life in korea

Friday Frustrations: Office Drinking as Office Meeting

ConversationsWithMoms:Every day Conversations with a Mom Blog

This is maybe the third time I am going to write about the drinking culture here in Korea,  but really, it is a continuing frustration for me as my husband is part of this culture. Thanks to Maria’s Conversations with Moms Friday Frustrations, I have another venue for venting out this frustration.

Blaming a country’s culture may sound like a lame excuse for those who haven’t been or who do not know about Korea’s drinking culture.  But since, yeah, my family is exposed to this, I do blame the drinking culture for my husband’s frequent late night outs. Even for Koreans, it is not easy to say no especially when it is the boss who says, “let’s have a drink”.

I would be lucky if hubby goes home early three times a week. Regular weeknights would be, 2 nights of dinner at home, 3 nights of going home smelling of some alcohol. Worst, for me, would be, going home smelling of soju. Arggghhhhh!

Just the other day, a Korean mom ask me if my husband goes home early everyday. I said, no! and  hate it. I especially hate the smell when he comes home. I ask, what about your husband. The same. That night, the husband had a meeting, a drinking meeting. Yes, they do call their eating out and drinking a “meeting”.

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8 thoughts on “Friday Frustrations: Office Drinking as Office Meeting

  1. drinking in Korea has some purpose

    it is a way of bonding and it is the only time when a subordinate could rant (with the boss hearing) and get away with it. A lot of conflicts at work get resolved during drinking sessions.

    A lot of Koreans also believe that one could gauge another man’s character during drinking sessions.

    The situation is even worse with start-ups and 중소기업s (SMEs). I still remember when our company was just starting and all of us employees could fit inside an SUV, we would work until midnight, then go out for drinks until 7 the next morning, go back straight to the office, sleep until noon, go back to work. repeat…

    the only good thing, i guess, was that all of my Korean colleagues had their families in other cities (y’know, start-ups, the incubator site is in some remote area designated by the Korean government, with the employees not willing to uproot their families yet…). So, they were like singles during weekdays.

    is it good or bad?
    who are we to judge another country’s culture?
    especially if the country is like Korea which rose from a bullock economy to being the 13th biggest economy in a span of less than 50 years?

  2. my husband used to do that before we got married, ok lng sa kin kc nsa Pinas naman ako, but after we got married and came to Korea, it was lessened.But believe it, he and most korean men hate the “drinking culture”especially if it’s drinking with their seniors. But after I got a job, I became to understand the so called culture. He goes home earlier than me. he usually arrives home 7pm and would always pick me up. Sometimes I would force him to meet his friends and drink but he would rather go to the gym.

    But I think the situation of your husband is a little difficult since he speaks English fluently so maybe most of his colleagues wanna have a drink with him and talk with him in English to practice their English?dunno exactly.

  3. i hate this too but my husband rarely goes out for “drinking meetings”(lucky me)…….but when he does(or more of when he is left with NO CHOICE and literally FORCED by his superiors) i tell him to be home by midnight.

  4. Wendy, you’re funny. Don’t get down because of your comments. I understand why you are frustrated. I would be super frustrated too. It’s really not fair to you at all. I don’t understand your culture but I don’t need to understand it in order to empathize with what you must be going through.

    Talk to your husband. Try to set limits. Good luck.

    Maria@Conversations with Moms´s last blog post..Friday Frustrations – Why you Never Prepay

  5. I hate to tell you this, but my husband’s max is once a week. There are times he wouldn’t go out so I had to force him to go 😀

    My second brother-in-law is worst, he rarely drinks since he’s cursed with the Asian Flush and he’s usually home by 7 PM!

    betchay´s last blog post..CUK Professorial Recruitment

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