Hayley Won left her successful career as a book editor in South Korea to work as a packer and slicer at John Dee in Warwick. It might not be as glamorous, but Ms Won says she is happier now than she ever imagined she would be.
Hayley Won left her successful career as a book editor in South Korea to work as a packer and slicer at John Dee in Warwick. It might not be as glamorous, but Ms Won says she is happier now than she ever imagined she would be. Marian Faa

Editor starts new chapter with factory career in Warwick

A SUCCESSFUL book editor who gave up her career in the city and moved to Warwick to work in a meat factory says she could not be happier.

At 29, Hayley Won's life in Warwick could not look more different to what it did six months ago when she was working for a prestigious publishing firm in South Korea.

Pulling 14-hour work days on a regular basis and suffering under the intense pressure Korean society places on young professionals, Ms Won was growing more unhappy each day.

She was half way through the gruelling task of translating War and Peace from Russian into Korean when she decided to give everything up, start learning English and move to Australia.

Since February this year, Ms Won has been working at the John Dee meat factory in the packing and boning room, a far cry from the corporate life she left behind.

"In Korea, competition is very harsh and deep," she said.

 

Meat processing.
Meat processing. Inga Williams

"I think the worst thing was my life and my work wasn't separate and so many people don't spend time with their family or friends."

Four months into her new job, she's discovered happiness in the factory work, which she must do to retain her working holiday visa.

"I used to have to wear make-up every day... but these days I don't have any make-up and here I only wear leggings and jumpers," she said.

Celebrating the freedom to wear leggings might seem strange in a society that grew up with thongs and board shorts, but Ms Won said shedding the pressure of society has had real consequences for her mental health.

Coming from a country with the highest rate of plastic surgery and suicide among OECD countries, Ms Won said stepping outside society has given her a new perspective.

In her spare time, Ms Won has connected with the Warwick community through conversation classes run by the Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network.

"It is so good, they are such good people and very kind and welcoming, even inviting me in their house and to clubs," she said.

Ms Won hopes to extend her working visa and spend another two years in Australia.



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