RADIANT OFFICE REVIEW
Synopsis: Radiant Office is a 2017 kdrama whose 16 episodes tells the story of 3 contract workers who are desperate to become permanent hires and the office environment they work in. The added twist is one of them has a serious illness but they don’t know which one.
What is a contract worker?
Contract workers are not regular employees. Statistics show they earn 56% of the wages of regular employees. They are cheaper because companies do not have to provide insurance and other benefits that regular employees receive (employment insurance, national medical insurance, industrial accident compensation insurance, national pension system) (per google sources).
Why I watched: I watched this drama for Ko Ah Sung who I loved in Heard It Through the Grapevine. She didn’t disappoint in Radiant Office. Hers was the standout character of the series.
What I liked about Radiant Office:
* Leading lady Eun Ho Won portrayed by Ko Ah Sung. The tag line for this character could be “open mouth and insert foot”. She could not keep her opinions silent. She boldly declared her beliefs which were often counter to the controlled office environment with a strict pecking order of power. She grappled with being a throwaway contract worker who wanted a permanent position to finally provide the security her previous part-time job(s) could not offer. She believed in loyalty to her friends, though they didn’t always provide that back to her. She believed everyone had worth, though contract workers were not valued. Along the way, she found her own sense of satisfaction through work relationships that challenged and finally respected her.
* Leading man Seo Woo Jin portrayed by Ha Seok Jin. I’d not seen this particular actor prior to Radiant Office. This character was not a manly man and some cute moments came from that fact. His negative opinions on contract workers and strict standards of professionalism were repeatedly challenged by Ho Won. He revised his thinking. Woo Jin hesitated to engage in romance either because of Ho Won’s contractor status, their boss-employee status, their 10 year age gap, etc. If you want romance, Radiant Office kept it light.
* While office politics can be tiresome, I found Radiant Office’s characters were based in realism. I have worked with the types of employees these characters represent – the suck up, the woman that can’t progress up the management chain due to the glass ceiling, the boss that uses you to promote himself, the co-worker that throws you under the bus, etc.
What I didn’t like about Radiant Office:
* Office politics were not always engaging. I’ll admit to fast forwarding through certain characters during the series. By the end of the series, I would watch the entire episode with minimal fast forwarding but it took a while to watch all the politics and characters.
* Radiant Office was written by Jung Hwe Hyun, a rookie screenwriter who won the 2016 MBC TV Drama Screenplay Competition in Miniseries category (per wikipedia).
Would I recommend Radiant Office?
If you like office politics with a side of friendship and a nibble of romance, Radiant Office might work for you. I liked but did not love this series. Radiant Office is a one and done series, I would not be drawn to watch it again.