Interview with Juweon Kim

Fri 03 Apr 2009

With just hours to till the announcement of the top 10 Best Job in the World applicants ChannelWhitsunday.com sought some answers from the top 50 that have now endured months of blogging, interviews and sleepness nights as they campaign be the first "Island Caretaker" for the Great Barrier Reef.

We received this response from Juweon from Korea about his campaign.

1.When you started out with BJITw did you consider the amount of time that you would have to put in to eventually be the island caretaker?
To be completely honest with you, I never realized that this process would be this long and exhausting BUT SO REWARDING at the same time.  At first, I thought it was going to be just me standing by to do a bunch of media interviews, look pretty in front of the camera, smile and say the right things, but it was been way more than that.  Even though I am in the media, I never knew running a PR campaign to sell yourself to the media could be such a difficult process, especially after the initial rush of media requests died down.  But this process has allowed me to learn and realize so much about myself.  It has caused me to really sit down and evaluate what my true dream job would be, what I want to accomplish through this experience and how I could use it as a spring board to better not only myself, but also everyone around me and the world in general by using the platform to bring awareness to certain issues to more people around the globe.  

2. How many hours would you estimate that you have put into your campaign?
You can bet that I had many many sleepless nights.  Running a PR campaign in Korea alone was tiring enough but to do it back in Texas was even more difficult because of the time difference.  I had many email and skype interviews scheduled at like 4AM my time and I had to work a lot of nights working on my videos and blog so that this whole process would not negatively influence my current day job and my current employers.  I think on weekdays, I spent on average of 6 – 7 hours a day after my radio show ends 8pm each night working on stuff.  On the weekends, well basically, they have been devoted to this thing... Whatever I did, I was trying to figure out ways of incorporating it into a video or a blog entry for this campaign.  I have some content just waiting in the wings to be put up, but I didn’t want to just “splurge” it all out there because I’ve been reading other competitors’ blogs saying how they are running out of ideas, so I was trying to pace myself a bit.  

3. Who has been in the most inspirational and supportive in your campaign (outside your folks)?
Wow...this is a hard question to answer because I have had such wonderful support from everyone around me.  Of course my family without a doubt, especially my grandmother who I live with here in Korea and my grandfather who is ill in the hospital, I’m sure he’s supporting me in his heart, although he can’t show me through words or action.  My fans at Arirang Radio and at EBS have been wonderful about spreading the word and voting for me and my friends back in Texas have absolutely been fantastic during this whole process.  And my current employers have been simply awesome!

There is one person that I did turn to a lot for pep talks, morale boosts and discussions on key decisions concerning the campaign.  The guy is my former colleague at Arirang, fellow Texan and fellow UT grad, Robert Joe, and I actually did an interview on his show, TBS’ On the Pulse.  (listen to the interview here: click here )  Robert has been extremely honest about his assessment of they way I handled things, he criticized my blog posts or videos when they sucked, and praised them when they were good and I think it was the honest evaluation I got from him from the get go that allowed me to continue to improve my campaign as it went along.  Honestly, there were days when I was just so burned out and didn’t even want to LOOK at my computer to blog or edit video and on those days, he was there to tell me, you know what, no more for today, let’s just go out and blow off some steam.  I also have to thank my girlfriend who accepted taking a back seat to the BJITW campaign.  For the last month, you could say that she was observing me having an affair with the BJITW, but she has been wonderfully understanding of the whole situation.  

4. There has been some media and internet coverage that has been quite critical of the campaign. Have you come in for any direct flak for your success thus far? How did you feel about it?
I actually have not experienced any negativity coming from anyone during this process.  If I were to nitpick, I might’ve gotten some “negative” comments with people expressing their jealousy towards me, but that’s a good thing I think!  

5. What is the most important thing you have learned during the process?
I have garnered so much from this process.  On the surface I learned what the PR business was like, I learned a lot about the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and the coral reef systems, the environmental threats surrounding the region, etc, etc.  But I think even if I didn’t make the next stage, I would be completely satisfied and grateful for the process because the BJITW campaign allowed me to really reevaluate my life, career wise and also allowed me to reassess what my ultimate goal in life is.  Many people point to the big salary and think that's a goal in my life, but on the contrary.  If I were to go into details about all this, this answer would get very long, but here’s the gist.  The BJITW campaign helped me realize that my ultimate goal in life is to leave a significant impact in the world, to give back more to the world than I have taken from it in the end, and all I have done up to this point in my life is to take from it.  It helped me to see that I had forced myself to become “satisfied” with where I was career wise, education wise, life style wise but now I have this new motivation, strength and desire to do more, to become better and to aim higher.

6. Should you not eventually become the IC, what does life look like after the dust has settled?
After all the hoopla ends, you’ll still see me pursuing my DREAM JOB, the BEST JOB in the WORLD for ME!  I actually got a book deal here in Korea with the attention this entire campaign has brought me, so I have to finish that within the year.  I plan on wrapping up my stay here in Korea within the next year or two and I want to go live and travel through the rest of the world for about 6 – 12 months, mainly in Africa and South America, two continents I haven’t been to, other than Australia and Antarctica.  After that, it’ll be grad school, although I haven’t exactly settled on the subject.  Right now, I’m leaning towards international relations and broadcast journalism.  Following that, I want to do a stint with the Peace Corps before settling down at an NGO that works for a cause that I’m really passionate about so I can always be happy and motivated about going to work no matter the pay.  But with all this said and done, I know from experience that you can have all these plans set out for yourself, but you never really know where life is going to take you.  One thing is for sure, I’m going to be taking the necessary steps to make sure I live my life to the fullest.   :).