[2020 Year in Review] Of tiger moths and civil servants
by Guest Beanie
Yep, it’s me again. For the newbies among us: my end of the year reviews have been published three years in a row already, so it is only natural that I want to continue that tradition. Every year counts as one metaphorical book within the chronicles of my journey to permanent employment and happiness, and I was adamant to close the open ending where my trilogy left off last year.
Ironically, I barely had the time to write and send this one in, because I finally got that permanent job and am still busy settling in. In that sense, this entry seems more like an epilogue: not always present in a chronicle, but it makes the ending that much happier.
Unemployment has been a constant theme in both my life and end of the year reviews, and objectively speaking, 2020 was no exception. I got hired right when all hell broke loose in March, and I was back to unemployment within the same week. Since the lockdown froze all recruitment activities, I had the perfect excuse to take two months off and fill my days with books, writing projects, Dramabeans, movie lists, and K-dramas I never thought I would have started otherwise. I should not say this, but that lockdown was good for me.
Summer was nearly upon us when this first lockdown ended, and I dreaded resuming my job hunt and saying goodbye to my lockdown paradise. Recruiters were very vocal about their lack of faith in job availability this year, which made me wonder why I even bothered. That was when the promo materials for Memorials (also known as Into the Ring) appeared.
The story features an unemployed heroine, Gu Se-ra, who decides to run for office instead of looking for a job, because district representatives barely work and still get paid a lot. The premise gave me Chief Kim and Special Labor Inspector Jo vibes — two gems that I highlighted in my previous entries — so I knew I had to watch. The drama ended up not being the satirical plot I envisioned, so I didn’t immediately jump the bandwagon when it premiered.
However, in true Se-ra fashion, I caved in and binged the first four episodes while packing for a weekend trip with my besties the next day. That moment was the start of a live watch I will never forget.
Gu Se-ra inspired me as many characters have done before her, but what makes her special is her resemblance to one of my besties. That friend is also a true “garden tiger moth” when dealing with conflicts. This year, she taught me (among other things) to stand my ground when I was wrongfully fined, instead of simply paying to get it over and done with. She also encouraged me to take up civil servant exams again — because no pain, no gain.
Others were too worried about their jobs to care about mine anyway, so why not give it a try and continue my lockdown paradise without any guilt? The existence of civil servant Seo Gong-myung in the show ended up being a nice bonus as well.
Halfway through Gu Se-ra’s story, however, my friend got diagnosed with cancer. And by the time the drama had finished airing, an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy landed her comatose in the ICU for a few weeks. It was a very close call, but of course she woke up in the end. As if she would let the grim reapers take her when she could literally walk over them like Se-ra totally would!
These ladies will stand up again after falling down, and dealing with failure or hardship. Getting cancer was not my friend’s first health crisis, but her strong spirit has remained intact through it all. She is currently receiving immunotherapy and slowly but surely kicking cancer’s butt.
To honor her suggestion, I took up a couple of civil servant exams while she was unconscious.
She ended up being right, as usual: a few months and exam rounds later, I started the paid internship that will get me appointed as a civil servant next year.
- [2020 Year in Review] Highlights in dark times
- [2020 Year in Review] Manifesting my 2020 sentiments
- [2020 Year in Review] K-drama comfort in COVID times
- [2020 Year in Review] Life-affirming drama themes
- [2020 Year in Review] My 2020 dramas as comfort food
- [2020 Year in Review] Mini reviews from my 2020 drama list
- [Theme of the Month] Share your year in dramas