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The Korean Work Ethic is Based on Impatience

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The Korean Work ethic is based on impatience

I remember a year ago my Korean friend read me some sociological findings on Koreans. Their most distinguishing characteristic was impatience. Some say that patience is a virtue, but when you are doing business and have deadlines, you might enjoy working with Koreans. They have expectations of themselves that might be higher than what you expect from others! I have gotten tired of the American work ethic which seems to be based on broken promises and negligence. It is only the old-school Americans who believe in hard work and integrity in my experience. If you have deadlines to meet, find someone who is accurate and in more of a hurry that you.

Korea has demonstrated an uncanny ability to do things faster. Take ship building for example. They build huge ships in pieces and put them together on floating devices — seamlessly and very quickly. Their process is very innovative, and extremely reliable too. Koreans are leading the world in electronics too these days. If Koreans were doing typical outsourcing work like Data Entry, Call Center Management, or IT Outsourcing, I assure you that the rest of you guys would be out of business.

As with many Asian cultures, communication skills are rarely outstanding with Koreans, but my personal experience has been that the work gets done correctly and quickly even with some communication issues.

My Korean friend’s joke about Koreans is that when they microwave their instant noodles they stand next to the microwave counting the seconds so they can get their noodles fast. They will start stirring the noodles fresh out of the microwave instead of letting them sit for a while (like you should). Such impatience is a global anomaly, but great if you are hiring them to do work that involves deadlines! I’m going to talk some Koreans I know into going into typical outsourcing businesses. Maybe they can clean up the industry! We’ll see!

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