[Serial reports] A story of a restaurant server Klaus (2)

Klaus Petersen (56)

Klaus Petersen (56)

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus②]  Don’t be discouraged, all occupations are equally honorable

Klaus has a son.

“He is 22 years old and works as a locksmith now.”

He was really proud of his son, but to be honest, I could not understand him, because normally in Korea, most of fathers who were waiters wanted their son to get further ahead in the world.

Instead, he said, “I never asked him to get a highly-paid, specialized job such as a judge, doctor or professor. Because I think that being a locksmith is also a valuable and necessary job in our society.”

I suddenly recalled an interview with a Korean executive in a big firm. He has a son who works for a medium enterprise, and he felt ashamed of him. Another friend of mine also has a similar attitude toward his son. My friend is a doctor, while his son did not go to a famous college and does not even have a decent job; this is the reason why he did not tell me about his son’s job until recently.

Klaus goes to his high school reunion every five years and he never hesitated to talk about his story and even his son’s. So, who is happier between the Korean doctor who is ashamed of his son, and the Danish waiter who is proud of his son? This is not the problem of a relationship between father and son, but rather a different attitude of valuing labor.

 

[Special lecture about happiness by Klaus③]  Live together, band together

Klaus has never worried about getting a raw deal because he is not the only one to be against it.

“We have a labor union for restaurant staff called ’3F’ in Denmark; I have been a member there since I graduated from high school. I’ve paid 200 dollars every month for last 40 years.”

There are about 300,000 members in the union and all of our staff members in this restaurant joined it.

“So there is no discrimination in our workplace, if it happens we can report the union and its representative can talk about the problem with the relevant owner.

Surprisingly, he never has experienced bad things in his workplace. Nevertheless he continuously pays 200 dollars every month to receive unemployment benefits later; 3000 dollars per month is the amount that both unions and the government together provide us for one and half years.

“We can also take unemployment benefits from the government for 2 years, but it is not enough to earn a living so we pay union fees, like purchasing insurance, so we do not have to worry about losing our job.”

Danish labor unions’ coverage reaches to around 70% now; the highest rate was once about 80%, while in Korea it is about 10% (the World average is around 23%)

* To read entire article in Korean :  http://omn.kr/2xer (by Yeon-ho Oh)

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Eunbin Ko

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07 2013

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