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[Opinion] Personal Connections

Posted September. 19, 2007 08:02,   


“Don’t put yourself in a situation where you get on the subway or catch a taxi while worrying about being late after sleeping in for five-to-ten minutes. Remember that your ability is judged based on the five or ten minutes,” says career consultant Park Seung-joo in his book, “Happiness and The Principles of Success for 2nd Placers.” He argues that the 2nd placer can become the winner of the race if he or she arrives at the office earlier than superiors to leave the impression that they are an early bird. Of course, it is also an unwritten rule that wise salaried employees leave work only after superiors leave the office.

Those who have a great many connections do not forget to use breakfast and lunch as a means to make more personal connections. They often eat dinner twice to broaden their connections with influential figures. For them this is the art of living. In fact, there are quite a considerable number of government officials or politicians who rose to their prestigious positions purely because of personal connections. There is a saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is the fundamental principle in relationships for all ages and countries.

Perhaps politicians are the ones who value personal connections the most. From wannabes to incumbent politicians, they constantly vie for the attention of the party chairman or key party members in an attempt to receive the party`s nomination or a good position. They go wherever prominent politicians appear to make their acquaintance. Politician Y, who is known for his skills in expanding his personal network, is often referred to as a “Ghost.” Whenever powerful politicians appear in front of cameras, he suddenly appears and takes pictures with them. Those pictures are featured on parliamentary reports which are distributed to local constituencies.

Sohn Hak-gyu and Chung Dong-young, the presidential hopefuls of the United New Democratic Party, who are extremely busy these days with the primary race, went to the Incheon International Airport to see former President Kim Dae-jung before he departed on his U.S. visit. People say that they went to see Kim to win his heart ahead of the primary election at Gwangju-South Jeolla Province on September 29. Although Kim said, “You should leave first as you are busy in your primary campaigns,” the two remained at the airport until he exited to board his flight. Kim might have enjoyed their companionship, but the two might have been left thinking, “Why do I have to do all this?”

Gwon Soon-taek, Editorial Writer, maypole@donga.com