Mrs. Lee has been working for a medium-size company in Korea since this spring. When the company hired her, it said that she can have her own time after work which means she could go home at 6:00pm.
However, once she started her job, she realized that real life is different. Due to constant overwork, she has become tired and now she drinks energy drinks all the time.
While the company says that she can go home once she has finished her work. The work she has never seems to end. Even if she works through her lunch time.
She also sees other co-workers who have to cut their lunch time in order to finish work. Because of this, she started doubting if she can really be happy in this environment.
She said, “The company told us that we can go home at 6:00 p.m. but that is not true. Instead, they try to give us as much work as they can. They are treating us as like tools.”
What do korean workers want from the company they work for?
For a happy life, it is important to have a balance between work and life after work. But still many workers have a hard time leaving at 6:00 p.m. Most Korean companies say that you will work eight hours a day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Even the government and other companies have tried to secure a life after work for their workers, but as of yet, it hasn’t really happened.
According to a survey of 585 workers by Job Korea in September titled ‘what is the definition of good job?, 50.6% of the respondents said that secure business hours was important. In second place, 34.2% of the respondents said they looked for an outstanding welfare system.
Why can’t workers leave?
Compared to the past, the culture that forces workers to do overwork is less severe. However, Mr. Choi, a public officer, said, “some bosses are really unpleasant if a subordinate or new employee goes home earlier than them. For them, it is unthinkable.”
Mr. Choi said, ‘I saw one boss pointing out his colleague, saying he is not a good worker because he leaves work at 6:00 p.m.” And he said, “It seems if you want to leave work at 6:00 p.m., you have to give up your promotion or reputation.”
Other bosses discourage workers who leaves at 6:00 p.m. by praising other workers who stay late.
Mrs. An, who works at a large company, said, “If you finish your work then you go home. But some bosses think that if you leave at 6:00 p.m. then they think you are not passionate enough. That is the reality.”
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