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[Opinion] Career Satisfaction

Posted November. 23, 2006 06:49,   


In the West, where the history of industrialization is longer, the idea that all occupations are honorable is a given. Like the maxims “Work is pleasurable in itself” (Great Britain), and “There is no dishonorable job, only dishonorable people” (France), these countries typically emphasize the importance of labor over the type of job. But people usually prefer jobs that entail prestige, recognition, and power. The only difference lies in the degree from the Confucian society, which traditionally values academics over farming, artisanship, and mercantilism.

In Korea, doctors, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and professors are popular jobs. With a relatively high income and social prestige, they are most popular as potential marriage partners as well. But recently celebrities, professional athletes, and professional gamers are also popular. According to the “Future Careers 2007,” released on November 21 by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development and the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, the jobs with the highest satisfaction rate were photographers, writers, pilots, composers, and bartenders, ranked from the highest. Judges and prosecutors ranked 15th place, which was among the lower group.

Doctors ranked second from the bottom. In a survey on 786 doctors in Seoul, the monthly magazine Good Morning Doctor stated that 77 percent of the respondents replied that the career of a doctor is unsatisfactory. In a period of high unemployment, it seems selfish to say that the satisfaction rate is low when they seem to be the most stable group. But there may be factors unseen to the outside. It is also interesting that models have the lowest satisfaction rate.

Wang Fan Zhi, a poet of the Tang dynasty, said, “Eat when you’re hungry and sleep when you are tired, that is all,” but it is not easy to achieve serenity of mind in today’s hectic times. The idea of “a calling” no longer exists, and it is rare to retire after staying in a single job. However, rather than envying what others have, it may be easier to have pride in one’s own job.

Han Gi-heung, Editorial Writer, eligius@donga.com