EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION is increasingly available online, providing much-needed information to prospective employees about the company they are seeking to work for. However, without self-awareness and prior job experience, new entrants to the job market may find themselves at a loss in deciding what kind of organization, boss, goals would be suitable for them. The Yonsei Annals has interviewed students with some internship or job experience to learn about their insights on what kind of jobs they wish to work for, or what kind of jobs they will avoid at all costs.
Ilaria Fornari (Sr., UIC, Comparative Lit. & Culture& International Studies)
“It is a tricky thing really because I appreciate receiving guidance, especially now that I am only beginning to work. For complex tasks, I would like [my superiors] to help. But at the same time, I would appreciate it if they gave me some space to work on more basic tasks. I guess I am somewhat averse to the idea of hierarchy. For instance, right now, I am pretty happy with my internship because we function very well as a team. Nobody is really breathing down my neck, and we go out and eat lunch together. It feels like we are all on the same boat for the same goal, and that makes work much more worthwhile. It really helps to have such camaraderie for you to have a sense of purpose at your work. It really does.”
Kim Julia (Sr., Culture & Media, Dept of Econ.)
“I think that a good job must have an environment where you can better yourself. For instance, if the corporate culture avoids change and bottom to top communication, individuals working in the company would surely feel like a mere cog in a machine. In this case, I think that the management’s openness towards a new approach or idea is an apt barometer for the quality of the corporate culture. I think a good company would have a flexible attitude towards change and tries to learn. I also think that a job I would really want to avoid is where they do not give you fair compensation for your work. What I mentioned about good qualities before doesn’t have to be there, but if they have ambiguous compensation for your work and frequent overtime with little comp, I expect employees there to be thinking about going elsewhere or quitting.”
Lee Sang-jin (1st Sem., Graduate Dept. of Electrical Engin.)
“I think the most important factor for me is a sense of achievement that comes from a passionate and autonomous work environment. It is important that a person works in a field that is right for him where he is not being repressed from above. I work in a field where working hours are irregular, so I think that the working hours is not particularly important. Since my work revolves around teamwork, it would be nice if I could feel a sense of achievement each time. A kind of job that I would avoid would be where my superiors do not do their work properly but forces their subordinates to work, or one where I am forced to work on something that I do not feel particularly motivated to do and thus cannot feel a sense of achievement.”
Kwon Ji-min (3rd semester Ph.D, Management, School of Business.)
“Extrinsic reward. I think money is the most objective metric for judging a job. There used to be jobs where there is less pay for more personal reward, but I think people these days want jobs that can provide them a consistent lifestyle and opportunities. This also means having a professional and transparent relationship with your employer. When I finished my masters and came to Korea, I worked for a foreign broadcasting company in Seoul as a foreign correspondent, which was more or less an informal intern. After a while, they offered me a full-time job. I thought that it would be nice to work in a place that I was already familiar with. However, after a while, I noticed that they did not offer me an official contract, and that they tended to avoid talking to me about payment or work hours. We worked in a small team of five to six people, and we also had unclear job expectations. Sometimes the cameraman would be doing the paperwork, and I would be doing something else entirely. I suspect that this was due to poor leadership. They need to make it clear how much you are being paid for and exactly what work you are expected to do.”
Jung Jung-ho (Jr., UIC, Quantitative Risk Management)
“I want a vibrant and passionate environment in my workplace. Ideally, this would mean having a lot of people talking and communicating with each other. It is not always easy as a programmer to really visualize codes, so I need to have people discuss with me so we can really be on the same page. And since I am just getting started, I need to learn from my seniors. I did an internship over last winter where I expected and wanted that kind of environment. However, despite the small size of the startup, people weren’t really talking to each other. For me, it seemed like there were lots of redundant communications that otherwise wouldn’t be necessary if we all just got together and talked to each other properly. Also, I didn’t want to disturb anyone’s workflow, so sometimes I had to time my questions. I didn’t think that was particularly efficient. It’s obvious that communication is key to high productivity, and this is especially important for me.”
Kim Tae-nyun (1st Sem., Graduate Dept of Psych.)
“I really do not want to work in a job that prevents me from developing [my skills]. Today, it is often common to see people switching jobs. They say that it is rare for you to stay in your first job for more than three years. In my first job, most of the employees left after 1 to 2 years and people in my current job say that they will most likely transition to bigger companies after 3 to 5 years. In this situation, if one cannot develop themselves it means that they will not be able to have a successful career. In this country, if you don’t have the necessary amount of experience to match your career, it can really work against you. In other words, if you are old but you don’t have the necessary experience compared to the junior workers, you are falling behind others. So, if you are in a company where you cannot improve yourself, you might be comfortable at the moment, but it will indicate stagnation in your life and career.”
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The kind of job and organization that suits oneself aligns closely with individual preference. As such, these lessons only come through personal experience working at the job. At the same time, however, common themes can be found among these responses from Yonsei students. Whether it is your first internship, or the first full-time job, it is important to remain self-aware of your own expectations and whether your job adequately fulfills them.