Misaeng Ep 4: Know Thy Strengths

Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really.
Just keep trying.

– Bear Grylls


Chief Oh thinks he’s too late to catch ED before he leaves for the day, but the car halts a few meters past Chief Oh. He runs towards the waiting vehicle, bows formally and requests a reconsideration on the matter of Kim Dong Sik’s disciplinary action. ED doesn’t say anything except to the driver to continue his journey. DS saw the exchange as he stopped at the stairs near the foyer area.


SY cannot believe they’ve been assigned another individual task as part of the presentation test. Individual presentation is about revealing yourself through your partner whether in a good way or bad. If GR accepts SY’s suggestion, it’ll only make him look good. If GR refuses, it’ll make him look petty.

SY warns GR he won’t buy anything GR sells to him. No matter what.

Office on 15th Floor

Ever since the second task was announced, the interns simply could not leave the workplace. Everything the need for their presentation was only available in the office. Different strategies are deployed: rifling through catalogs in the resource room, surfing the net for similar ideas, currying favor with a friend of a friend of a friend for an easy way out… GR studies SY’s resume on his computer, trying to figure out what makes him tick. Does he like working on site? Or office? But doesn’t site work begin from the office? GR looks around his corner for clues.

Bully Intern Sang Hyun is recording YY, much to her annoyance. He insists it is part of his presentation strategy.

GR:  Site work is completed in the office. Your product info is in this document. I need your signature here. It also requires the signatures of upper management. I’ll sell this pen which you can sign off the paper with… It’s lacking…

Chief Oh:  Yeah. It’s lacking. (Mr. Oh – GR) You sound too desperate. It’s not persuasive.

GR:  I thought you left for the day… Mr. Oh, isn’t the office as important as the site? (Of course it is. – Chief) Right? I can’t find a line to respond to site-oriented work. (Why would this big building be necessary? Site work is completed in the office. – Chief) I agree.

Chief Oh:  There’s no clear line between site and office for us. That’s how it’s like for trade. You need both. You run around like crazy at site, then you work like mad in the office. What?

GR:  Nothing… See you tomorrow…. I found it.

GR and Mum at home

They’re having breakfast in their humble home and mum asks when GR’s test ends. Likely past afternoon. He walks out of the house and sees the mountain of laundry from the sauna. Why did you take in so much? It’s not for me, but for you.. in case you fail your test. LOL!

One International

All interns are waiting outside the test hall with their own boxes in hand. From the way they are lined up, the GR/ SY duo may be the last to present. YY noticed SY’s blase acknowledgement of GR. They are ushered to their area in the room. The big conference doors are opened and in comes the Management team of One International. ED takes his seat in the front row and as others fill in their places, GR sees Chief Oh taking his on the last row.

The managers take note of the interns who are anxiously waiting for the test to begin. YY is acknowledged as one of the rising stars, and Chief Oh confidently states she will join his team because she knows his attractiveness XD

Announcement: We’ll talk for 10 minutes and have Q&A for 5. You can’t use any other files.

SY has a panic attack. He just realized his phone is not on him. ED then says a few encouraging words to the interns and states they are looking for progressive people who have positive mind set. Then the test begins… many did not fare well and a few even falter from the get go. SY continues to fidget in his seat, and GR can’t be of any help to him. As expected, YY shone like a beacon during her presentation and pretty much carried most of the work. Back row managers note YY’s gumption in sharing her opinions and fast thinking of issues. BK too did splendidly in his presentation, but Chief Oh says he’s all brains but doesn’t have the ability to move people’s hearts.

Next up, GR and SY, the latter still struggling to overcome his nerves. GR walks in confidently and takes his seat by the table with the laptop. SY experiences stage fright. His mind is a total blank. GR is dumbfounded with SY’s 180-degree change. Where’s the debonair, devil-may-care snob? Back at the office, calls are coming in for SY. Why is everyone looking for him? A text message comes from his mum: Have you taken your medication? Oh-oh… o_O

He bulldozes through his presentation, even the management team notices the hurry. SY begs for more time, he needs to take medication to calm himself down. The other interns snigger on the side. ED allows SY to take his meds, but no extra time is given, it will not be fair to the rest of the interns. They have 7 minutes left. GR volunteers to pick up where SY left, “I’ll do it.” Chief Oh’s jaw drops.

Before GR begins, he thinks back when he was a little boy, learning baduk from his teacher:

Why did you put it there? There’s no such thing as ‘just because.’ You need a plan for every move. That’s called an intention. Your top-right is blocked. What will you do about the crisis?

Get rid of unnecessary ones.


What would you get rid of?

Eloquence. I’ll get rid of the reason why I chose Suk Yool.

He begins, but the manner in which he presents is rather dry and boring, management team is fast losing interest in whatever else he has to say.

Brief history of SY: His father has always worked in factories, and SY never once was ashamed of that fact, even during tough times when dad was let go. Presently, his dad is still working in yet another factory, but the men who work alongside with him regard SY as their own son and they were the ones who were frantically calling SY. Because they know SY has stage fright.

Awww, SY is not such a dawg after all… My bad XD YAY!!

SY can see GR, despite hie best intentions, is tanking their presentation. He musters his courage and steps in to continue. He thanks GR for stepping in. GR knew it was SY’s time to shine. Whatever that flows out of his mouth seem to be perfect. He is making up for his time with his eloquence. He took full control. That’s it.

Top candidates after Round 1: YY, BK, SY

Round 2

SY’s confidence has returned and looks forward to sparring with GR in the second round. SY starts first. He opens his box and takes out a string with fabric swatches clipped onto it. Fabrics of various types from the factory. He wants to stick it to GR his team’s previous mistake in this test. SY wants to sell the fabric and the book that contains all analysis of written communication at site.

GR decides to only buy the book because it has analysis which can save him time. SY defends saying GR would need the fabric too for only then would he have extensive knowledge to be considered a specialist. The emcee asks GR’s final decision: I will buy only if he sells it WITH me. Smart, dude! What will GR sell to SY?

SY:  Whatever you sell… (What is he holding? – Chief)

GR:  I’ll sell this work slipper to him. (Where’s my slipper? – DS) This is Mr. Oh’s slipper. (That’s mine… Maybe not – Chief) Look at his shoes. They’re clean. Office workers need to be neat since we meet clients. Most of the work is done in the office. Look at his slipper again. (What’s he doing? – Chief) It’s worn out. You can see for yourself. (That dirty – Chief) You can smell the sweat too. The smell of sweat. It means the office is part of the site. I’ll sell the combat boot of the office. (Again. Wow – female manager)

SY:  I won’t buy it. The office is not part of the site. Do you even know what the site is? The site employees get laid off so easily by office workers who just sign documents. You want to see their combat boot? They wear construction boots. To protest their feet in case heavy tools fall. That’s what you call combat boots. I won’t buy yours.

GR:  You’ve always emphasized the site. You must be all about how the machines work to make products. You must be thinking about your expertise and experience in contests in the field.

Query: What contest? You won a contest? (I won contests – SY)

GR:  But we take the crowded subway everyday for work. We check the foreign exchange rate everyday. We try to prevent mistakes made by a single digit. We check legal documents for a single sentence. We don’t just sign a document. There are tons of dialogue. You also feel small in the process. Sometimes we stay up all night for foreign countries to get a single okay. The items made at the site start to exist after the process of validating why they should be made. They can’t exist without going through the office.

Baduk Master:  There is no meaningless move.

GR:  There’s no meaningless product made by the company.

Baduk Master:  The reason the stone gets in trouble is because you’ve failed to see intentions.

GR:  The reason a product fails is because you’ve failed to see ahead and plan.

Baduk Master:   When it’s in trouble just let it die but you should use them to your benefit.

GR:  When a product is a failure, just let it fail, but you should use it to make a better product. The office and site are mutually connected. There may be mistakes between them but if you look at the big picture, we’re all aiming for the same goal.

The site in my mind is not different from the one you do.

Female manager:  Applause.

SY:  GR-Sshi…

GR doing odd-jobs

It has been a week since the Presentation test. He still does part time work in the night and returns home when it is daylight.

Office on 15th Floor

Team Sales 3 is out of sorts without GR there. In fact, all teams are anxiously waiting to see who successfully passed the test and will henceforth be official employees of One International.

Text messages went to YY, BK and SY.

GR completes his item delivery job and it happens to be One International. He calls his mum “I got the job.”  A two-year contract position.

BK, YY and SY meet at the lobby. BK believes it’s just the three of them since they only allowed two interns. YY is covertly hopeful to see that familiar face and she is glad to see the last one walk through the main entrance. SY gives out an enthusiastic “Yes!” but BK doesn’t. How did HE pass the test?

The HR rep joins them and says Kim Seok Ho made it too but he is assigned to HQ. They need to fill out some paperwork and then meet the Executive Director.

ED’s office

ED meets the four of them in his swanky office, and starts off by asking YY if they have met before. She affirms they have not. “Really?” Geu Rae? and GR acknowledges ED thinking that he called out his name, but in fact didn’t. LOL!! XD XD XD

ED has their resumes in his file as he talks to each of them, picking out a specific topic that reflects their interest. BK has indicated he wants to work at Resource where the “future” of the company will be. ED confirms that and says only the Elites can join that department. When he finally focuses on GR, ED doesn’t say anything except “Work hard.” Which was rather mysterious to YY and SY but BK was struggling not to snigger at the supposed polite snub from the ED.

The foursome are then seated at a table where usual employment accessories are sorted and when their IDs are handed out, the HR manager asks them to check where they are assigned to (on the back of the ID tags):

SY is happy to see his department. YY is apprehensive and glances nervously at BK. BK bites back his disappointment when he grits out the words “Steel Team.” SY asks where GR is assigned to. He simply smiles 😀

GR:  Hello! I’m the new employee, Jang Geu Rae. Mr. Oh, I’m here.

Chief Oh:  So! Why you again?!

DS:  Congratulations GR 🙂

GR:  Thank you. I’ll get to work.

Chief Oh:  Dang!… Hey, Where’s YY? (She went to Resources, SY to Fabrics, BK to Steel, SH went to HQ – GR)

DS:  That’s how they went

Chief Oh:  Hey… why’d you come to our team?

GR:  I heard you asked for me.

Chief Oh:  Me? When did I do that? Did you ask for him? (No – DS) I didn’t ask for you! Hey! I didn’t ask for you! Hey! You’re laughing?! I didn’t ask for you! Tell him I didn’t ask for him.

ED:  Your team looks happy. I’m glad Sang Sik did what he did.  The team looks tight. I’m glad to put a smile on your faces too. Work hard.


GR steps out onto the eventful floor. He remembers DS bringing him out there on his first day at One International.

Chief Oh:  What is this? Slacking off on your first day of work? (No, Sir – GR) Honestly, I’m not happy to see you. As you know, we need someone who can do a million tasks, (I know, Sir – GR) We should’ve gotten YY… You made it anyways, so try to survive. You have to survive here. Surviving means going towards a complete life. (Complete life? GR) You might not be familiar, in the game of Go, there’s a complete life and incomplete life. We’re all incomplete lives.


Dear Chief.
You don’t know the Go Powerhouse you have in your pocket 🙂


One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s