I usually look down on brown-nosers and it irritates me to no end when my students try it, but it really does pay off.
We brought back a few souvenirs from North Korea for some people in the office. We gave a bottle of blueberry brandy to one of our Korean helper teachers. She acts like our mom and dotes upon us at every opportunity. We like it.
We also got a nice poster of the Kumgangsan Mountain region and then had it framed for our boss, Mrs. Lee. She was very impressed and began to regale us - through an interpreter - about her visit to North Korea when tourists were first allowed (1998). She told us that she will be going back next month to plant trees with some women's group.
The poster was a mere 10,000W ($10US) and the framing was 35,000W. It was worth the investment. First she bought us dinner...Actually she handed us 100,000W and said dinner and beer is on me. Then she proceeded to offer the use of her condo on Jeju-Do island. We had originally nixed the idea of going to Jeju-Do but now that we have a condo, a weekend jaunt is much more feasible.
Brown nosing really paid off big this time. I might have to make it a habit.