Wake up!

brand eins special issue Korea –

South Korean work ethics are shaped by hierarchies, overtime and alcohol. At the moment, however, opposition is on the rise – from both the bottom and the top.

From 9 am, Bae Myeongji (name changed) sits at her desk in the open-plan office on the sixteenth floor and types. She can type very fast, some say she is the fastest of the entire floor. She works at the sales department of one of Samsung’s Seoul-based subsidiaries.

She is responsible for South East Asia and is fluent in Tagalog, the most common language of the Philippines. And although she holds a degree in engineering, she adapted well to the sales business. She is 36, unmarried, dresses fashionably and, and this is important, no one can catch a glimpse of her computer screen when passing by her work station.

She does not suffer from bad conscience when chatting a lot, shopping online, often going to the restroom or the recreation room of the company. She knows she is not the only one working that way. She shares the open-plan office with around 30 of her co-workers. All of whom are typing diligently.

Read more … [in German only]



Courtesy of business magazine brand eins, media partner of MCBW 2017
Published in 8/2015 issue; Focus: Idleness

Author: Sören Kittel
Currently lives in Berlin and works for Funke media group (Berliner Morgenpost, Hamburger Abendblatt, WAZ, et al). His book about South Korea “On Good Days You Can See The North“ was recently published at DuMont.

Foto: Jun Michael Park
is a documentary photographer from Seoul, South Korea, represented by laif Photo Agency. Jun’s work “Sewol Aftermath” was selected for exhibition at the 5th Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hanover, Germany


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