At times, dramaland can seem inordinately populated by chaebol CEOs, brilliant prosecutors, pioneers in medicine, illustrious authors, and virtuous journalists. However, some of our favorite heroes have followed more unusual career paths.
Here are eight jobs from the K-drama universe that don’t require law school, literary prowess, rich parents, or a lax attitude towards blood!
“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” – Professional weightlifter
Bok Joo on why she decided to take up weightlifting.
“Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo” follows a college athlete (Lee Sung-Kyung) on her journey to becoming an Olympic Weightlifter. The much-loved drama illuminates the tremendous effort and passion behind success in the world of competitive sports, and the insecurities associated with being a woman in a field that’s long been seen as a “man’s” domain.
Bok Joo proves that you can be powerful, sweaty, and on your third serving of fried chicken, without compromising your femininity or capacity to attract handsome, good-natured, collegiate swimmers (Nam Joo Hyuk).
Career cons: your friends will probably ask you to help them move.
Catch the first episode of “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”:
“Bring It On, Ghost” – Exorcist
Asking the important questions.
Sometimes it can be unclear on whether what you’re experiencing is a haunting, or just an unseasonal draft. Bong Pal (Taecyeon) of “Bring It On, Ghost” has never had this problem – he can see and communicate with ghosts effortlessly.
Bong Pal uses his talent to perform exorcisms on behalf of frightened members of the public, at a rate of 1 million won (approximately, $892) per spirit (kind of like an exterminator, but spooky!).
Consider a career as an exorcist if: you’re a dead-people person with unfinished-business savvy.
Bong Pal, and a woman who got very, very lost finding the remote (not really, just another ghost).
Catch the first episode of “Bring It On, Ghost”:
“Age Of Youth 2” – Strategic management assistant
In her interview for the position in Strategic Management at an entertainment company, Jin Myung (Han Ye Ri) sets herself apart from other applicants by demonstrating a total lack of interest in, and knowledge of, entertainment (which totally explains why she doesn’t realize one of the bands on her roster is clearly PENTAGON).
“Age Of Youth 2” isn’t exactly a detailed exposé on the ins and outs of Strategic Management, but we can work out a few things about what the stoic Belle Epoque resident does: wear a lanyard, maintain composure in the company of idols, and ruin dreams via the delivery soul-crushing news.
After watching Jin Myung struggle through countless part-time jobs in season one, it’s so satisfying to see her hard work pay off!
Watch the trailer for “Age of Youth 2” below:
“Healer” – Night courier
In “Healer” Seo Jung Hoo (Ji Chang Wook) earns an unorthodox living as a “Night Courier” contracted by society’s elite – or anyone else willing to pay his fee and keep his identity secret – to execute illegal errands and transactions.
Healer fulfils his commissions using state of the art gadgets, superior fighting sills, incredible instincts, and a knack for avoiding CCTV cameras.
Tasks include: theft, burglary, and light kidnapping.
Cons: unstable income.
Catch the first episode of “Healer”:
“Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” – Bodyguard to a CEO
Job description: Guard attractive gaming company CEO (Park Hyung Sik) against enemies using hereditary superhuman strength.
Perks: $$$$$$; position aligns with key values – “do not use powers for evil or personal gain”; in-house cafeteria.
Negatives: no days off, ever; no yoga class.
Stock options only a “maybe” at this stage.
Catch the first episode of “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”:
“Madame Antoine” – Fortune teller
Hye Rim’s claim to fame is her purported relationship with the spirit of Madame Antoinette. Apparently, the former queen of France, with nothing better to do in the spirit realm (for example, eat cake whilst floating on a cloud), communicates information and insight to Hye Rim’s clients using the fortune teller as a mouthpiece.
Skills required: the ability to contact dead French royalty, or the acting chops to pretend like you can.
Catch the first episode of “Madame Antoine”:
“Don’t Dare To Dream (Jealousy Incarnate)” – Meteorologist
In “Don’t Dare to Dream (Jealousy Incarnate)“, Gong Hyo Jin plays Pyo Na Ri, an aspiring news anchor who, despite a less-than-stellar academic background, and lack of industry connections, manages to nab a position as a Weather Caster at a top broadcasting station.
Job requirements: hard work, perseverance, and a willingness to go above and beyond when others won’t.
Catch the first episode of “Don’t Dare to Dream (Jealousy Incarnate)”:
“Reply 1988” – Professional Go player
Success at Taek’s level requires extreme discipline and an epic mentality. Since being introduced to the game as a child, the Baduk god has been almost singularly-focused on the black and white stones of his Go board, dedicating his life to the game despite the disapproval of his father.
Tasks include: staying in fancy hotels, being the richest guy in your neighborhood, and remaining humble despite all your fans.
Catch the first episode of “Reply 1988”:
“Modern Farmer” – Cabbage farmer
In the cabbage business, you can expect to learn lessons on life, love, and why two seeds are better than one.
Wracked with debts? Being chased by loan sharks? Struggling to find a way to fund your new album? Sometimes the solution to all your problems is the most obvious one: move to a rural village and sow your favorite biennial plant for profit.
Such is the lesson learnt by the members of ailing rock band Excellent Souls (pronounced “EXO” for short) in “Modern Farmer,” when the boys leave thriving Seoul behind for a career farming cabbage.
Required: a genuine passion for vegetables.
Catch the first episode of “Modern Farmer”:
Have you ever felt momentarily inspired to pursue a particular career because of a character in one of your favorite dramas? Let us know in the comments below!
honbap is an aspiring screenwriter from Sydney, Australia. Shinwon from PENTAGON is the best looking idol she’s seen in real life.