[2017 Year in Review] Turning back with a gluttonous sociopath
by Guest Beanie
Drama Slump—fortunately, that will not be the theme of my review today. You cannot really suffer a Drama Slump if you only have time to watch about five K-dramas a year from beginning to end, not including all the cheating through Dramabeans recaps. No matter how fond I am of K-dramas, job-hunting is a full-time occupation that demands but does not reward overtime.
For me, K-dramas and unemployment are two sides of the same coin. Both came into my life in the fall of 2015, right after I graduated from university. I stumbled on Dramabeans in 2016, and never stopped lurking since. I worked temp jobs once in a blue moon and believed that experience and self-confidence would grow with time, and that nonstop applying would eventually land me my dream job. I could temporarily do with fewer K-dramas for this greater good. However, the Drama Slump was a wakeup call that I was merely carving my own path towards self destruction, rather than making sure everything would magically work out.
Drama Slump took place this fall, around the time that I finally started watching Chief Kim. I came for Namgoong Min and stayed for the laughs, the story, and my new crushes Junho, Dongha, and Dimples. Junho, especially, was amazing as antagonist Seo Yul. His character went evil to the point of no return. At least, that’s what he thought until Chief Kim matter-of-factly told him to simply turn back and not let his fears stop him from doing so. Our favorite gluttonous sociopath was not the only one left speechless after that scene.
During my last temp job in early 2017 (ironically around the time that Chief Kim originally aired), I came to the painful realization that I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living, and how I would get there once I did know. I immediately put job searching on hiatus to get my groove back, and slowly but surely regained my joy of living and a professional purpose. Getting there, on the other hand, was still a mystery. Until Chief Kim shared his wisdom.
Glutton and I both knew our fears, but we were too afraid to face them, which is why we both kept walking the wrong path, even though we knew it was the wrong one. But it takes courage to admit this to yourself and then act on it. Our glutton did turn back eventually, and the fact that it took him a while to get there through redemption and hard work, rather than with the flick of a wrist, made his happy ending even more deserved and realistic. All because of Chief Kim (though glutton will forever deny this).
Which brings me to another thing we had in common: loneliness. Glutton started out solo and trusted no one, until Chief Kim and the other good guys reached out to him. If Glutton could accept support from his (fr)enemy, then I could do the same with my loved ones. I passed the time during my job search hiatus with friends and relatives who needed company or help in any way. Their love and gratitude encouraged me to finally open up about my unemployment unhappiness. Unsurprisingly, more people than I expected turned out to be very understanding and supportive, or came around as soon as some prejudices were dealt with. Their priority was whether or not I was doing my part in our relationship, rather than whether or not I had a job.
My happy ending is not here yet, but I am finally ready to start my own redemption arc: mid-January I will start classes to obtain another degree. It was a suggestion that I ignored at first, because why volunteer to spend a whole semester unemployed, without a steady income? Despite that fear, I realized that I would not get my happy ending with a stable job if I was not willing to increase my professional skills and self-confidence first. Besides, I already consider the classroom a nice change of scenery, rather than a financial setback.
In the end it took one scene in one K-drama to not only summarize my year, but also change my life for the better. Employed or not, we all have a life to live to the fullest, loved ones to cherish, and passions to pursue. Chief Kim was the last person I expected to rekindle my hope and motivation so casually, and yet he even managed to get through to someone who was once his enemy. If only we all could have a Chief Kim in our lives, or aspire to be a Chief Kim to every Seo Yul we come across. All it takes is a couple of chocolate bars.
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