Oh In-young, the CEO of social salon Young Lab held various occupations before starting the salon. Although Oh is still in her twenties, she has prior experience of working as a singer and a journalist, and is now challenging herself to manage Young Lab. When she was asked the reason for her transitions of jobs, her reply was quite unexpected.
“I believe one’s job is merely a tool to reach one’s value,” the 25-year-old Oh said. “Therefore, Young Lab is another way to create benign influence for people which is what I have been trying to pursue through my previous posts.”
Young Lab is a start-up, which creates programs that allow people to express their thoughts and concerns about life with others, and garner the courage to take a different step in life. At the core of this purpose, Oh and her coworkers are working to make various programs for those who need guidance.
“The name Young Lab is derived from the message that each one of us is too young to only live for a single goal, and we should experiment with our lives through what we wish to do, like experimenting in a laboratory,” Oh said.
In this social salon there are no age limits. Yet, most members range from their twenties to late thirties as it is the phase of life to ponder the most about one’s future and career. The programs are held through seasons, each season consisting of six meetings within a three-month period comprising of 10 members and a host. Prospective members can choose the programs they are interested in. Previous programs focused on finding one’s inner self, discussing momentous movies, networking through wine, and discussing feminism.
“I am the host of ‘Introduction to Self-Awareness’ for university students and business people,” Oh said. “We discuss terms like happiness, unhappiness, and dreams and what they mean to each one of us. As members express their thoughts, they are given an outlet to share their worries as well as the chance to organize their thoughts. I also opened up my failure and hardships in addition to how I overcame them.”
For Oh’s memorable experience, she mentioned there was a member who presented her dream to the group at the start of a Young Lab program season. Although she was a corporate employee, her dream was to become a travel writer. The members encouraged her to write a book within the three months of the program and she actually did. Oh helped her publicize the book at the end of the three months, and it was very surprising for her to see someone who had the courage and determination to accomplish a long-held dream.
As Oh herself went through phases scavenging what she wants since she was a freshman, she gave various advices to Ewha students.
“My first advice is about the timing of chances,” she remarked. “The best chance comes when you are at your lowest point in life so I urge students to not give up so easily. Also, I advise them to make recording a habit - whether it be through writing or filming. Personally, I look back at old diaries and see how much I have grown. Looking back at past records allows you to gain motivation by enabling one to draw out the future. Also, when you are interested in a certain field, it is important that you hear advice from seniors already experienced in that field out in the society rather than seniors still in the boundaries of the university. Lastly, for any Ewha students who are struggling to find directions in life, I recommend reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’”
At the end of the interview, Oh mentioned about the ultimate goals of Young Lab.
“Young Lab is still a fledgling start-up, and even if I do make plans, they never turn out the way I expect them to,” she said. “So, my goal is to be present at the current events Young Lab is hosting, believing that a well-lived today will lead to a better tomorrow.”