Park Seo-joon

Romance in the Workplace: 5 Favorite K-dramas Featuring Office Couples

HerPrivateLife_KimJaewook_ParkMinyoung

Team-building in the workplace can make for more effective outcomes.

Sometimes time spent working closely with colleagues can lead to more long-term romantic relationships.

Earlier this year, Harvard Business Review provided the guide "How to Approach an Office Romance (and How Not To)" where they highlighted six principles to remember:

Do:

  • Know the many risks of getting involved with someone at work
  • Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies – and the rationale behind them
  • Talk through what you’ll do if the relationship doesn’t work out

Don’t:

  • Pursue a coworker if you’re not serious about a relationship
  • Date someone who you have a reporting relationship with
  • Try to hide the relationship from your manager or colleagues – it will only erode trust

Here are five favorite South Korean dramas highlighting challenges employees face when their collegial relationships evolve into something more intimate.

HerPrivateLife_KimJaewook_ParkMinyoung_Photo1. Her Private Life

First episode date: April 10, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. Dedicated art gallery curator Sung Deok-mi (Park Min-young) leads a secret life as the ultimate fan-girl of Korean pop idol Cha Shi-an (Jung Jae-won). When former artist-turned-gallery-director Ryan Gold (Kim Jae-wook) takes leadership of the Cheum Museum of Art, Doek-mi must deal with the tensions between the new and old directors while protecting her fan-girl life. Based on the 2007 novel Noona Fan Dot Com by Kim SungYeon.

Why I Love This Series: As Ryan Gold learns more about Sung Doek-mi, he supports her passionate pursuit of her favorite boy band idol. She, in turn, helps him regain his lost past and his artistic talent. The series takes you into the art world through a unique behind-the-scenes story, and the romantic chemistry between Ryan and Doek-mi is palpable.

TouchYourHeart2. Touch Your Heart

First episode date: February 6, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. After a scandal impacts the career of top star Oh Yoon-seo (Yoo In-na), she lands a comeback role as a secretary in a drama. In order to get into character to prove she is suitable for the part, Yoon-seo works as a legal secretary for six months. Her workaholic lawyer boss Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook) is notorious for being a perfectionist, but Yoon-seo's bubbly personality soon breaks down his impersonal walls and romance blooms.

Why I Love This Series: First brought together in the kdrama Goblin: The Lonely and Great God, we finally get a chance to see a real romance between these two actors. Though the journey may not be comfortable when these opposites attract, Yoon-seo and Jung-rok learn more about themselves as they deal with the challenges presented by her fame and his ethics.

RomanceIsABonusBook3. Romance is a Bonus Book

First episode date: January 26, 2019
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. Kang Dan-i (Lee Na-young) is a divorced single mother who is unemployed and struggling in life. Though she was once recognized as an expert copywriter, she cannot land a job. Desperate for work, she lies about her credentials and eventually lands a job as a temporary worker at a publishing company. She meets the company's youngest editor-in-chief Cha Eun-ho (Lee Jong-suk), who also happens to be a childhood friend.

Why I Love This Series: Romance between older women and younger men is commonplace in kdramas. In this case, the playful romance between Dan-i and Eun-ho is reminiscent of the romance in the Sutton Foster series Younger. Eun-ho's unwavering support for Dani-i's skills and talents strengthen their relationship and make significant contributions to success at the workplace.

WhatsWrongWithSecretaryKim_064. What's Wrong with Secretary Kim

First episode date: June 6, 2018
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. For the past nine years, President and Vice Chairman of Yumyeong Group Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-joon) has groomed Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) to be the perfect secretary to deal with his narcissistic personality. When she suddenly announces that she is quitting, he seeks to understand her point of view while trying to keep her by his side. Based on the manga What's Wrong with Secretary Kim by Jeong Gyeong Yun and Kim Myeongmi.

Why I Love This Series: The perfect secretary teaches the perfect narcissist how to be a human being. Along the way, romance blooms. With a manga as the source, this series incorporates all the fun graphics and sound effects you would expect from a webtoon. A backstory about a shared childhood drama, a secondary workplace romance, and unique colleagues who offer advice and comment round out this entertainer.

SheWasPretty5. She Was Pretty

First episode date: September 16, 2015
Number of episodes: 16

Description: Romantic comedy. After a complete reversal of fortune and looks, childhood friends Ji Sung-Joon (Park Seo-joon) and Kim Hye-Jin (Hwang Jung-eum) reunite for the first time in 15 years as employees at a fashion magazine.

Why I Love This Series: As a boss, Sung-joon is a tyrant. As a childhood friend, he is unable to immediately recognize Hye-jin, who is desperately trying to hold on to her position despite her perceived shortcomings. The romantic tension builds as a love triangle emerges among the misfit intern Hye-Jin, editor-in-chief Sung-Joon, and senior feature editor Kim Shin-hyuk (Choi Si-won). The power of first love ultimately wins, making the viewer wonder whatever happened to our teenage crush.

 

The following playlist features trailers for each of these series.

 

You can view kdramas via the streaming services Viki.com, Netflix.com, and Amazon Prime.

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