does not have. It's not fair, but that's what the company wants and that's what it judges basic capability on. Otherwise, GeuRae can just go open his own business where he'll make his own rules. Not saying that opening one's own business is easy, but if he wants to join One International, he has to abide by One International's rules. One International is king, right now. It's a major corporate and it will have no lack of talented people trying to enter it, people who will be as good, or even better than GeuRae.

I agree that the presentation was used to sift out good candidates and that GeuRae had done well on it. That's why he's even a temp staff at One International in the first place. The others had the skills AND the education and therefore they're permanent staff. GeuRae has the skills, but no education, and therefore he's a contract staff. Now GeuRae wants more than he has and therefore, he needs to provide the company more, in terms of judging material. The company is not going to give him a permanent job and trust him to garner 4 years of higher education while he's working. They're expecting him to work WITH 4 years of higher education at any time and they're going to judge him RIGHT NOW, or it's on to the next talented, college educated candidate.

GeuRae has no choice because One International is now King.

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I would agree IF this was a profession that did require precision (i.e. Engineering, Medicine, Architecture etc...) and even in those profession one learns a lot more in practice than at the theory laden years at Uni. Like you say yourself, business is different, you have people who start with nothing that are now millionaires, it is not all about the specs. I think the point is that in this particular case the other candidates didn't show Geu Rae's level of innovation and talent, and so (as you say yourself) he was chosen as a temp over those with specs that performed below par compared to Geu Rae. We are yet to see in this world of Misaeng an intern that has both the talent (that Geu Rae has) and the spec's, so while I would agree with your comments when talking about the 'real world' I don't think they apply to Misaeng/One International. If I was running a business, I would value experience over those just coming in with nothing but theory from university... A paper is not nothing, but neither is experience and talent.

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I will have to agree with you then, if we are talking about the real world. But if we're talking about Misaeng, then I'd have to differ. Just because such a person has not appeared does not mean that he does not exist in Misaeng's world.

Honestly, I would hire a person with such strong work ethics and willingness to learn and such potential, but that would be just me. One International is not a single person organisation and neither is it a start-up. It's a full blown, international corporate with guidelines and rules and it's not just the CEO appointing positions. There are HR people, GeuRae's boss and a whole lot of others involved in just one hire. And at the end, they're going to have to justify to the top why they hired GeuRae. How else other paperwork? This is just a limitation of a metric corporation. If the CEO were a Steve Jobs kind of authoritarian or maverick who allows for freedom of hire based on skills and whatever else he deems fit, then yes, GeuRae will be hired. But in this case, working with One International, it's very unlikely that it will happen.

A start up is more fluid and more welcoming of GeuRae's kind of people. An organisation is more rigid, because it has so many people. BaekKi had a point episodes ago when he said that procedures are important and that they are promises in which each company staff has to abide by for operations to flow smoothly. This applies to hiring too.

GeuRae's the one who wants One International, so he'll have to prove to them. And to them, as an organisation with all it's rules and manuals, not an individual, his undocumented talents are not enough.

Also, One International's interns do not just have their degrees. Like Ahn YoungYi who's worked at SamJung and SeokYul who's done site work, they have other work experiences too. I'm not quite sure what BaekKi has done but you can be sure that he's interned elsewhere a lot, given how he has the "perfect specs".

I think that we have the same thoughts, but we're just applying it to different circumstances. So... *shrug* :)

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