SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Korea Bizwire) – The plight of female secretaries working for large corporations has come under the spotlight thanks to a study conducted by grad student Park Ji Yeon at Sookmyung Women’s University.
Park crafted the study using in-depth interviews she carried out with 12 secretaries who had been on the job for fewer than two years.
Demands to report to work at dawn to make coffee for higher-ups, being sworn at by angry bosses and being tasked with appropriating still in production goods in one day were some of the anecdotal evidence recounted by the women interviewed.
Other incidents shared were being ordered to attend to the boss’s private matters and having to run errands for other executives.
Degrading remarks touching on female secretary stereotypes or judgements about “having an easy job” despite the demanding and crucial workload contributed to the women’s discontent.
Among the women interviewed were graduates of business secretary majors and those who had dreamed of being a secretary.
One disillusioned interviewee reportedly said to Park, “I thought to myself, ‘Do I really have to go through all of this just to keep this job?’”
Some of the secretaries also stated that they had even suffered from Smile Mask Syndrome, an “emotional labor” psychological disorder for those who forcibly smile for extended periods that can lead to depression.
The women reported feeling pressured to always have a smile on their face while stoically absorbing any negative emotion or verbal communication from their bosses.
Some of the women said that their menstrual cycles had changed and they suffered from constipation because they were unable to leave their desks for more than short durations.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)