|Lim Ji-hyun gave up a stable job as a teacher to follow her true passion as a comedian. The photo shows her debut show in "Comedy Hunders." Photo provided by Lim Ji-hyun.
Stable career choices such as government jobs are becoming more popular these days as high unemployment rate drives young people to seek stable jobs. Still, there are those who choose to follow their heart and walk down risky paths with enthusiasm. Lim Ji-hyun, who majored Physical Education of Ewha, abandoned a promising job as teacher to take the adventurous road as a comedian.
Currently, as an official comedian of SBS, she is taking part in a hit show titled, “Interview” in “Comedy Hunters.” She has also made a surprise visit during the 2016 Ewha Entrance Ceremony to briefly share her story of how her career changed drastically when she chose to follow her heart.
“Ever since I was in middle school, my dream was to become a teacher,” Lim said. “I majored in Physical Education and after years of studying, I succeeded in passing the teacher certification exam. Everything was ready for me to take the predictable path. However, I soon realized that my aptitude was not up for teaching the same materials repeatedly to 10 classes.”
Just as Lim was feeling doubtful about what used to be her life-long dream, an opportunity came along that became the turning point of her life. She was chosen as a student adviser of “Welcome to Ewha” during the 2012 Ewha Entrance Ceremony.
“That day, I spoke in front of 3,000 students,” Lim said. “It was the first time I experienced the thrill of interacting with audience. I honestly hadn’t expected myself to pull off such a positive response from a huge audience. To make so many people laugh and have them pay attention to what I say made me seriously consider becoming a comedian for the first time in my life.”
In the process of such drastic change in her career, Lim faced several hardships. After Lim announced to her family that she wanted to become a comedian instead of a teacher, harsh opposition fell upon her.
“My dad wouldn’t even talk to me,” Lim said. “He used to cut out negative news articles of comedians undergoing financial difficulties and put them on my desk while I was asleep.”
As Lim’s father had had difficult experiences as a businessman during the IMF, Lim’s mother had always wanted her daughter to have a stable job.
“With such strong disagreements from my family, I sought advice from my friends,” Lim said. “But I realized that my mind had been set all along and nothing could change that.”
With determination to take the road not taken, Lim secretly joined a comedian troupe in Daehangno for the first six months. However, her family soon found out when Lim’s average GPA of 3.8 to 4.0 fell and she failed to win a scholarship for the first time.
Luckily, her family began to show more support when Lim got selected as one of the 15th official comedians of SBS. As a newly debuted member of “Comedy Hunters,” however, other difficulties soon followed. She realized that not only comedy show, but the broadcasting industry itself is dominated by men.
The fact that the status quo enables men to be more vocal than women is another reason why Lim always works extra hard to become the best in her field. As a respectable female comedian and a proud Ewha graduate, She wishes to speak out against gender stereotypes which are still used as a source of humor in Korea.
For the young people who wish to become a teacher just for its stability, Lim has an advice from the bottom of her heart.
“I believe it’s perfectly fine not to challenge yourself in other fields for a safe and predictable future, since the choices you make are based on your own life values,” Kim said. “As for me, I prefer to try new things every day, so I’m going to continue challenging myself even if I eventually end up on a barren land. The most important thing, however, is to establish your own life value that you can depend on through experiences. Experience, because everything counts.”