This book is the first in its kind to express the honest voice of an on-job trainee and youth laborer. The author vividly shows the variety of situations that on-job trainees and youth laborers experience through the stories of his own and people around him.
- Book Intro
(English) I wore my work clothes over my school uniform
A story of the nameless era, seen and heard by the author, a borderline time when a working youth, in his twenties but not in college, lived as a military service worker not a soldier.
The 2016 Guui Station screen door incident where an employee of a maintenance enterprise was killed, the 2017 Jeju incident where a field trainee was killed, and the 2018 Taean Thermal Power Plant accident, etc. To the extent where it is hard to list all of them, every time a tragic incident happens, the press and political circle shed light on stories of on-job trainees and youth laborers; however, not long after, similar accidents occur time and again. The existence of some lives is recognized only when they are dead, but even that will soon turn into fragmented and scattered pieces of information in the news. This reality plainly reflects the poor circumstances of on-job trainees and youth laborers in our society.
“I tried to find our stories in society, but it wasn’t easy. In every movie or drama, novel or comic book, people in their twenties were all college students, and the employed were all wearing suits. Stories of people wearing work uniforms and going to the factory to work were like children’s tales passed down by word of mouth. The best I had was guessing from the story of someone’s experiences, and even in that case there were many obscure and blank parts.” – from the text
Even though there is growing concern on the safety of the workplace, relatively little is known about on-job trainees and youth laborers in our society. There are probably many reasons for this, one of which is that there are very few chances to hear the voices of these people. Did someone take away their language, their voices? We can say that I Wore My Work Uniform Over My School Uniform is the first book to express the honest voice of an on-job trainee and youth laborer. With a serene look, the author describes life bordering death, telling the vivid stories of various situations that on-job trainees and youth laborers undergo, stories of his own and of those around him. The author simply tells the raw stories through calm and well-groomed sentences, sometimes with paradoxical simplicity.
- About the Author
Heo Tae Jun
(English) Heo Tae Jun graduated from Busan National Mechanical Technical High School. He worked for a local mid-sized enterprise for three years and seven months, starting as an on-job trainee and eventually working as an industrial technical agent. Living as a working youth, not-a-college-student in his twenties, and as a military service worker not a soldier, he agonized over his life in which he found it difficult even to introduce himself to others. After quitting his job, with his belief that every life must become a story, he started writing about the era he saw and heard for himself. Still feeling lost, and sometimes feeling sad, he is writing today as well.
“In the era when youth is a synonym of college student, the story of the youth who live their life outside campus in itself becomes a very special witness. This book where a youth’s warm and calm gaze is deeply melted contains the stories of a ghost who has always existed, but has never been heard to speak for himself before. Only after being heard has the ghost come to fully exist, coming to walk alongside us.” Jung Ji-woo (Writer)
“The author’s writing is neither a diary nor reportage but an essay and prose containing poetry. This kind of writing strategy not only allows detailed and candid reports of the workplace but also vividly tells a story of the workplace. I would like to call the author’s writing style “rubbing.” Rubbing is a method in which the writings or patterns of old tombstones or tablets are painted in ink so that they are copied in complete embossment. It reveals the entire aspects of the writings or patterns by gently patting the surface. In the sense that It takes a relatively long time but that eventually it makes us feel the entire features of his life, his writing style resembles the rubbing method. Lee Seong-Chul (Professor, Changwon National University)
2021 Human Rights Book of Today