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Dream big with CJ CGV! Interview with supervisor


Dream big with CJ CGV!
Interview with supervisor Ji Seung-yeon, 
formerly known as a Smile Friend

Youth unemployment is one of the biggest issues that Korea is grappling with in 2016. However, it’s not necessarily an issue that is limited to Korea. It has since become a major concern all over the world, especially now that the world has become so deeply affected by a long-term economic recession and low economic growth. CJ Creative Journal reveals the story of Ji Seung-yeon, Supervisor at CGV Yongsan, who found her own job through her great courage in order to showcase what she can do best.

Never be afraid to show your true colors and follow your heart!


▲ Our recent meeting with Ji Seung-yeon, Supervisor at CGV Yongsan!

The first impression of Ji Seung-yeon, the administrative supervisor of CGV Yongsan, involved ‘smiling and listening’. We wondered how she was able to become a member of CGV after majoring in Flight Service Management at college.

"I thought that a service job would be a good fit for me, as I had specialized in Flight Service Management at college. So I became interested in CGV Smile Friend. I liked the idea of being able to interact with customers through ‘culture’. I was able to learn everything about service jobs that range from customer response to organizational management through CJ's systematic learning system."

Ji started working at CGV in Daegu, where she started off her career as a Smile Friend, while her friends would spend their days going to different job interviews and studied every day to try to get their foot in the door with a company. They said to her, "Smile Friend? Isn't that a part-time job? Why do you work part-time? Why don't you get a decent job?”


▲ Working as a Smile Friend provided her with unforgettable memories

“CGV Smile Friend is a bit out of the ordinary compared to other part-time jobs. It guarantees four major kinds of insurance, severance pay, and better pay than the lowest hourly wage. Diverse learning opportunities enable you to accumulate specialized knowledge about service and multiplex theater. If you work as a Smile Friend for over a year, you will gain the benefit of passing the application review processes during open hiring periods by affiliates of CJ Group, or can be given the opportunity to be employed as a supervisor through an internal open recruitment like I did.

Apart from more flexible and slightly shorter work hours, it’s not that much different from other full-time jobs. I chose to start my career off as a Smile Friend in order to realize my dream of becoming a supervisor through CGV's internal open recruitment.”

CGV Smile Friend became the first step to developing her social career and making her first meaningful effort towards realizing her dreams. CGV was the most ideal place of learning and training for Ji who aspires to become a ‘veteran’ in the service industry.

She further refined her professional demeanor and aptitude while she worked as a Smile Friend, attaining a sense of satisfaction and achievement in the process.


▲ Whenever she is able to successfully carry out small tasks and missions, one step at a time, she feels that much closer to realizing her dreams

Ji promised herself that she'd set a small goal for each day, while working as a Smile Friend. Some examples included, ‘following the example of my superiors who are my role models’, ‘doing my best to help customers’, and ‘giving off a bright smile to my colleagues’. Although these may seem like small missions, the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment felt when achieving them was incomparable.

She is able to move a step closer towards her dreams together with the various opportunities offered by CGV, including the Excellent Smile Friend Contest and workshops.


▲ She keeps pushing ahead towards her dreams

"My parents often encouraged me to find a job other than Smile Friend. But, I really wanted to work at CGV. If I was doing any other kind of part-time job, of course, my mind could easily change. In contrast, however, Smile Friend guaranteed a stable income, and served as the groundwork for the career that I wanted to develop. That’s why I decided that I would continue to work as a Smile Friend in order to take advantage of the various opportunities offered by CJ.” 

Five reasons why CJ's part-time jobs are different from working somewhere else

1. No limit of the work period. No job insecurity.

2. You can eventually work your way into a permanent position, if you work for a certain period (3 months for CJ Olive Young, 6 months for CJ CGV, and 18 months for CJ Foodville). The average shift rates of the three companies reached 48% for the past three years, which is very high.

3. You can receive a range of benefits such as free CGV tickets, coupons valued at 35% off for restaurant brands, and also 35% off at Olive Young.

4. You can become eligible to receive a scholarship, gain support for student loans and receive ongoing programs related to customer service training in order to further nurture professionals in the service industry.

5. You can also be guaranteed a minimum of four major insurances, severance pay and receive holiday bonuses and gifts.

There is no such thing as ‘giving up’ on the long and challenging road towards achieving your dreams.


▲ For Ji, ‘challenge’ is synonymous with ‘happiness and satisfaction’

The opportunity for attaining the position of a supervisor through CGV's internal open recruitment eventually came to Ji through her ongoing efforts to build her career as a Smile Friend, even after moving from Daegu to Seoul. Once she saw her chance, she seized the opportunity without hesitation. In fact, she didn’t even dwell much on any thoughts of "I might not get it." Reason being is that ‘challenge’ was simply a natural thing for Ji, who had never given up on her dreams of becoming a valued member of CGV.

"As I applied for internal open recruitment, I sincerely posed a question to myself as to ‘why I want to work for CGV’. I also reflected on the pleasure and satisfaction I had gained in my time at CGV. Then, I remembered an elderly gentleman that I once encountered while working at CGV in Daegu.

He said that watching movies was one of the greatest pleasures in his life, but that he never had a CGV membership card before even though he visited CGV as much as two to three times a week. Although his patronage qualified him to become a VIP member, he didn't even know that there was such a system. I tried to help him become a member, but I couldn't find a way to verify his identity because he had no smartphone. I ended up seeking help from my manager. I said to her that I wanted to help him make a membership card in some way or another. I continued to lean on her for help on this matter.

He was finally able to get a membership card and it was the first paper approval without smartphone in CGV history, which appeared to make him truly overjoyed. Whenever he saw me at the theater, he would often remark in a big and thankful voice, ‘Thank you for helping me find a cheaper way to watch the movies that I love!’ I look back on that experience with a deep sense of reward.

Such small moments made me feel grateful and satisfied. They have been tremendously helpful for encouraging me to always put forth my best efforts at work. At first, I started out in this line of work because I simply thought ‘the service industry seems to suit me’. However, I’ve since come to love CGV itself and the people within it, which leads me to believe that I must be on the right path."

I love CGV, my workplace and this place where I am seeing my dreams come true


▲ I want to be a supervisor who is able to listen and apply the sincere feedback of our customers!

Ji was appointed as a supervisor through CGV’s internal open recruitment in the second half of 2015. Since taking her very first steps as a Smile Friend, she has consistently adhered to following a defined career path, and being appointed as a supervisor was just one more step towards fulfilling her larger dreams. She manages the Smile Friends operation of CGV Yongsan where she presently works and also oversees the overall operations of the theater itself. In the process of carrying out her duties as a supervisor, she never fails to wear a bright smile and exude the energy that comes from having a positive outlook, and she reminds her past mentors sometimes.

“I'm so happy that I became a supervisor. But I feel that I am not quite done with my growth and that I need to keep setting new goals for myself. So, now I have my sights set on becoming a competent manager who can capably step up and take charge of all business operations in a CGV theaters.

I started off my career as a Smile Friend, so I completely understand what kind of difficulties they have to deal with, plus I can tell what must be going through their minds whenever they feel a sense of achievement. I also know about customer feedback and how important it is. That’s a big reason why I want to be an administrator who always listens to the sincere and candid opinions of customers and is sensitive to evolving situations on site. CGV is a place that always remains open to our customers, as the company would not even exist if it weren’t for them.”


▲ Come to CGV, full of bright smiles and big dreams!

She recently transferred from CGV Apgujeong to CGV Yongsan, and has settled into a more enjoyable ‘CGV life’. For Ji, who said she was happy to finish up her career at CGV Apgujeong with this interview, CGV means more to her than a mere ‘workplace’ because it molded her into what she is now, while she inched her way closer to her dream of becoming a bonafide part of the larger ‘CGV family’. The name of ‘CGV’ resonates strongly with her due to her lofty aspirations and great efforts that she has put into the company, while her dreams continue to act as a catalyst for excelling throughout her life.