Life, Once Again! - Chapter 864
Eunhye sighed softly. Bigfoot just glossed over the incident as though nothing happened. He did not get angry at Choi Hyunjin, nor did he go against the head doctor who dumped him with the shift and just disregarded him. His bright smile as he asked Choi Hyunjin to change shifts with him next time still lingered in front of her eyes. If it was so hard to go against the head doctor, why couldn’t he have said something to Choi Hyunjin? Not just vaguely, but outright and refreshingly.
“Looking at Choi Hyunjin reminds me of Ko Chansoo,” said senior Yoon.
Ko Chansoo was a famous figure in the company, as the guy who entered the company through the president’s back door. She had heard so many rumors about him that it was to the point that it hurt her ears. He would ignore his superiors like it was normal, and he would treat anyone who makes mistakes at work like trash.
“But Choi Hyunjin at least didn’t say any bad words. Ko Chansoo, on the other hand, is a total mess.”
“If you think like that, then I guess Ko Chansoo is more trash. I went looking for him last time because of work cooperation, and I’ve never been so disdained outright in my life. It’s so fortunate that I don’t work in the same department as him.”
“I have only heard rumors about him. Is he really that trash?” Hyunji asked as she drank a bit of the broth.
“General manager Choi is better compared to that prick. Do you remember the son of the professor with the glasses in the drama? He’s just like that. He has too much faith in his backer, that is, his father, and bullies people below him. In the drama, Choi Hyunjin and that professor’s son passed the national exams at least, right? But Ko Chansoo, that guy, all he has is his father’s backing. Even his college was some nameless backwater college, yet he already got promoted to manager even though the people who entered around the same time as him are all assistant managers. Who knows? Maybe he’ll get promoted again next year and become even more trashy.”
“Is it okay to be so openly biased like that?”
“What can we do? He’s the president’s son. Man, the people working in his department are so pitiful. Even the general manager takes hints from him. Apparently, the president really cherishes him because he was the son he and his wife got after much trouble. I’m pretty sure he’ll stand up for his son even if he murders someone, you know?”
“Having a man like that as your superior must be difficult. I’m so glad that he’s not in our department.”
“We should be. From what I heard, the atmosphere in that department depends on that guy’s mood for the day. It’d be better if he just played around all day without doing any work, but he nitpicks every single matter going on in that department, so it drives everyone else crazy. He nitpicks the mistakes of everyone else, but when he makes a mistake, he just acts boldly. Even if he makes a big mistake, the president is there to cover up for him, so he became that untouchable kind of guy.”
“He’s the same as Choi Hyunjin in that they’re untouchable. Whether it’s drama or in reality, why are people from good households all so cocky?”
Eunhye grabbed a glass and responded to that,
“That’s not entirely true. When I was in college, there was this guy who was known to be really kind in my major. He had a good attitude and was humble, so many people in our department looked out for him. He was a really good kid who tried to work things out with all of us if something happened, and it turned out that he was the grandson of a super company. He came to college in a Porsche, and it made me think that people with such upbringing can become good. Everything just depends on parental education, and it doesn’t really matter what kind of environment you were raised in. Well, I guess there was something different though.”
Eunhye pointed at the phone with her finger while looking at Hyunji, who looked curious.
“Just like what the drama said just now, he had different eyes when looking at the world. It’s probably because he started off on a completely different point from me. He may have hung out with us quite a lot, but his conception of money was fundamentally different.”
“Well, I guess if you receive millions of won as pocket money since you’re young, you won’t really understand how much it is. Ah, talking about money reminded me of salary again. This is sad.”
For our salary – they shouted as they toasted.
“Ko Chansoo, that guy probably receives his salary, right?”
“Salary? His dad is the president for goodness sake. Also, it’s just bottom-rung employees like us that don’t get salaries. I heard that the higher-ups get theirs. I’m sure the same is true for general manager Choi.”
“That’s so dirty. It’s not like our salary amounts to a lot. I want to go to the president and say to him that it’s much better for the company for you lot to not get paid, instead of us, who only get paid chump change,” Hyunji said as she put down her glass, her cheeks flushed.
“Good! I’ll call the president and bring him to you tomorrow.”
“If you really do, then I’ll tell him not to live his life like that.”
Senior Yoon and Hyunji laughed as she looked at the two. They talked rather seriously about what kind of expression the president would make if they actually did so until they both turned quiet.
“You tell me. Do you think there’s anyone who talks back like they do in dramas? People like Lee Heewon, who can risk being chased out of the hospital to say what he needs to say are cool, but if he does get kicked out, that’s just the end for him, isn’t it? The employment pool for mid-sized companies like us is already so small that there are talks about how it’s difficult to get re-employed. A place like a hospital must be even worse since it’s usually people from the same universities, right?”
“You know, I’m thirty-two this year. I’ve switched companies three times in my 9 years of being a salarywoman, and never have I seen anyone who said a word about unjust company traditions. There were people who fought against their superiors from time to time, sure, but in just one month, that person’s seat just disappeared. Or you can do that as you chuck your letter of resignation.”
“Saying the right things will just make your superior make note of you, and if that happens, you will have a hard corporate life.”
“If like in dramas, you have colleagues who stand up for you and are willing to stand with you… it might be better, but you know what happened to assistant manager Park last year, don’t you, Eunhye? Ah, Hyunji wasn’t here back then.”
Eunhye emptied the soju into her mouth. The incident that was just as bitter as the soju that went down her throat was the assistant manager Park incident. He pointed out the disparities in rebates between companies and said that they should correct it, but that ended up getting him assigned to a branch in the countryside. Being the courageous man he was, assistant manager Park said that he would not yield to pressure, yet he ended up leaving the company. Eunhye remembered what happened back then clearly. The people who called him ‘hyung’ until merely days ago put distance from him. That was how he started getting ‘bullied.’ When work ended and everyone went home, they said words of encouragement, but at the company, they acted like total strangers. Eunhye was one of them. You’ll have a tough life if you stay close to assistant manager Park – these were words that general manager Choi said back then. That was the decisive blow. Assistant manager Park was treated like someone with a terrible infectious disease. No one approached him and no one talked to him.
“I wanted to live like a drama too, but that’s so hard,” said senior Yoon.
“Like Choi Hyunjin?” Hyunji asked as she looked at the drama.
“Choi Hyunjin’s good. Honestly, if you tell me to live like Lee Heewon, I can’t. He risks his own life to save others and always does the right things. Is that what a human can do? That’s in the realm of deities.”
“If you think about it, being a protagonist in a drama isn’t entirely that good. They always encounter big crises. Even if everything goes well in the future, I don’t want to suffer that much. I mean like jumping into the fire and taking on the challenge with the risks of failure.”
“If you act like Lee Heewon in real life, I’m pretty sure you’ll have your medical license deprived because of lawsuits and whatnot. You can get into debt too.”
Senior Yoon said that just imagining it sounded terrible. Eunhye had to agree. In ‘Doctors’, Lee Heewon was the literal avatar of self-sacrifice. Not only that, he also had the tendency to ignore procedures if it was in order to save a life. If that happened in real life, there would have been all sorts of problems.
“In that sense, isn’t Bigfoot a lot like us? He’s supposed to be a drama character, so things can work out well for him too, but that doesn’t happen,” Hyunji grumbled.
“Like just now. It would’ve been refreshing if he slapped Choi Hyunjin on the cheek and told her ‘you simply don’t know what reality is like!’ before walking past her.”
Eunhye picked up a piece of eel and gave it to Hyunji, who was pouting. Hyunji ate it in a flash.
“I also wanted that to happen, but then again, if that actually happened, I think it would have annoyed me. Didn’t you say the same to me during the day, senior Yoon?”
Senior Yoon nodded.
“He’s just like me. I have no choice but to smile regardless of what general manager Choi tells me to do, and even if people like Ko Chansoo get annoyed at me, I have to hold it in because he’s the son of the president. Still, the way Bigfoot phrased his words makes him look better than I am.”
Hyunji, who was munching on the eel while on her phone, suddenly turned her phone around and showed the two of them her screen.
“It’s a worker café that I usually visit, and they’re all talking about Doctors. Not only that, most of it’s about Bigfoot too. Everyone’s saying that they can sympathize with him.”
“How many corporate workers don’t sympathize with him after seeing him so tragic? How many people do you think want to act boldly but cannot? I’m sure everyone feels the same. That’s why we get strangely consoled by him.”
Eunhye spoke as she looked at senior Yoon, who was sighing endlessly,
“You’re drunk, senior, aren’t you?”
“Did I get too emotional? I may look like this, but I used to be a literary girl.”
“Uh, considering your age, calling you a girl is a little….”
“Lee Eunhye, don’t tease your seniors.”
Senior Yoon said that it was a punishment and poured her a glass full of soju. Eunhye accepted the drink in one go and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
“Still, I want Bigfoot to do well. I mean, it’s sad, isn’t it? To see people in the same shoes doing badly.”
Hyunji raised her glass, chanting ‘Bigfoot, fighting!.’ Eunhye, who was watching on the side, chimed in with her.
“But it’s quite curious, isn’t it? Usually, I forget about characters who appear briefly like that, but Bigfoot strangely remains in my mind,” said senior Yoon as she pointed at Bigfoot who briefly appeared in the corner before disappearing.
“Maybe it’s because he’s good at acting.”
“That’s the biggest reason for sure. You know what they say, calm acting like that is harder than bursting out with emotions.”
“If you think like that, actors must have it hard. People who are worse than them are playing main roles, but someone like that is on the level of an extra.”
“It’s an industry where popularity is everything. But who knows? I heard that many actors who are currently famous were nobodies back in the day. An actor who can show himself like that may become big very soon.”
Eunhye thought that she was right. He was an actor that attracted people’s eyes. His facial expressions were especially good. That delicate acting where he cried silently last night was still vivid in her mind. A lesser-known actor that only she knew – she raised a toast to Bigfoot, who was smiling amidst the other doctors.
“Let us both do well together.”
Bigfoot then said in the drama,
-This is just how everyone lives, isn’t it? I’m just like that too. I know that telling you to cheer up might be crossing the line here, but still, cheer up. Thanks for the drink.
That was how people lived. Life was just like that.
* * *
Maru took off his doctor’s gown and stood up. His scene was over now. It was 1:10 in the afternoon. He came at 9 and waited three hours before shooting for one hour. Showing up briefly like this got him paid, so it was a very good business.
“Maru, wait a bit.”
The director stopped him. He put down his bag and went over to Jayeon.
“You’re leaving right now? Do you have something urgent to do?”
“I was going to go grocery shopping. I need to buy some rice.”
“So nothing urgent, huh? Then wait a bit.”
Just as Jayeon was about to say something, she picked up her phone. From how her voice became aggressive, it seemed that something had happened.
“Sorry, I’ll take care of this real quick.”
The director hurriedly ran off somewhere. Maru said goodbye to the staff he made eye contact with before switching places. Jayeon, who said she’d be back soon, didn’t come back even after 10 minutes.
Maru turned around. Choi Hyunjin, wearing a long coat, was approaching him, saying that she found the right person.