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My language buddy asked me what I did for a living, and I told her I was a company employee. Then she asked which company and I didn't know how to answer.

For context, I work for a large hospital network, but I don't actually work AT the hospital. How do I express specifically that I work "for" the hospital but not "at" the hospital to avoid confusion? Does "병원을 위해서 일 하지만 병원에서 일 안 해요. 집에서 일 해요." sound natural? (And are these sentences correct in the first place?) Is there a better way to express this besides using 위해서?

Thanks!

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In Korean, there is no single phrase that works for every meaning of English "for". 위해서 is like "for the good/sake of", and doesn't really work in the sense of "work for a company". "working for company XX" is typically expressed as "XX에 다녀요" or "XX 직원/사원이에요" (사원 if it's a corporation, 직원 more generally).

  • X-에 다녀요 is literally "go/commute to X", but also means working at X or going to school there.
  • 직원 = worker / employee.
  • 사원 = company employee (사 is from 회사, a comapny/corporation).

So your first sentence is correct but not very natural. We might say:

병원 직원인데 (병원으로 출근하지 않고) 집에서 일해요 = I'm a hospital employee but (rather than reporting to work at the hospital) I work at home.
병원에 다니는데 일은 집에서 해요 = I work for a hospital but do the work from home.

Another example:

우체국 직원인데 배달은 하지 않고 사무실에서 근무해요 = I'm a post office worker but only work in the office rather than doing delivery.

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  • Thanks so much for this response! This was something I often had to clarify when talking to people even in English, especially pre-pandemic. I would always have to specify "I work for X hospital, but I don't actually work at a hospital. I work in an office building" because otherwise people assumed I worked with patients if I just left it at "I work for X hospital". Googling how to make this distinction in Korean was a lost cause so thanks again! Also, is there a reason ㄴ/는 데is used vs (하)지만? Does (하)지만 imply too strong of a contrast between the first and second clause?
    – Vera
    Dec 30, 2021 at 20:02
  • You're welcome, and yes, your thought about -ㄴ/는데 and -지만 is correct. 는데 can express a weak contrast and sometimes a parallel fact with subtle irony, whereas 지만 makes a strong contrast. I would prefer 는데 in these examples but 지만 can also work.
    – Tony
    Dec 30, 2021 at 22:23

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