This drama is insanely painful to watch, not because it's terrible; on the contrary. As an HR professional, it gets my blood boiling, which I guess means it's working. It is infuriating to see such blatant workplace harassment and misconduct and by HR, the supposed protector of a company's culture and provider of its corporate consciousness.
The minute Ja Yeong first overlooked her ex-husbands' shenanigans with Ban Seok, she jeopardized the safety of the employees and the health and safety of the company as a whole. In that sense, her attitude towards the sexual harassment case didn't surprise me since I know she isn't motivated by what is right. But neither does the fact that Han Se Kwon tries to risk someone else's work to further his own. As they say, when one doesn't respond to bad behavior, it's only natural that they get more of it. I guess Ja Yeong never heard that sometimes it is better to do the right thing and lose than to do the wrong thing and win. That said, though, Jung Sung-Eun's (Kim Yoon-Seo) takedown of the dirty bag sexual harasser in the elevator was the best part of the episode. I love it.
I genuinely hope there is a development arc for Ja Yeong in this drama and that she realizes sooner than later that there is no wrong time to do the right thing. Because right now, she miserably fails at being a good employee, let alone an HR professional. I am sure she didn't start this way but to compromise her integrity for the sake of becoming the first female executive at the expense of the employees she is supposed to protect is quite disheartening. That a non-HR professional like Ban Seok understands that any company's future is growing and nurturing its young talent, and she doesn't or could careless, is troubling indeed. As for Han Se-Kwon, he's nothing but a coward who fears other people finding out how inferior he is, and the only way he can feel superior is by sabotaging others. Ban Seok had me pegged from the beginning. As they say, feelings of superiority and inferiority are the same. They both come from fear.
I greatly appreciate On the Verge of Insanity for tackling the challenges of surviving the corporate world from hierarchy/bureaucracy, dealing with change and difficult personalities, countering negativity, keeping the workforce engaged and motivated; nurturing and developing new skills in young talent, and first and foremost trying to but miserably failing to manage employee relations effectively. In that sense, the biggest challenge any company faces, especially HR, is taking on workforce reductions/layoffs, forced or otherwise. Layoffs within any company or organization have been a time-tested means of cutting costs. Reducing staff brings an immediate and substantial impact, whether reorganizing or selling off a company to benefit a few. In that sense, I can only imagine how the news of a forced layoff will affect the employees of Hanmyung Electronics; just the thought of it makes me shudder.
To that end, as hard as I’ve tried not to pass judgment on Ja Yeong as hard as it become, seeing where her loyalties lay. As an HR professional, I understand that her duty is to protect the company she works for. Still, if that duty goes against common human decency, let alone labor laws, the choices should’ve been clear cut, but that’s always easier said than done. It’s quite clear Ban Seok is the driver, if not the architect, for lack of a better word of this story. He is the moral compass that will ultimately guide not just Ja Yeong but all those who cross paths with him. I love the matter-of-fact yet uncompromising way he goes about his business and is more of a human resource professional than the trained professionals themselves. As they say, it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters most. Watch Episodes 3 & 4 here.