The interviewer, looking through the application files said, "After I reviewed your applications, I had to invite you all for an interview to meet with you in person; your applications stood out to us. As you already have noticed, this area is hard to reach via public transit. So we expected an employee to have his or her own car. Do you all have a car?"
"Yes." Gun-Ho answered vigorously.
Other female candidates answered the same. The job advertisement clearly said the company preferred someone with a car; so only the people with a car would have applied for the job. The director asked, looking at the file.
"Ms. Mi-Young Oh, you have quite a lot of work experience in the field. Do you have the level-1 computerized accounting certificate?"
"Yes, I do."
Gun-Ho looked at the lady, Mi-Young Oh, who was wearing glasses.
"Eek, I might not get this job. I only have the level-2 certificate. She has the level-1 in addition to work experience."
Gun-Ho was on pins and needles.
"Ms. Yoo-Mi Shin, you have the level-1 computerized accounting certificate, level-1 computer Word Processor, and ITQ Excel certificate. Oh, you all know how to use Excel, right?"
Everyone said yes except Gun-Ho; he hesitated. Closing his file, the director looked at Gun-Ho.
"Mr. Gun-Ho Goo? You are the only male here… You have work experience in a factory. Are you good at Excel?"
Gun-Ho added his work experience in the factories to his resume, but he didn't clearly write that the experience was from the work in a production line. The director seemed to understand Gun-Ho's work experience as an experience in an office in a factory. Gun-Ho didn't know how to do Excel; he was sweating.
"I will learn."
As Gun-Ho said so, everyone in the room looked at him strangely. The director said with a smile.
"As you all know, a bookkeeper should know well how to work with Excel. Our company uses Douzone accounting program. Sometimes, we store backup data in Excel."
Out of the four applicants, two had the level-1 certificate, and everyone except Gun-Ho knew well how to work with Excel. Gun-Ho felt embarrassed. He thought having the level-2 certificate was enough to apply for this type of job, but it wasn't.
"The bookkeeper lady in Dongil Tech where I work for right now doesn't have any certificate. I am so surprised there are so many people with the level-1 certificate."
Gun-Ho wanted to leave the interviewing site. He didn't remember how the rest of the interview process went.
"I was a big frog in a small pond!"
After the interview, driving out of the interviewing site, Gun-Ho felt shocked.
"The ladies are younger than me, but they have the level-1 computerized accounting certificate, and good at Word Processor, Excel, and PowerPoint. My life has been a waste."
Gun-Ho wanted to cry. He felt like his current job as a factory worker in his current factory was meant for him and his true vocation. When he returned to the factory, the team leader gave him a bright smile.
"Did you go to see a doctor? What did they say?"
"I feel better after getting an injection and a pill. They said I would be okay after some rest."
"Then why did you come back to work? You should have gone home and taken a rest."
"Man, okay. Good. The truck just came in. Let's go and help them with the loading."
A few days later, Gun-Ho received a text message from the AH Tech where he applied for a bookkeeper position.
"We are sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for the bookkeeping position this time. We hope to have an opportunity to work with you next time. We appreciate your interest."
"They don't have to show me this type of kindness."
Gun-Ho deleted the text message right away.
"For a bookkeeping position, Excel is a must. I applied for the position without knowing it… Of course, those people at the interviewing site laughed at me."
Gun-Ho registered for an Office Automation class at the vocational school in Uijeongbu City. He wanted to acquire a certificate for Word Processor and Excel. He knew how to use Word Processor, so he wanted to get the certificate this time.
"Once I get more certificates, my resume will look good with two to three additional lines."
Gun-Ho received hands-on training on office computer skills after work at the vocational school, rubbing his sleepy eyes. Excel seemed interesting after Gun-Ho tried a few tables, but creating complex ones was still confusing.
"Do not doze off and pay attention here." The instructor explained pointing Excel tables on a screen. "Look. You get the total amount automatically, right? Once you put the function, you get the average as well."
The instructor looked really smart. Gun-Ho almost got the illusion that the instructor knew everything in the world. The instructor was a woman younger than Gun-Ho.
"These days, women seem smarter than men. I don't know much. I came this far because Master Park from the philosophy hall and Cheongdam Town Chairman Lee put this idea in my head, but I am still not sure if I am meant to do this."
"Okay, let's get the total average. Did you all get 76?"
All students except Gun-Ho got the right answer, 76; Gun-Ho got 48.
"You didn't put the right function. Please do as I explained."
Every time this sort of things happened, Gun-Ho felt depressed and wondered if he had to continue doing this.
"Am I doing all this for nothing?"
The cost of the commute to the vocational school wasn't small.
"The classes are free since they are sponsored by the government, but I have to commute a distance of over 40 kilometers. Damn. It's a lot."
To make things worse, Gun-Ho couldn't find a parking spot around the vocational school today; so he parked in a residential area and hit the fence of a house. As a result, his rear bumper was dented; it looked ugly.
"Fuck! It will cost a lot to repair that bumper."
Time cures all things. After a few months, Gun-Ho got the certificate for Word Processor and Excel. He called Jong-Suk.
"Hey, bro. What's up?"
"Did you have a chance to use your welder certificate?"
"Nah. Holding the certificate is not enough. I need work experience."
"Then just get a job in any factory to gain work experience."
"I was thinking about that too, but I have to go Bucheon to my parents."
"My dad is ill. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer."
"He is in Korea Cancer Center Hospital in Ilsan District right now. My mom has to run the restaurant by herself, so she needed my help."
"Oh, I see. I am so sorry to hear that."
"So I have to go Bucheon to help my mom."
"Don't worry too much. I heard stomach cancer at an early stage can be effectively treated."
"Oh, bro. Did you find any bookkeeping job?"
"I applied for one and failed."
"Why? Because you don't have work experience?"
"Not that. Highly qualified chicks applied for the same job, so I didn't get it."
Jong-Suk giggled. "So are you currently working on your qualification?"
"I've already acquired a few computer related certificates: World Processor and Excel. Once I see another job opening for a bookkeeper, I will immediately apply for it."
"Wow. You are incredible."
"Comparing you 6 months ago, you are fancy now. You have the certificates for Word Processor and Excel in addition to level-2 computerized accounting certificate."
"The magic of Master Park from Gangnam philosophy hall and Cheongdam Town Chairman Lee seem to be working properly."
"Silly! Go wash and go to bed early. I'll let you go for the night."