Dear Korea: I Am More Than My Face

Dear Korean Employer,

I am more than my face.

You have yet to realize this, but you will.

The mandatory requirement to attach a headshot on your job application is a relic of a time well passed. And soon, this degrading element of ‘worth’ shall too, pass.

I was unaware that my eyes, ears, and nose should play a role in determining my proficiency for the desired role.

When evaluating my strengths and aptitude I can assure you it does not rest within the contours of my face, but rather the life I have shaped despite the ignorance of your standard.

I am more than my face. And you will know this soon.

I am a young Seoul woman. Juggling part time jobs to care for my parents and feed my siblings; drive you can not measure from the shape of my eyes.

I am a young Daegu man. Having served two years in the national military protecting your superficial eyes; discipline you can not measure from the shape of my ears.

I am a young Busan woman. Orphaned at birth but choosing to see love; compassion you can not measure from the shape of my lips.

I am a young Jeonju man. Abused by societal pressures that have leveled generations; perseverance you can not measure from the shape of my nose.

I am more than my face, and my worth can not be measured.

As you assess my face, I assess your integrity.

Recruiting for positions; demeaning a generation.

While you despise the lingering eye of judgement from others, you engorge a corporate ‘norm’ with blind allegiance to superficial judgement.

You may be forced to follow evaluation methods based on tradition, but your failure to resist what you know to be wrong, only denigrates the very community you so wish would improve.

And for the HR professionals who are parents, those beholden to shaping a stronger, healthier, more responsible society, it’s disheartening to see you sustain such a pathetic hiring practice. Instead of improving working conditions for future generations, you have intentionally thrown them into the crosswalk of oncoming prejudice.

I am more than my face.

So too, are your children.

I intend to rise to the highest of ranks.

In no way for you.

But for a tomorrow that will assure our youth, that the measure of their success will be based on the height of their hope, rather than the fog of your self discontent.

Reside in that cave, deep among the past. I will rise.

I am more than my face.

Mr. CEO, as with all interviews, I have conducted my due diligence on you.

The company’s track record of success ( & failures ), the strategic ambitions of your directors, and the very teams you’ve put together to navigate impending waters.

Further, I too have studied what you have of me. Facial diagnostics.

What you assess as mandatory for entry into your domain, I have of you.

Although, my investigation of what defines you as trailblazing seems to stray from our nation’s scale of facial ‘success..’

Which facial feature Jong-Kyun Shin, Mr. Samsung President, is responsible for your fervent executive leadership and strategic thinking?

Is it your defined chin or dynamic hairline?

Which facial feature Bon-Moo Koo, Mr. LG CEO, is responsible for your steadfast management prowess and global acumen?

Is it your refined eyebrows or nose structure?

I find it preposterous to consider your face as the force behind your success. In that, we should agree.

I am more than my face.

As is your leadership.

Do not uphold me to a standard you would not of yourself.

While your corporate rank is higher, your societal value is not.

We are of one people and of one country. Never forget that you passed through my age, and in doing so, incurred the greatest of responsibility to improve that which dismantles our common humanity.

To uphold a practice that demeans me, is to demean yourself.

We are a people of communal respect, so stifle the hubris and lead.

Remove the mandatory need to attach a headshot to your job application and restore the ethical dignity lost among your shallow requirement.

For when you uphold the practice of bigotry, you echo to a generation a system of values that have no room in our modern Korea.

Phone sales are not historic, but curing a culture of it’s prejudice virus is a legacy that will outlive your institution, and you as well..

What side of progress will you be on?

I am more than my face.

So too, is our nation’s tomorrow.


Your Younger Self.

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