On the Verge of Insanity -- Episodes 1 & 2: Office Politics
What a blessing it to have Jung Jae Young (I loved him in Partners for Justice 1 & 2) back on the small screen. I had been patiently waiting on season three, only to find that there won't be one; I am beyond disappointed, but I look forward to this drama for bringing the likes of Lee Sang Yeob, Ahn Nae Sang, Kim Nam Hee, and Moon So Ri.
I can't say I know Moon So Ri much, but I like what I've seen from her so far as Tang Ja Yeong, an HR professional saddled with the difficult task of managing employees in a downsized environment. While at the same time trying to push her ambition to become be the first female executive at Hanmyung Electronics. From its onset, I commend Verge of Insanity for taking on the challenges and trauma employees, HR professionals, and managers face through layoffs, not just for those laid off but also among the workers who survive the downsize and how it affects them professionally and personally.
As an HR professional who has experienced both sides of the aisle, I entirely understand the sense of betrayal, distrust, insecurity, anger, sadness, and unworthiness; all parties experienced, the laid-off, the survivors, even those who have to enforce it. In that sense, it's a drama that touches a nerve, especially the scenes with Choi Ban Seok when he finds he is transferred for no fault of his own. I also know what it feels like as an HR professional for one's work to be trivialized. I hope this drama can help shed a more positive light on HR as a profession that gets the brunt of negative attitudes, even when they don’t make the policies or decisions.
In Choi Ban Seok (Jung Jae Young), I found myself admiring his calm, warm-hearted nature, a man well-liked by his colleagues and friends Roh Byung Guk (Ahn Nae Sang), Paeng Soo Gon (Park Won Sang), and Gong Jung Pil (Park Sung Geun) who has developed a keen sense of knowledge from his 22-year career as an Engineer. And, what he lacks in education, he more than makes up for it in experience, which surprisingly enough threatens his new boss, Team Lead Han Se Kwon (Lee Sang Yeob), who has him transferred to the HR department for that very reason. They say bad managers don't listen to their employees because they feel insecure when they find their employees are more intelligent. And I must say my favorite scene was Ban Seok outwitting Han Se Kwon into spilling his cowardly deed.
There is nothing I despise more than office politics. So despite understanding why Tang Ja Yeong was against Choi Ban Seok's transfer to her department, I didn't appreciate her manipulative methods to get him to resign on his own rather than retrain him. But as they say, office politics are bloody-minded but weak on content as Ja Yeong is about to find out that Ban Seok is far more resilient than she first gives him credit. Although the only reason she decides to keep him in her department is to further her own goals.
I have a good feeling about this drama. I know I will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed another mature slice of life dramas such as Live, Misaeng, Diary of a Prosecutor, Black Dog, Argon, among others. And I cannot wait to see how it tackles the major aspects and effects of downsizing on its surviving employees and their concerns about job security, especially since many survivors in a downsized environment are likely to feel that they have to work more, that their jobs will be less satisfying and that they will be paid less. Watch Episodes 1 & 2 here.