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106 Letter of Intent 1 – PART 1

 Gun-Ho and Min-Hyeok went to a restaurant that specialized in spicy stir-fried octopus dishes.

"We could just have a simple meal."

"No, I want to buy you something delicious. Let's have what this restaurant specializes in-a spicy stir-fried octopus dish."

"It should be expensive."

Gun-Ho placed an order for a stir-fried octopus dish without responding to Min-Hyeok's concern.

When the dish came out, Gun-Ho suggested having liquor along with the octopus dish.

"But it's still my work hours."

"It's okay. Let's just have one glass of liquor."

Gun-Ho and Min-Hyeok ate the food without saying a word for a while. While Gun-Ho was thinking of what he would tell him, Min-Hyeok started talking.

"Aren't you comfortable in having a friend working at your OneRoomTel as a residential manager?"

"Why are you saying that nonsense?!"

Gun-Ho placed side dishes close to Min-Hyeok.

"When is your next exam?"

"I think I will have to give it up."

"Why?"

"I am not smart enough to pass the exam and I have complicated family issues. I think I will have to find a job."

"Do you have somewhere you can work at?"

"As a matter of fact, I applied for several jobs already, but it didn't work out. I guess I am too old to start a new career. I am already in my mid-30s."

As Min-Hyeok's eyes welled with tears, he poured liquor in his own glass.

"You have work experience, right? You said you used to work at a quality assurance department. How many years did you work there?"

"Not for a long time. It was about 1 and a half years."

"Aren't you considered as an experienced worker with that work experience? In addition, you graduated from a 4-year college in Seoul."

"I have relatively short work experience with not many certificates of skills in addition to my old age; I guess I am not a preferred job candidate for employers. Moreover, I graduated from a college of liberal arts which is not very popular among employers. I sent my resume to many companies already and they didn't even invite me for an interview."

Min-Hyeok drank his beer. He initially hesitated to drink because he had to work, but now he just kept drinking.

"Are you okay? You said you have to work."

"This will be my last beer. I'm sorry I didn't want you to see me like this."

"Cheer up, man. We are still young."

"Manager Kang who is working at your company said he graduated from a good college and he used to work in a bank as a deputy general manager. However, he said he couldn't find a job for a few years after he quit the bank. He is way more qualified than me and even that person couldn't find a job. What would be the odds for a person like me to find a job then?"

"He was in his 40s."

"I guess I could get a job in a production field at a factory. But what would that job do good to me? I will make 1.8 million won per month without hope for a better future. I would suffer from hard physical labor work every day and no one would respect me. In addition, the managers in that field had issues. They are arrogant and most of them are on a serious power trip."

"I am aware of it. I had worked in a factory before, so I know that by experience. They do that because they are not educated."

"Moreover, if you work in a production field rather than in a management, there is no promotion. So you just work there every day knowing you wouldn't have a better position in the future."

Min-Hyeok grabbed his empty glass; it seemed that he wanted to drink more beer.

"Just try until next year. I'm sure you will pass next year."

"I'm giving up."

"Why?"

"It's hard to get a government job, but not just that. I think I don't have the aptitude for that either."

"What do you think you have the aptitude for?"

"Well, I don't know."

"I guess you need more beer. Let's have one more bottle."

Min-Hyeok smiled when Gun-Ho said he would order one more bottle of beer.

"Did you come here to talk to me today because you were told something about me?"

"Like what?"

"Did Manager Kang tell you that I drank too often?"

"Why do you say that? Did you get caught by him while you were drinking?"

"Several times actually. When I get caught, I felt so sorry to you rather than to Manager Kang."

"You can drink less from now on. It's okay."

Min-Hyeok lowered his head without saying anything.

"What's wrong?"

"No, nothing. Just something got in my eyes."

"Here, here is a tissue. You can use it."

Gun-Ho thought he could understand how Min-Hyeok was feeling right now.

When Gun-Ho studied for the same exam several years back, he didn't have money either. He once wanted to commit suicide because of the feeling of desperation and depression. He confronted his parents out of anger and despair to say why they had to have him in the first place without being able to give him an affluent and good life.

Gun-Ho spent three years of his youth in working at a factory knowing he had no hope to have a better life by working there. He couldn't even think about saving money because he was barely making a living. Everyone including his aunt kept asking him why he didn't marry anyone, but at that time, marriage was not an option for him. He was scared of getting stuck in that life for the rest of his life and he believed that once he got married, he would be stuck there. He could totally understand the word of Gamophobia and why some people had a fear of marriage. He believed having a child after marriage would make the situation even worse and his life would be ruined forever.

Gun-Ho and Min-Hyeok started drinking the additional bottle of beer they had ordered.

Gun-Ho began to talk a while after he thought of something while closing his eyes with his arms crossed.

"Min-Hyeok, would you be interested in going to China?"

"China?"

"I am planning to have a joint venture with China. I am not 100% sure whether I would actually do it or not at this point; however, once I decide to do it, I will need someone who would stay in China for the joint venture business."

Min-Hyeok grinned.

"Listen to yourself, Gun-Ho. You are asking someone who doesn't speak Chinese and who hasn't done any management work in his life."

"You can learn Chinese as you work and you could use a Korean-Chinese interpreter; not knowing the Chinese language will not affect your work in China. It is rather all about whether you have the will to do the work. When I went to China for the first time to run my restaurant there, I couldn't speak even a word in Chinese."

"Yeah, that's right. I heard you went to China and made good money. Did you really not speak Chinese at all at that time? Hadn't you have even gone to a private institution to learn the Chinese language before you went to China?"

"No, I didn't. I just went there without that sort of preparation."

"Wow. You indeed banged your head against a brick wall, and you made it."

"I'm going to China next week to sign the letter of intent, and I want you to come with me. Why don't you come and see the place before you decide if you could live there for a while."

"What about my work here?

"Quit it!"

Min-Hyeok looked at Gun-Ho in surprise. He seemed to sober up already.

"Why? You don't like to work at my company?"

"No, I don't mean that..."

"Then what?"

"To be honest with you, I am not sure if it is a good idea for me to work at your company. It could be uncomfortable for both of us. I have to work under you, and you could sometimes feel that you would have to take care of me."

"You wouldn't work under me. Why do you say that? We will work together as a partner, okay?"

"Whew."

Min-Hyeok let out a deep sigh. Gun-Ho suddenly grabbed Min-Hyeok's hands, that made him recoil.

"You have to help me. I need you. I need someone I can trust and share the same value to work together!"

"I am not sure if I can be of any help to you."

While saying it, Min-Hyeok seemed to think about something.

Gun-Ho firmly said,

"I will find someone else to take your residential manager position. I will ask Manager Kang to place a job posting right away."

Min-Hyeok lowered his head and didn't say a word for a while

"I understood what you meant."

"Thank you."

"Can I recommend someone to take the residential manager position then?"

"Do you know someone good for the position?"

"Yes. I know this guy from my study group. He went to the same high school as us and he is three years younger than us. He is studying for the government job exam as well and he is a hard worker. I'm sure he would be happy and grateful if he could work as a residential manager at your OneRoomTel."

"Okay, then. I will talk to Manager Kang about it. By the way, do you have your passport?"

"I actually do. I obtained my passport a few years ago when I went abroad for volunteer work. I believe it is still valid."

"That's good. You will need to apply for the visa then. Once you applied for the visa, send the receipt for the visa processing fee to Ms. Ji-Young Jeong at my office, then she will take care of it."

At that moment, Gun-Ho saw a gleam of hope in Min-Hyeok's eyes.

Gun-Ho talked with Manager Kang about Min-Hyeok.

"I met with Min-Hyeok yesterday."

Manager Kang asked while smiling,

"Did you tell him to stop drinking?"

"I guess he was under a lot of pressure and stress because of his constant failure on the exam."

"I totally understand. When I was still looking for a job after retiring from banking work, I was just like him."

"So, I am thinking about sending him to China."

"China? So you decided to participate in the joint venture?"

"I haven't signed the letter of intent yet. I want to bring him with me on the trip to China this time."

"What about the OneRoomTel in Bangbae Town. We will need a new residential manager then."

"He recommended someone he knows."

"That's nice."

"Since you are in charge of hiring a residential manager, I let you know that in advance."

"You are the president. If you decide something, I follow. I will ask Mr. Min-Hyeok Kim to bring that person as soon as possible."

Manager Kang made a call to Min-Hyeok.

"Mr. Min-Hyeok Kim? It's me! I talked with the president. Could you send the person who would take the residential manager position as soon as you can? And you need to hand over the work to him as well."

"Okay, I will do that."

"Also, please tell that person to prepare his resident registration and resume."

"Okay, Manager Kang."

Manager Kang made a report to Gun-Ho while smiling after getting off the phone with Min-Hyeok.

"Mr. Min-Hyeok Kim sounded cheerful this time, sir."

"Is it right?"

Gun-Ho smiled.