K-Drama Review: ‘Misaeng’ Tells the Story of Harsh Reality of an Office Intern in the Corporate World


An Incomplete Life of Office Workers That You’re Going to Relate To So Much

Are you familiar with the drama Misaeng? Misaeng, which means an incomplete life, shows a story that revolves around the harsh reality of corporate workers’ life. Unlike the typical drama that focuses on showing romance to the viewers, this drama focused on the hardships corporate workers have to face every day. Today, Channel-Korea will explain all about Misaeng, so stay tuned!

Misaeng: Review


Misaeng is a drama that centers on the life of company workers. The main character is Jang Geu-rae, a man who has been chasing his dream as a professional board game player called “baduk”, but in the end failed at achieving it. Because he only focused on the game his whole life, he had to enter the real world and find a job with nothing but a high school equivalency exam on his resume. Through an acquaintance’s recommendation, he managed to secure a position in a large trading company as an intern. However, his working life is rough as the other interns felt it was unfair that he was accepted into the company due to his connection.

Besides the difficulties Jang Geu-rae had to go through, this drama also shows another difficulty that is common to find if you worked at a company. Also, we will be able to see social problems in Korea that are easy to find in the business world. For example, we can find many scenes that portray a time when you had no choice but to work together with a person you don’t like, discrimination against female employees, an act of sexual harassment that happened in the office, and many other examples.

In other words, for the viewers of this drama that haven’t been working, this drama helps them to give a bit of a picture of how harsh the corporate world can be. Meanwhile, this drama can also make the viewers who have been working sympathize with the scenes in it, because they might have gone through one of the difficulties portrayed in the drama. However, we can’t forget that, as a drama, there might be exaggerated scenes more than what can happen in real life.

Misaeng: The Cast

Im Si-wan

Misaeng Im Si-wan

Im Si-wan played as the main character, Jang Geu-rae in Misaeng. From a young age, Jang Geu-rae has been chasing his dream as a professional board game player called “baduk”. However, when he was a teenager, his father died and he doesn’t have the heart to let his mother work alone. So, he worked part-time everywhere he could, and doesn’t have any time to focus on “baduk” anymore.

After that, he decided to work and through an connection, he managed to become an intern at a large trading company called One International with nothing but a high school equivalency exam on his resume. However, due to this his peers feeling it was unfair, they talked behind his back, thinking poorly of him as an incompetent person who was accepted into the company just because of his connection. Despite what the other interns thought of him, he worked hard and learned everything about how the company works diligently. In the end, he managed to become a contract employee for two years after his intern period was over.

When we watch this drama, we can feel the hardships that Jang Geu-rae had to go through despite the prejudice he got from others. Also, his hardworking side can make us feel motivated to not give up on what we do, even though we’re not good at it and always learn something new. The development of his relationships with the other characters will also move our hearts.

Lee Sung-min

Oh Sang-sik

Lee Sung-min has the role of Oh Sang-sik, the chief of Sales Team 3 in Misaeng. He’s the one who leads the team Jang Geu-rae was placed at in the company. At first, he doesn’t have a good impression of Jang Geu-rae because he doesn’t know anything about how he should work, and treated him quite roughly. However, as time passes, he started to have a soft spot for him because of his hardworking side and his willingness to learn.

When we watch a scene that focuses on Oh Sang-sik, there are many scenes that could wrench our heart; he’s the father of a three children and the backbone of his family. We can see in one scene that even though he wants to quit his work, he’d be hesitating to do it when he thinks of his family. He also has many conflicts with his boss, as he often doesn’t agree with his idealism, which makes his office life quite hard.

Kang So-ra

Misaeng Ahn Young-yi

Kang So-ra acted as Ahn Young-yi, one of the female employees in One International. In the earlier episodes, the drama showed her excellent progress as an intern, which makes many divisions want her to join their team if she wasaccepted to continue her work at the company. However, it was too good to be true, because when she was accepted as an employee, she was treated differently than when she was still an intern.

Quite different from her intern period, she was treated harshly by her team, which consisted mostly of men. Not only that, she also often got scolded by her senior and had to go through discrimination just because she’s a female. Besides dealing with her senior’s antics, she also had to deal with her family problems, because her family was in debt. Not only did she have to pay for her family’s debts, after she finished paying all of the debts she still had to search for a loan.

Kang Ha-neul

Misaeng Jang Baek-ki

In this drama, Kang Ha-neul has the role of Jang Baek-ki. Jang Baek-ki is another intern, who has the best performance besides Ahn Young-yi. He’s also sociable with the other interns, except Jang Geu-rae. At first, he quietly thinks badly of Jang Geu-rae, but doesn’t express it blatantly in front of others. After finishing his intern period and being accepted into Steel Team, he started to think differently about Jang Geu-rae.

At one time, he felt jealous of Jang Geu-rae because in his thoughts, he seemed to have more achievements than him, while he doesn’t do anything meaningful, even though they started working at the same time. He still viewed Jang Geu-rae badly until one day he had to work together with him to sell socks and underwear. In the middle of selling it, Jang Geu-rae went to a place he used to visit whenever he wanted to practice “baduk”. Jang Baek-ki got curious, followed him, and overheard people talking about Jang Geu-rae’s background. After that, he started to think better of Jang Geu-rae.


Misaeng Other Casts

Besides the four main members of the cast, there are many actors that appeared in the drama, such as Kim Dae-myung, Byun Yo-han, Park Hae-joon, Shin Eun-jung, and many others. Each of the characters that was portrayed by the cast can make us feel happy, sad, or even angry while we’re sympathizing with the hardships they had to go through as a company employee.