I recently received an e-mail from one of my staff members, urging me to find the time to take a walk around Namsan Mountain as it was then covered with all kinds of colorful spring flowers. She was An So-yeon who had begun her career as a public servant just one month earlier. I found out that she was a member of the Forest Management Team in the Nature and Ecology Division.
How could I possibly refuse such a wonderful invitation? This morning I left my office for the Seoul City Hall Namsan Annex where Miss An’s team has its workplace. I met Miss An and her colleagues there, had lunch with them, and took a walk around the mountain, chatting avidly. Namsan was indeed “a palace of colorful spring flowers,” as she had put it in her e-mail. All the forsythias, azaleas and cherry trees were in full bloom. Crowds larger than can be seen in Myeong-dong’s busy shopping streets were out and about on the walkways of Namsan, enjoying the spectacle of myriad flowers basking in the glorious spring sunrays.
We stopped at the memorial stone erected in honor of the great poet Jo Ji-hun, resting a moment under a canopy of cherry blossoms, before taking a souvenir photo. Then I realized a large throng of visitors had gathered around us, taking pictures of me with my fellow workers. I was really appreciative of their warm reception and, frankly, rather proud of myself.
Making time to meet my staff members, dine and walk with them was, I found, as important and as joyful as any other part of the work I am committed to. I believe that the citizens of Seoul will be happy when the public workers in the Seoul Metropolitan Government are happy. If I work harder, then, to help my fellow civil servants lead a happy working life, I expect they will work even harder to offer better services for our citizens.
I was deeply grateful for the invitation. And I earnestly hope that Miss An, who has just started out on her career as a public worker, will continue to grow and be loved and trusted by the citizens she will be serving.