Misaeng – 5 Minute Highlight

Misaeng – the brutal truth of surviving corporate life and finding kindness and sincerity in it.




The opening voice over – What is important about a road is not that you’re walking but that you are getting out as you walk.  If you can’t get out. It is not a road.  The road is open to everyone but not everyone can have that road.



Grae: My name is Grae Jang and I am 26.

Dongji: Do you have experience in the corporate world?

Grae: No.

Dongji: Can you speak English or another language? What about a computer license? Okay, my name is Dongji from Research/Marketing Team.  How could you get to 26 without any skills? You are special youth indeed.

Grae: What did I do until I got to be 26?

cant do anything

Dongji speaks on the phone to answer that yes they received the new help. However, the new help is a “parachute intern.” [In Korea, the term parachutes is used to denote those that got their jobs through connections similar to the golden parachutes of the U.S. Only, in Korea, people of all ages can be a parachute if they get their job through family or friend connections unlike the golden parachutes for those a corporate board or in a government position in the U.S.]  Due to Dongi’s inability to do common tasks, everyone in the office start to whisper about his status as a “parachute.”



Grae learns about corporate culture such as it’s proper to take off your jacket in the office and that the lowest member of the staff is responsible for answering the phones. The teaser pokes fun at the skills necessary to be a normal office worker as Grae has difficulty answering one call because the caller speaks in German and another staff member has to answer the call for him.  The social commentary continues as the other office staff speculate as to Grae’s “specs,” because the rumor is that Grae did not take the entrance exam. [Specs is short for a person’s skills/characteristics that society values in a person.] Grae even confounds the others when he tells them that he did not attend college and took the equivalent of Korea’s G.E.D.



Grae is asked if he did anything before he came to the company…

Grae thinks to himself that his road ended when he flashbacks to a time when he was playing Go…Outloud, he tells his supervisor that he did nothing before coming to the company.



The supervisor even asks knowingly if Grae even has any friends. The next scene shows Grae being outcasted from even joining the same elevator.



However, a member extends his hand to Grae…Han Sungmin. He tells Grae that he believes that Grae has what it takes. This is juxtaposed to a voice-over from the supervisor stating that the supply of earnest hardworkers abound. You need something more.

Grae pushes back and asks for a chance to prove himself and to be taught by the supervisor to which the supervisor responds that not everyone deserves a chance. The supervisor asks, “Do you know how many steps the people in this building had to take up and down to even walk into this lobby?”



The drama explores the inevitable conflicts that arise in the corporation.

A manager hands a paper over to the supervisor stating that he picked it up in the lobby.  The supervisor receives it and apologizes. Afterwards, he yells at Grae to leave.

Another superior blames the female intern for getting the assignment wrong when she only did exactly as he asked. When she tries to explain that she only did as he asked, the superior throws the paper in her face creating a papercut.

A fight breaks out in the pit as the supervisor and another senior associate fight about a dispute.

Grae gets into a fight with Sungmin because Sungmin disrespects his supervisor.

The supervisor bows to the director/management and asks for understanding.



[Worlds on Screen] However, a life worth living.

The supervisor tells the female intern to pick their team when she is picked.

The employees start bribing Grae now that his internship is about to end and he will get to choose which team he wants to join.

The supervisor, drunk, yells at the other team because it was a member of the other team that left glue on the final report, which led to his team junior getting in trouble.



The supervisor says, “I am not an expert, but there are terms in Go – complete life and incomplete life – we are all still incomplete lives…”

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