More Office Workers Skip Lunch for Self-Improvement
Many young office workers use their lunch break to do something productive for themselves, mainly because overtime, after-hours meetings with colleagues and housework mean they rarely find time otherwise and long working days make it difficult to get up earlier.
In a recent poll by the Chosun Ilbo of 210 employees in their 20s and 30s at Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor and SK Telecom, 15.7 percent replied they spend their lunch break on some kind of self-improvement. They either have a quick lunch or skip it completely.
Some 65.8 percent said overtime and quasi-obligatory socializing with colleagues make it difficult to do something at night on a regular basis, while 24.3 percent said it is difficult to get up early in the morning. Some 4.8 percent said they like to use their spare time meaningfully somehow.
Some 69.6 percent of respondents said they had tried to fit in self-improvement activities either early in the morning or at night but gave up in the last six months. The most popular activities were working out at gym (66.7 percent), learning a foreign language (30.3 percent), and studying for a professional license (3 percent).
Choi Set-byol, a sociology professor at Ewha Womans University, commented, "Even a few years ago, it was almost the norm for salaried workers to have lunch with their boss or colleagues. But young people are giving up on socializing and devote themselves to what they like to do. It shows that individualism, which puts the priority on a person's own ability and taste, has entered the mainstream of Korean culture."