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[Opinion] No-Boss Day

Posted September. 10, 2005 08:08,   


Which is the happiest day for office workers? Most might answer that it is “no-boss day.” No-boss day is a coined word indicating a day where one’s boss is gone for business trip or vacation.

Management Innovation Consultant Gu Bon-hyung once wrote: “A no-boss day means happiness for office workers. On days when their bosses are not there, they feel free and relaxed. They even find it exciting to work.” This might be truer for those with strict bosses who pay full attention even to the slightest detail of work.

“No-boss day” has once been brought into conversation in Cheong Wa Dae, as well. One anecdote during the Kim Young-sam administration goes: One journalist told the then-chief presidential secretary, “You are totally free when the president goes on an overseas trip tomorrow. Take a full rest for a while.” The chief presidential secretary responded, “You’re kidding! On no-boss days, I have to take care of Cheong Wa Dae more thoroughly than ever. The president might call me any time.” For most presidential secretaries at that time, a “no-boss day” was not a “day of liberation” but a more burdensome day.

There are even some cases when incidents took place on “no-boss days.” One of them took place during President Roh Moo-hyun’s visit to the United States in the first year of the Participatory Government. President Roh made a call to the Control Office of Cheong Wa Dae, but his call was not received as the official on duty was sleeping. Such an unimaginable incident happened at a time when outside the country, the Korea-U.S. summit meeting was drawing near and inside the country, the Federation of Freight Workers Union was going on a strike. This meant the order and report system between the president and the Office of the Presidential Secretaries, which is supposed to work perfectly around the clock, came to a sudden halt.

During the upcoming presidential visit to Latin America, full attention should be paid so that Cheong Wa Dae does not repeat this kind of mistake.

Aboard his departing flight the other day, President Roh said, “The nation might lead a quiet life for about 10 days because I am leaving the country.” For the people, who are sick and tired of the president’s numerous political remarks, such as his suggestions of a coalition government, the “unbearable lightness” of his remarks might rather be a comfort.

The hope is that the “quiet life of the nation” might linger on, even after the president comes back. How good would it be if everyday was like a “no-boss day?”

Song Young-eon, Editorial Writer, youngeon@donga.com