[2019 Year in Review] All is fair in happiness and work
by Guest Beanie
Special Labor Inspector Jo
Note: This post contains spoilers for Romance Is a Bonus Book.
April 23rd is a bittersweet day; let me tell you how this day affected me in 2019. Tuesday April 23rd was the first day of my one year temp contract job, and it should have been a big milestone on my journey to permanent employment and happiness. This journey started with my first year review in 2017, when Chief Kim and Glutton pushed me back on the right path after I lost my professional identity. Woo Seo-ri and her Thirty but Seventeen family cheered me on as I got rid of some toxic mindsets in the 2018 sequel. Reaching my professional destination in 2019 seemed like a brilliant ending for this trilogy.
Unfortunately I got fired six months into my temp contract, and I was catapulted once again into the unemployment pit. While this repeated misfortune would have caused me a lot of pain before I started my journey, I could now count on some K-dramas to give my (un)employment another perspective that made this misfortune easier to bear.
Rookie Historian Gu Hae-ryung
First of all, being employed does not guarantee a happy ending. Unfortunately I did not have Special Labor Inspector Jo at my disposal, nor did I possess his guts to stand up for myself and my employment rights. For that reason, I could relate a lot to all the victims of unfair working conditions in that drama. We were all touched by Inspector Jo’s willingness to fight against the evil employer on our behalf, not because we were too weak, but because our opponent was too harsh. In Rookie Historian Gu Hae-ryung, Gu Hae-ryung and her female colleagues had more luck with their opponents. When they started working, they didn’t receive the respect or training they deserved from their male seniors so they called them out on it. Fortunately Historian Min started teaching, respecting, and supporting them and the other male historians soon followed his example.
CEO Jung Bok-dong from Pegasus Market did not even bother, he let anyone pass. He gave many misfits a job and they showed their gratitude by working hard and improving themselves both on the job and on a personal level. Just like pessimistic Il-nam, I also reacted emotionally the moment I was assigned my own desk after struggling for so long. Manager Moon Seok-gu and his goal to work at headquarters mirrored my quest for permanent employment. We both had to lower our professional standards to find our success and happiness, and I admit that I am not fully there yet. I have to keep telling myself that a job is not something to blindly worship once you obtain it. Employers might have high standards for me to meet, but it will not work out if I do not set high standards for employers to meet as well. Stability and a salary are only nice when your workplace is family-like and supplies you with the respect, support and training you deserve.
Despite suffering both from employment and unemployment this year, I could fall back on the promises I made to myself last year to live 2019 to the fullest and to spend more time on Dramabeans. Dan-yi from Romance Is a Bonus Book had also been unemployed, fired, and trapped in unpleasant workplaces like me. She regretted being too hard on herself and wanted to regain the happiness she had lost when things went downhill. It completely echoed my sentiments and experiences, so I could not have wished for a better partner in crime.
Eun-ho rekindled our shared love for reading and writing, right when impossible transit times had thwarted all my other hobby ideas to fight off the unemployment slump. Reading and writing were something I could do at home. It should therefore come as no surprise that this November was devoted to National Novel Writing Month, Extraordinary You, and Dramabeans posts. My (note)books reunited me with my youth and my loved ones, helped me befriend a lot of Beanies, and actually paved the way for other hobbies and activities in the future. Outside working hours they would give me the same amount of joy as secretly fangirling off-duty did for Deok-mi from Her Private Life.
Regrettably, I originally started neglecting all these little joys to focus more on my studies, and after graduation I decided to continue this punishment until I was permanently employed. Though I clearly overestimated my influence on my professional life back then, I underestimated my determination to be happy just as much. Needless to say, I have been enjoying all these joys again ever since I came back to my senses. In summary, my trilogy concludes with an open ending, because who knows what I will find on my professional destination and when that will happen. Dan-yi went on the same journey and got permanently hired shortly afterwards, so…I am looking at you, 2020.
Romance Is a Bonus Book
- [2019 Year in Review] The ME movement
- [2019 Year in Review] A sageuk for every season
- [2019 Year in Review] Memorable characters of 2019
- [2019 Year in Review] The One Where…
- [2019 Year Review] My Top 20 Dramaland Moments of 2019
- [Theme of the Month] Your year in dramas
- [Theme of the Month] Family drama