Korean Words for Work

Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun and welcome to another Korean words tutorial. I know many people who study Korean are students. But today, I brought a tutorial for people who have a job and work hard everyday! Of course, it has many essential Korean words that students need to know. And, well… the sad truth is that everybody has to get a job someday lol so yeah… it’s good to learn even for students. The sad days are coming. IT’S COMMIIIIIINNNNNNG.


Korean Words for Work Featured

Job / Task / Work / Something to do / Plan


일 is an informal Korean word for ‘job’, ‘task’, ‘work’. Usually 일 means ‘job’ or ‘work’ but native Koreans use it when they have a plan to do something especially on schedule. 일 also can mean ‘chores. It doesn’t matter if it’s a work from your job or home. 일 describes any labor you have to do.


You can use it in formal Korean conversations also, It sounds more polite than using the polite Korean word. ‘무슨 일 하세요? (what 일 do you do)’ can be more polite than using the Korean word 직업.


일이 많을 때는,
when you have so many things to do,

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Job / Occupation


Technically, 직업 is a formal Korean word like the English word ‘occupation’. However, it’s very commonly used in casual Korean conversations.


Why do you need to know 2 Korean words for job? Because when you ask someone’s job, 일 might not be so perfect every time.


제 직업은 전사입니다
My job is a warrior


To work


일하다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to work’. Yes, it’s a compound Korean word, 일(noun) + 하다(do)’. However, unlike 일 (job / work / task / something to do), 일하다 only means ‘to do a labor’ or ‘to work’.


일하기 싫을 때는 통장 잔고를 확인하세요.
When you don’t want to work, check how much you got in your bank account




직장 is a formal Korean word that means ‘a workplace where you work’. Workplace isn’t very commonly used in English but Koreans use 직장 very often. They avoid to give a detailed information that people can guess about their job (like if you work at a restaurant, or an office). But I don’t think It’s not because of privacy. It’s just how native Koreans talk.


Even though it’s formal, native Koreans use it when they want to know where you work at. You can answer where your workplace is placed (e.g. my workplace is in Seoul) or where you work (e.g. I work for Samsung)


This Korean word 직장 is very important to know because it makes a root for a lot of Korean words like 직장 동료 (coworker / colleague)


Sometimes, native Koreans use 직장 to describe a particular job that they have.


이 직장은 지옥이에요
This job is hell

쉬는 날

[sui-neun nal]
Day off


쉬는 날 is an informal Korean word for ‘day off’. Technically, this Korean word is not formal at all. But native Koreans use it in almost all situations.


쉬는 날 is a compound Korean word that has 쉬다 which means ‘to rest’ and 날 which means ‘day’. So, It literally means ‘a resting day’. It’s very important to know because when native Koreans say 쉬는 날, it also can mean ‘resting day’ as its literal meaning.


You can use it for a break from anything like you work out often but you decide not to work out a day a week, then that can be 쉬는 날. You play a video game almost everyday but you decide not to play a game one day, then yeah it can be 쉬는 날.


쉬는 날에 저는 행복합니다
I’m happy at my day off



돈 is an informal Korean word for ‘money’. Sometimes, it means ‘cash’ also.


Many Koreans words can be used in formal and informal situation both. But 돈 is not very okay when you use it in formal situations.


돈이 제일 좋아요!
I love money!
= The best phrase for all souls who are soaked in capitalism.

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Monthly pay / Monthly salary


월급 is the most common Korean word for monthly salary / salary. 월급 is a formal Korean word but it’s very commonly used in all kinds of conversations and situations. You have to understand Koreans mostly think based on the monthly pay, not annual salary. Normally native Koreans say ‘월급 받다’ for getting paid.


월급날이 제일 좋아요!
I love the payday!
= Another best phrase for all souls who are soaked in capitalism.


To quit / To stop


그만두다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to stop’ or ‘to quit’. 그만두다 is derived from ‘그만하다’ which has the same meanings. However, even though 그만두다 and 그만하다 are basically the same. only 그만두다 is natural to say ‘to quit a job’.


Another important thing you should know is that 그만하다 and 그만두다 both means ‘to stop oneself doing something’. You can’t use it to say ‘stop someone from doing something’.


내일은 꼭 일 그만 둘거예요
I’ll really quit this job tomorrow


To earn (money or time) / To ask a punishment oneself


벌다 is an informal Korean word for ‘to earn’. However, it’s very different than the English word ‘earn’. 벌다 sounds like ‘you earn something by putting an effort or making a financial action’. It’s mostly used with something consumable like ‘time’, ‘money’. It’s very tricky to understand but not so hard if you take a look for details.


A, For money, 벌다 sounds like you earn money by labor or unexpected event or luck.
B, For time, you can use 벌다 to say ‘making some time to do something’ only when you’re chased by time.
C, For punishment, you can use it when someone doesn’t behave well.


돈 많이 벌면 유니콘을 살거예요
I’ll buy a unicorn when I make a lot of money


To be important / critical / main / serious


중요하다 is a very tricky Korean word to understand. Basically, It means ‘to be important’ but in the Korean mindset, ‘important’ also can be ‘critical’, ‘main’, ‘serious’ especially when you talk about problems and data. Korean language logic is like this. critical = urgent = higher priority = Important = 중요하다.


뭐가 제일 중요해요?
What’s most important?

How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives

급한 일이 있어요
I have an urgent thing to do


직업이 뭐예요?
What’s your job?


저는 삼성에서 일해요
I work for Samsung


제 직장은 서울에 있어요
My workplace is in Seoul


오늘은 쉬는 날이에요
Today is my day off


돈이 부족해요
I don’t have enough money


어제 월급 받았어요
I got paid yesterday


지난달에 일 그만뒀어요
I quit my job last month


돈을 많이 벌고 싶어요
I want to make a lot of money


제한테 이 일은 정말 중요해요
This job is really important to me

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References For Korean Words

Naver Dictionary


korean standard unabridged dictionary