Gun-Ho’s parents are living in Juan Town, Incheon. Gun-Ho used to work in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province and then Pocheon, and now he is working in Yangju.
‘I even gave up the level-9 civil service exam; I don’t care where I live.’
Thinking like this, Gun-Ho has adapted to any place he had to live. The life as a factory worker estranged Gun-Ho from his friends and made him close with only Jong-Suk who was also working at a factory.
“Jong-Suk, did you get the welders certificate?”
“Uh, bro! I took the exam. The results were not released yet, but I think I passed it.”
“That certificate is for a welder or a welding technician?”
“Welders. While welders usually do shielded metal arc welding, special welders do TIG welding.”
“That’s how they are divided? I have no idea. Good luck with it.”
“What about you, bro? Did you take the level-2 computerized accounting exam?”
“I finished the course. I am now preparing for the exam. I don’t think I can pass the level-1 exam, but I think I can easily pass level-2.”
“Bro, you didn’t go fishing lately, did you?”
“I haven’t had time for it.”
“I won’t go fishing either since it had been cold, but I went fishing last week for nothing.”
“Why? Were there no blind fishes?”
“The fishes were not biting. Also, I didn’t see Chairman Lee there. He probably didn’t come because of the cold weather.”
“Yeah, probably so. Cold weather affects the elderly.”
“That old man seemed to like you a lot. He said you had the fate of being a rich man.”
“He probably said so to make me feel better. Stay warm during the winter, and I will see you next spring after we both pass the exam.”
“Sounds good! Once the weather becomes warmer, let’s go fishing and drink soju together.”
Gun-Ho studied really hard that winter. Even though he was exhausted after work, he studied strenuously until late night every day striving to pass the level-2 computerized accounting exam.
“I think I now see the overall picture.”
Gun-Ho had a vague idea about the accounting system. He started reading books related to accounting because they interested him. His knowledge of accounting rapidly progressed.
“This is what the accounting cycle is. Once I know it, it makes sense.”
Gun-Ho dreamed about having his own business, keeping his account book and move forward.
The Small and Big Winter went by, and the Lunar New Year’s Day and the first full moon followed. In Early March, Gun-Ho received the news that Jong-Suk passed the welder exam.
“Bro! I passed the exam!”
“Really? I am happy for you. Congratulations. Let’s celebrate over a drink; you buy it. Will you start preparing for the police exam then?”
“It will be nice to be a policeman, but I want to work in a place like a shipyard. The pay for a policeman or level-9 government employee is not good even though they come with good retirement benefits.”
“Government job is good… Can you get a job in production for a big company?”
“It’s hard to get a job in a big company, and you need luck as well. I am a preferred job candidate since I already served in the military and I am less than 30 years old, but there are a lot of candidates out there with the same qualification.”
“Is that so?”
“Bro, when is your level-2 computerized accounting exam?”
“I have to apply for the exam by March 9th, and the exam date is April 9th.”
“You only have a few weeks left. You will have to take a day off on the exam date.”
“No, I don’t have to. It’s on a Saturday.”
“That’s nice. Since you are interested in accounting and you think you have an aptitude for it, I’m sure you will pass the exam.”
That year, in April, Gun-Ho found out that he passed the exam. Once he passed it, he wanted to work in accounting right away. He didn’t have any work experience in the field and he was worried about that, but if there was a job opening for a male bookkeeper, he wanted to go for it. While he was going through the classified section in a newspaper, he saw a job advertisement.
“Hiring a bookkeeper. No experience necessary. Driver’s license preferred”
If work experience was not required, this must be an assistant position, and there must be someone working already. The advertisement didn’t mention anything about female gender requirement. Gun-Ho made a call to the number.
“Hello? Is it AH Tech? I just saw a job opening advertisement for a bookkeeper position.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Can a man apply for the position?”
“Do I need to visit the site to apply?”
“You can send your resume through fax.”
“Ok. Thank you.”
Gun-Ho’s heart started beating. He was going to send the resume right away.
“I can’t use the fax machine at the office, someone might think it strange. Let’s do it outside.”
Gun-Ho planned to fax it during lunchtime. Without having lunch, Gun-Ho went to the stationary store close to the Township Office and faxed his resume to the company.
“It is good that this company is not far from here; I don’t have to move again.”
Gun-Ho felt excited about the possibility of working in an office and not in a factory anymore. That thought made him enjoy even the factory work.
“Hey, Gun-Ho. Something fun?” The quiet team leader in the crushing site asked.
“You look happy. You got a girlfriend?”
“No. I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“I’ve seen several pretty girls working in the factory next to ours. Go for it.”
“I haven’t seen any.”
“There is a very pretty girl from Vietnam.”
“You seemed to be interested in her.”
“I am not interested in any at all. It is already hard to live with one woman, my wife.”
A few days later, the AH Tech Gun-Ho applied for a bookkeeper position sent a text to him to invite him for an interview.
“I have to miss the work… Let’s tell them I am sick.”
In a small factory like this one, if someone missed work, the others had to work more. Gun-Ho felt sorry for his colleagues, but he had no choice. Gun-Ho started acting.
“I can’t work any longer today. I am not feeling well. I think it has to do with something I ate yesterday.”
“What? You were perfectly fine this morning! You drank yesterday, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t. I don’t know what is wrong with me. Wekwek.”
Gun-Ho pretended he was throwing up. That caused the team leader to raise his eyebrows.
“Go see a doctor.”
Gun-Ho moaned. “I feel like passing out.”
“Go to the company dormitory for foreign workers, and lie down there for a while.”
“My stomach aches.”
“It hurts? Go see a doctor quickly.”
Gun-Ho walked out of the factory telling them he was heading to a hospital.”
“Yippee. I made it. Today will be a hard day for the team leader; he will have to do the work I was supposed to do.”
The company Gun-Ho was having an interview for was a bit bigger than his current factory. He was not sure about the nature of their business but he could smell some chemicals; they were probably manufacturing pharmaceutical related products.
“I came here for an interview.”
“Please have a seat and wait in the conference room over there.”
In the conference room, there were four other candidates waiting. They were all female. As Gun-Ho entered the room, they glanced at him then focused on their smartphones. After a while, a man in his early 50s and a woman in her 40s came into the room, holding a file.
“Thank you all for coming today. I am a director of AH Tech. The lady next to me is a manager.”
“Nice to meet you.”
All candidates simultaneously bowed in a half standing position.