Entry-level and Experienced Company Workers: 신입 사원 vs. 경력직

my daneo jjang

Recently I came across an interesting differentiation between entry-level workers in Korean companies and employees who might be new to the company but not new to the industry. The former is called a 신입 사원, and the latter is a 경력직 or even 경력직 사원.

But it’s important to draw a distinction between these titles. While it’s quite common for a new hire who has never had a job before to introduce themselves as a 신입 사원 (신 new, 입 entrance/to enter, 사원 employee/worker), it’s unlikely that someone who was hired with experience in the field or industry is going to call themselves a 경력 사원.

Instead, as I encountered in the original sentence from 언어의 온도 by 이기주, they will probably talk about having transferred or moved companies.

“그는 경력직으로 회사를 옮겼고 그곳에서 동료 여직원을 보자마자 한 번도 느껴본 적 없는 낯선 감정에 빠져들었다.”

“He transferred companies as an experienced worker…”

This worker’s value and type of entry to the new company was based on his experience, or 경력. 직 comes from a Chinese character (職) meaning post or position.

Some other office- and company-based vocabulary:

  • 경력서 resume or CV
  • 직장인 office worker (same  hanja as 경력: 職)
  • 회사에 입사하다 to enter a company (as an employee)
  • 퇴사하다 to resign, step down from, quit one’s job or company
  • 퇴직하다 to retire (same  hanja as 경력: 職)
  • 출근 / 퇴근 commuting to work / commuting home
  • 사무실  office
  • 회식 company or work dinner with colleagues and manager

Most office and company-based vocabulary have associated hanja, so look for similar syllables and characters to help you remember their meaning.

For example, 출 is to head out or embark while 퇴 is to leave something or somewhere (발, 학). 경 relates experience (think 험, 력, etc.). 력 refers to ability (능). 실 is associated with rooms (화장). 회 is community or group (사), and 식 has to do with food (음).

Looking for a way to practice this vocab? A great office K-drama is Misaeng, or Incomplete Life. You’ll hear all these words and more in every episode.

The more of these building blocks that you learn, the easier Korean vocabulary will become. It’s a puzzle – all you need are the pieces and you can put the meaning together.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다.


Summer Goals

Summer’s almost here. My last final is tomorrow and yet I’m most overjoyed over the prospect of never seeing or hearing from my roommate or her boyfriend again. I’m going to truly miss the vivacity of campus life as the town empties of most of its students, but at least I know some of my friends will be here for a month or two longer. 가지마~~~ ㅠㅠ

Please, GD, kajima!

I can’t fairly complain about people leaving me though, since I’m planning on spending the fall 2014 semester in Seoul. Yes, Seoul. Is it possible to miss a place you’ve never been? I think so. In the meantime, however, I need to get ready. And by getting ready I mean I need to immerse myself as completely in the Korean language as I possibly can over the next several months, because my goal is to return for the winter 2015 semester and test directly into the second semester class of 3rd year Korean. I’ve never been formally tested to see what my level of fluency or ignorance is, and so I’ve been taking 1st year Korean during my freshman year – a seriously entertaining choice because my comprehension of grammar points reaches into much of 3rd year Korean….yet my speaking abilities were basically nil when I entered the class in the last dog days of August almost eight months ago. Or nine. I’m not sure; math isn’t my strong-point and I definitely just counted the months on my fingers and still am not sure if it’s 8 or 9.

I’ll soon be writing up some posts about my experiences taking Korean this past year (this is a promise because otherwise I’ll conveniently forget to do it while reveling in summer sunshine, bubble tea, and the hopes that Big Bang might actually make a comeback within the next decade),but in the meantime I’d like to discuss some of my language-learning goals.


1. Complete review of all Talk To Me In Korean levels up until my current one. And of course, resume actively studying new lessons and leveling up. LEVEL UP. Oh wow, I feel my gaming days returning already….Ahem, and in doing these reviews, I’m going to focus on speaking practice – my biggest nemesis in language learning. Because who really wants to hear herself mispronounce things repeatedly?

2. Establish vocabulary studying regimen (alongside my best friend/language study buddy) of exchanging lists of at least 20 words each every week and then practicing with all 40 via italki posts and my own journaling.

3. Reach a fluency level enabling me to write short stories in Korean! This is a big one for me, since one of my biggest passions since kindergarten has been writing stories. I used to write intense murder mysteries about three detective fairies while I was in kindergarten. Yeah, you’re jealous.

4. Work my way through one Korean novel per month. Now that‘s slightly insane and also mostly possible. I’ve had a book from the library that I’ve been renewing for about 10 months now and I understand the entire first page easily. I just get a bit tired by the second page…but that’s just laziness. This is summer! And summer means….study….time. Actually, summer means finally reading the books I wanted to read all school year long but couldn’t because I had twenty-some novels for my classes to plough through first.

5. Confidence in Korean. This is a big one for me. I’m all fluent and wordy when I’m practicing alone or making small talk with two of my fellow Korean-learning friends, but when confronted with the sweet ahjumma at Arirang who is asking what I want to eat, or when greeting my Korean friend’s wonderful aunt who makes jokes in Korean to me, I freeze up and retreat into the fortress of my native language. This goal isn’t really something I can specifically practice for, other than by practicing and practicing and letting go of the safety-rail of English. Mistakes are okay. They really, really are. And I usually tout this belief quite strongly until my face is burning red from mispronouncing something or randomly swapping the ending to the verb from past tense to future because I’m so completely caught up in being grammatically correct that I forget what the meaning of my sentence was in the first place. So, confidence. Confidence in Korean.


Do you have language learning goals for the summer? 화이팅!!! 그리고 감사합니다!


Running Man Word Learning Thing!

not mine


So, yes, I’ve been missing for about 5,000 years. 나는 바빴어요….아직 바쁜데…But now I’m back!

Sup 내 친구

Sup 내 친구

Continue reading

Learning Korean Vocabulary with Naver


If you’ve ever formally studied a language in school, you’ve probably dealt with the usual awful assignment: Copy each of these vocab words/phrases x-times in insert target language and x-times in insert native language. Well, that’s great. You memorize the word for the test and then promptly forget it.

GIF not mine

So what’s the point in memorizing for a test? This is language-learning; hopefully you’re remembering for life.

But memorization isn’t all bad. Go ahead and memorize – just remember that the point is to keep remembering, so memorizing it in one sitting isn’t going to do any good. You have to keep using the word, keep practicing it in conversation, writing, listening, etc.

GIF from Bruce Almighty (not mine)

This is how I feel when I’m using new vocabulary.

For the summer, I’m coming up with a vocab learning plan Continue reading

Naver Dictionary (the greatest thing since sliced bread)


Have you been using Google Translate to figure out if you said something correctly? Or have you been getting lazy and just typing out everything in English, checking it a couple times by translating it back and forth with Google, and then sending off a message to your language partner? Bad idea. Not an awful idea, because Google Translate is definitely helpful. But it’s also dangerous, because it throws a word back at you and you really don’t know if that word means what it’s supposed to mean in the context that you put it in. I’m speaking from experience.

Princess Bride (awesome classic - go watch it now! 지금!

My poor language partner must always feel like this when he reads my Kakaotalk message

Naver’s online dictionary is awesome. Yes, go ahead and use Google Translate to check things if you must (guilty, I use it sometimes, too) but don’t get dependent on it. There are lots of other online resources that work much, much better. Naver Dictionary is a prime example.

I love Naver Dictionary, henceforth titled as Endic (English Dictionary, which is the version I use because hey, English is my native language…although you wouldn’t think it if you actually heard me trying to talk coherently in real life – learning Japanese, Korean, and Spanish has severely messed with my ability to do the words flowing nicely together thing) for many reasons. Here are some of them.

  • You can type in either a Korean or English word and get tons of results
  • Words/meanings? Synonyms? Antonyms? Idioms? All of these pop up when you type in just a single word
  • Contextual examples. That’s right. They have specific references to actual news sources on the web or elsewhere with the context of the word explained, highlighted, with neon signs blinking around it and a giant Pororo dancing on top of it (well no but you get the idea)
  • Many of the results have audio – go ahead and listen to what you’re reading
  • Teaching yourself Korean and have hardly any vocabulary to flaunt? You can view Korean word lists for 7th through 12th graders by clicking on them on the right side bar or by searching specifically a grade’s curriculum
  • Search by importance of words, by a specific subject/field (ie philosophy, literature, history, religion…)
  • After you search, it usually comes up with similar words that you might want to check out
  • You can make a Naver account and save words that you look up automatically to as many different vocabulary lists as you want
  • You can also view a history of the words you’ve looked up in case you tend to forget the word you just learned (now that’s annoying)

Endic is pretty fantastic. But it is a little tricky to navigate at first, so give it some time. You’ll love it once you do.