Dealing with barriers of overseas employment, “time to put rationality before fantasy”
Dealing with barriers of overseas employment, “time to put rationality before fantasy”
  • Jun Saem
  • 승인 2017.04.24 12:30
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Known as a city of generosity and romance, Paris is often mentioned by Ewha students as a travel destination every vacation. Some say it is an unforgettable, romantic place, while others say it fell short of their expectations. Even with these countering opinions, there is no doubt that France, especially Paris, is an attractive sight for many tourists. However, can Paris offer something different for the people who live there? To answer this question, Ewha Voice met with Oh Yoon-sun who works in Financial Times (FT) in Paris. As a student who learned French in a foreign language high school, Oh was naturally exposed to cultures abroad. It was around this time that she became curious about France and thought, “I may be able to live in that country someday.” After eight years, the girl who took vague interest in France swiftly transitioned into a Global Client Associate Director of FT. Oh majored in Political Science & International Relations at Ewha, and doublemajored in Business Administration. Upon graduation, she worked as a member of the marketing division at IBM Korea. Then she moved to Paris where she worked as an intern at Celine and Chanel, and eventually settled in the Luxury advertising division in FT. Her career path has been quite different from her university major. “Looking back on the 10 years of work experience, it is possible for one to think that my career path has no direct association with my majors,” Oh said. “But I want to mention that unless the majors are linked with professionals such as doctors or lawyers, what students learn in university is very comprehensive. Only a handful of people actually pursue careers directly related to their majors. For many others, their main studies help them develop communication and thinking skills, which work as a foundation for jobs.” Throughout the interview, Oh emphasized the importance of not being tied down to majors when it comes to job selection. She mentioned that experience works as a more important factor than one’s major. “What kind of experience one accumulates is more important,” Oh mentioned. “Of course when I first worked in IBM, an university’s prestige and majors helped greatly. However, no one expects expertise from a new employee. Companies only consider competence, as communications skills and comprehension are what they need from employees. These are qualities which cannot be taught through lectures.” Although FT seems like the perfect job where workers can speak up on their behalf and are not entitled to working overtime, Oh was not as optimistic about overseas employment. Although the fantasy of living abroad may work as a driving force, she worried about the difficulties that have to be faced when the fantasy breaks apart. “I know that many young people in Korea feel burdened about employment, and I completely understand them complaining that Korea is ‘Hell-Joseon,’” Oh remarked. “However, it is very risky to move to Europe simply based on employment. Jobs are created upon development, but France is already developed. Besides, the environment here makes it difficult for companies to lay off employees, which leads to less room for new jobs. Even young people in Europe are turning to Asia for employment. Planning to work abroad without considering such conditions is risky.” Moreover, she questioned young people whether they are ready to give up the convenience enjoyed in Korea. Here, it is possible to simply dial or click an application to order takeaway food at any time. However, in many European countries, including France, it is difficult to find convenience stores, or shops that stay open past 9 p.m. “Think about the various services in Korea,” Oh pointed out. “They can be provided wherever and whenever. In reverse, though, that would mean that someone is working until late hours. You win some, and you lose some. In France, you work less hours but you also have to give up convenience.” Oh warned not to expect a paradise at the end of your escape. Such advice may discourage some who expected heaven to unfold upon moving to a new country. However, Oh emphasized “rational thinking.” “Reasons behind working abroad needs to come before the fantasy of a new land, ” Oh commented. “If you are desperate for a career and want to build international e xperience, keep asking yourself ‘Why?’, ‘What kind of experience am I expecting through overseas employment?’, ‘Where are the jobs I want situated?’ Asking such questions and finding information is crucial for a successful overseas career.”

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