When I was looking for an employment a few years ago, I was often surprised to hear what other job-seeking students said. Not a few companies tried to be inspirational: that is, they tried not only to explain to us (students) what it was like to work in their company, what they expected of employees and what kind of career the employees could go into but also to inspire us to consider our future selves. What kind of business person do you want to be? What is your plan? For example, where do you see yourself five years from now? They bombarded us with these questions and got us thinking. So I had a few chances to talk about them with other students. But they almost unfailingly told me that they wanted to be a leader or that they wanted to be influential. When I heard this, I was completely at a loss for words. It made no sense to me. Here is what I thought in those days: I want neither to lead nor to be led. I don't understand what is the use of being influential. Doing properly what I am supposed to do is in itself sufficient. Where do I see myself five years from now? I don't know. How should I know? There are too many factors that are beyond my control, so there is no knowing what I will be doing even next year. Be more humble.
So many students, so many companies. Fortunately, there was more than one strange company that said they would employ a twisted student like me. I joined one of them after graduation, only to quit the following year.
Looking back now on those days when I was looking for a job, this thought occurs to me: the meaning of life depends on the story I tell of my life. If so, I was seeking for a meaning of life back then, but at the same time, I could not reconcile myself with the kind of story I would be living if I was employed in a Japanese company. I want to know how many of them have become a leader, how many of them are influential. And I want to know how they tell their story, how they make their life after graduation meaningful.