Walking on my way home, I was not able to feel my feet, ankles, or legs. They were not part of my body anymore. Yet, it was not only the physical factors of myself that lost its owner, but mental part of myself also lost its order from hours of nervous conversations. But the worst was yet to come. This was only the first day from work.
Two years ago, I had a chance to work at a department store. As a student who was right in the middle of puberty, I desperately wanted a hair extension. Yet, at the same time, I felt guilty for to ask my father to pay for it. I had about 2 weeks before going back to school, and thus I decided to get a part-time job to pay for my hair extension.
|A Photo of the ‘Lucky Planet’ explanation booklet of products.
Using the ‘Albamon’ application (an application which offers different choices of part-time jobs to apply for), I applied to different fields of jobs, such as cleaning, washing dishes, and sales. After a day or so, I received my very first interview request. It was from a company named ‘Lucky Planet,’ which sold items for travelling. I later heard that they were interested in my ability to speak Korean, English, and a little bit of Chinese. They offered me a job as a sales woman in a department store. As a newly launched brand, they were opening a pop-up store to sell and advertise their products. My job was to set up the platform at 9:30 am, work as a sales woman from 9:30 am to 8:30 pm, and clean the platform at 8:30 pm. I was not allowed to wear any shorts or drink water on the platform. I was not even allowed to sit down for a second. The rules were hard and strict.
|A Photo of the ‘Lucky Planet’ platform within the department store.
Working in the department store was definitely not easy. It was difficult and tiresome. However, interestingly, as days passed, I found myself learning something. I began to understand how society works. On the first day of work, I learned that working and earning money was not an easy thing to do. It required great effort and perseverance to accomplish such tasks. As days passed, I had more chances to look into people’s faces, and I began to take interest in the “cycle” of our society; how people start their day, end their day, and how these people gather to create a single society. Thus, within a society, people make promises between relationships, and often times these eventually develop to become “rules” and “laws.” Working in the department store was not an exception. There were promises between the workers and the workers, the workers and the company, as well as the company and the department store.
(A Photo of ‘Lucky Planet’ Superman version luggage bag.)
The order within the community of the department store was created by small promises such as coming to work on time, following the dress code, and properly setting up the platform.
An individual going against these promises might seem negligible. However, once we recognize the significance of individual deeds, we realize that it in fact is something we must not neglect.
Through this experience of my own, it was not only the hair extension I gained. I obtained enough perseverance to stand still for about 10 hours. I learned how to be responsible and respectful by confronting different customers with different backgrounds, age, gender, and purposes. I had to work with my best effort to meet the needs of these customers, and in the end, I had made a daily sale of approximately 2,000,000 won selling travelling products. However, these were not the cherry on top of the cake. The most meaningful part of this experience was that I understood the importance of the “individual deeds.”
This is a story that happened two years ago, but I can still recall the vivid memories of those days. With hindsight, I often wonder - “Would I be who I am now without that experience?” My answer would probably be “No.” The experience only started as my “want” for a better look. However, my courage to work for a company allowed me to gain more mature and responsible perspective towards the society.
Any part-time job requires a great amount of perseverance, responsibility, and respect. However, ultimately, I found myself gaining the “experience” which is worth more than all my hard work.
So Hyun Park
Branksome Hall Asia
So Hyun Park email@example.com
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