자업자득 – Korean 4 Character Idioms(사자성어) #7

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

Some said that my situation now is the result of my choices in the past. If we did something good, it comes back to us. If we chose something bad, some disasters will be back.

Today's expression, 자업자득, is the expression for this situation. Two 자s in this expression means self, 업 means work and 득 means get, so it means you get what you worked or you will reap what you saw.

The important thing about this expression is that it is only used in negative sense. It is never used for positive cases. Let's say some scoundrel plotted a fraud but it somewhat failed and backfired to him. Then, it is called 자업자득. However, you entered Harvard because you studied hard, it is not 자업자득.

Examples

한 중국업체는 미국의 유명한 회사를 따라하기로 유명했다. 그런데 요즘 그 중국회사를 따라하는 회사들이 엄청나게 늘어나 걱정하고 있다. 자업자득이다.
A Chinese corporation was famous for copying the works of a famous US company. Nowadays, the companies that copy that Chinese corporation are increasing and they are worrying about it. They deserve it.

그렇게 남을 괴롭히던 악당이 죽게 되니 자업자득이라는 생각이 들면서도 어딘가 불쌍하게 느껴졌다.
The villain that bullies others a lot is now dead, I thought she deserves it but I also felt that she is somewhat miserable.

그 회사가 망한 것에 대해 그 회사 사장은 정부의 탓이라고 이야기하지만, 사실은 자업자득이다. 무리하게 회사를 키우느라 너무 많은 돈을 빌렸고, 그 돈을 갚는 것이 불가능해졌기 때문에 결국 망한 것이다.
The boss of that company says that it is the government's fault that they collapsed. As a matter of fact, he deserves it. He wanted to expand his company over its limit and borrowed so much money. It became impossible for him to pay back that money, so it collapsed.