SNS Yet Another Source of Stress for Harried Korean Salarymen

As if punishing hours, English mania, coerced drinking sessions and economic uncertainty weren’t enough, Korea’s downtrodden workers now have another source of stress to add to the list: social media.

In a recent study by the Korean arm of job portal Incruit, 35 percent of 249 company workers cited SNS as a source of stress. Here’s why:

From the top, the given reasons are:

  • I always feel uneasy when I’m not connected (6.9%)
  • I feel obliged to write something whenever I have some time (21.8%)
  • I have to answer all messages one by one (33.3%)
  • I’m worried about losing control of my personal information (50.6%)
  • Because of criticisms, slander or bad comments about me (8%)
  • I feel stressed out when I don’t update (25.3%)
  • Miscellaneous (3.4%)

The survey also revealed that 65.5 percent of respondents had either given up or shut down SNS accounts because of stress, and 51.7 percent of them had de-friended or un-followed people for the same reason.

I have to say, though this isn’t the most scientific study in the world, I’m not too surprised by the results. Having worked in my share of Korean workplaces over the years, it’s always seemed evident to me that the concept of a “private life” — as distinct from the workplace — is far less clearly defined in Korea than it is in, say, the UK. As a foreigner, I’m spared much of the intrusiveness, but I can certainly imagine that SNS could be yet another unwelcome window into the personal affairs of Koreans in general, and office workers in particular.

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