Sometimes we go through tough moments in our lives. People say that we are in a slump. As students we often go through the same kind of slump which can bring on anxiety or confusion. To help you get out of your slump, we spoke with people who live their lives off the normal path. You might assume these people are dealing with difficult situations, but they are positive and diligent about their lives. If you feel like you are going into a slump, you should listen to their stories. You might be inspired by their unique views on life.
At 5 a.m. during the summer it is not completely dark outside. The houses and roads nearby Daegu Bukbu Agricultural and Seafood Wholesale Market are quiet, but the market is full of activity. At this time of morning many of the wholesalers’ cars are beginning to fill up the parking lot and the people who run the auction are already very busy. Within the market, there are mountains of fruit waiting to be sold at the auction that morning. The market’s size is colossal. At 6 a.m. the auction begins, and many people hurry around and examine the fruits that are getting ready to be auctioned off. The auctioneer makes considerable efforts to attract a large crowd with his rhythmic call on the microphone, and the buyers are hoping the products will go at low prices. At 8 a.m. the sun is fully in the sky, and the dawn auction comes to an end amidst a crowded atmosphere.
Sung-Woo Park (28), graduate of YU Daegu Bukbu Agricultural and Seafood Wholesale Market -Joongang fruits and vegetables’ broker
Q) How long have you been working here?
A) I have been working here for a year, since April 2010.
Q) What made you choose this career?
A) I majored in Architectural Engineering at Yeungnam University. However the jobs connected with my major did not fit me, so I searched for other work. At that time, I started to think of my father’s work, which was to go between the wholesalers and the auctioneer. After I learned more about it, I decided to do this job because the it was the best work situation that I had ever experienced.
Q) I learned more about your position, and it is not just a part-time job, but a full-time staff position. Are you happy with your present life?
A) Yes, it was hard to get up so early at first. Moreover, I had some negative perceptions about the image of working at the market. However, I soon adapted, and I came to enjoy the lively atmosphere at dawn. Furthermore, I have more free time than others, because I finish work at 1:30 p.m. every day.
Q) Describe your work. What do you do at dawn?
A) Auctioneers run the auction, and there is a digital sign that displays important information like what is up for bid and the final price. Often it is difficult for the auctioneer to see all of the action that is going on. At that time, I act as a go between for the auctioneers and the commission merchants. That is to say, I am the eyes and ears of the auctioneers.
Q) Have you experienced any lifestyle changes since your work started?
A) When I was in school I usually went to sleep at dawn and often stayed up all night. However, after I started this job, my routine changed, and now I go to bed at 8 or 9 p.m. This sounds inconvenient, but now I have more time to enjoy leisure activities and I am more relaxed. However, my daily schedule is very different from my friends, so it is hard to meet them at night during the week, but I can meet them on Friday or Saturday night, so it is not too bad.
Q) I heard that you are the only staff member who is in their 20s here, why do you think there aren't more young people?
A) It seems that most young people have little or no knowledge about this job. Furthermore most university graduates are apt to look for work in major companies or as a civil servant.
Q) How do you feel while you are working at dawn?
A) At dawn this place is full of activity when the surrounding neighborhood is still asleep. It is kind of exciting, and I feel a sense of satisfaction, because I am active and getting things done before most people even wake up.
Q) When do you get the most satisfaction from this work?
A) As mentioned above, my position is to be a middle man at the auction. In other words, auctioneers hope to sell goods at higher prices and the commission merchants of course want to buy things at low prices. As a result, conflicts often occur. However, sometimes the conflicts can be arbitrated well, and a fair price is settled on, which makes both the auctioneer and dealer happy. When I am able to accomplish this, the merchants express their gratitude to me. To me, these are the most satisfying moments.
Q) Would you like to say anything to YU students?
A) Many students are preparing for things like the civil service examination. These positions are stable and good, but too many students seem to be working for the same goal in my view. There is a broad range of careers to choose from if they open their minds to them. I think it is important for students to have a wide range of experience rather than career choices that can only be seen from the library.
Q) Finally, what is your ultimate dream?
A) My ultimate dream is to be an auctioneer.
At the market I experienced a lively atmosphere and energy through my body. As I expected, most of the people working at the market are older, and young people are in the minority. This shows that there are opportunities for young people to find meaningful and enjoyable work outside the traditional career paths most university graduates aspire to. Mr. Park is a good example of someone who is satisfied with his work even though it is not something most of us would consider. He was able to get over the negative preconceptions about working at a market and rising with the dawn. If you are able to get out of bed early enough, it would be a good experience for you to visit a place like the dawn auction market. One of the most valuable assets in finding the right career is experience.