top of page

On the Verge of Insanity -- Episodes 11 & 12: Life Comes Full Circle: Mind Your Choices

I didn't expect to have seen the last of Han Se Kwon, and I wouldn't blame him if he tried something else. Yes, he was humiliated in front of the whole company, and that may have been enough to get anyone else on the straight and narrow but not him, especially if he hasn't learned his lesson. I have a strong feeling he hasn't—shame on those who keep enabling him.

As for Choi Ban Seok, I don't blame him; on the contrary, I am with him in his choices. He's begging for his job or for a time until his invention is a success, which could help him land another job, was hard to watch. He and so many like him have given their life's work to Hanmyung Electronics, but they are nothing but numbers and dollar signs and are all expendable. And the voluntary resignation option for the 20+ years of the service employee population does precisely that. In any other part of the world, this would send red flags everywhere.

Ja Yeong, I understand, is telling herself she is only doing her job, but there comes a time when one must stand for something more than just themselves. And when you stand for something, you've got to stand for it all the way, not halfway. HR is a thankless job in general, but it becomes even more disagreeable when laying off employees, which is hard for anyone, let alone the person who has to deliver the bad news. And like Choi Ban Seok told Ja Yeong, I commend her for trying to go through the voluntary layoffs with the employee's dignity intact.

In HR, the company's interest comes first as long as it's not illegal. But my biggest issue with Ja Yeong has been that she known Han Se Kwon was doing some shady stuff and allowed it to continue. As HR, it was her obligation to take action, and she didn't not until it was too late and only when it would've impacted her directly. Despite Han Se Kwon causing massive issues for the company, he is suspended rather than fired, and that's probably how things are in that part of the world. I've come to accept the cultural differences. It does paint a pretty bleak corporate world picture.

I do not in any way blame Choi Ban Seok; he was definitely pushed to the extreme and resorted to the only measure he feels will work to get his voice heard -- threatening to take the company and Ja Yeong down with him. Of everyone in that company, she should've fought with him as he did with her. He trusted her, and she let him down, and what's worse, she never really grasped how much that hurt Ban Seok; even Jung Ah (Cha Chung Hwa), who doesn't even work with him, understood that. Ja Yeong's behavior is akin to gaslighting Ban Seok for fighting for what he believes was right for him. And in the process was able to save everyone that was being forced out through the voluntary resignation process.

And rather than try and understand him, Ja Yeong attempts to exert her power by playing the victim, painting Ban Seok as the aggressor and trying to get him disciplined and ultimately fired. It boomerangs right on her, and for that, I felt no sympathy for her; maybe now she will understand what she did. I am glad she is now in the same predicament Ban Seok was in when he was first transferred to HR. I wonder if she is strong enough to handle this new change the way he did or if she will even learn anything from the situation. The saddest part is that everyone is out to keep their jobs without addressing the issues at hand.

I knew Ban Seok planned to resign regardless of the outcome, so, in that sense, I loved that he got the opportunity to see how much his work was appreciated, if not by the company then by the consumer. But I loved more than Han Soo rallied for him to stay on. I will give it to Ban Seok though I don't know if I would have been strong enough to continue working for a company that didn't value my efforts; there’s nothing worse than feeling unseen and unheard in the workplace. I understand why he chose to go back; not everybody has the freedom to just up and leave a job. People stay in jobs that aren’t perfect for many reasons, and with Ban Seok his age, family factors as it does for many of those who work to survive as those in Hanmyung Electronics.

Choices have consequences; people get to make their own choices, but they don't choose the consequences. I give to the writer for the realistic way it draws the events and inferences. Life comes full circle, and the same goes for On the Verge of Insanity; things come full circle, and everybody is practically where they started, but with the roles reversed, the only one that seems to be smack dab in the middle of this is Han Se Kwon. Given this second chance will he do more with it, I wonder. I can't believe I am saying this, but I am rooting for him to do so. They say permanence, perseverance, and persistence despite all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities in all things distinguish the strong soul from the weak. I cannot wait to see where things go from here and what, if any, lessons are learned.

bottom of page