Message from the President Apr.2008

a monthly magazine for our employee Apr.2008

Today’s You and the You 10 Years from Now

It’s time again to welcome young recruits, who’re taking their first steps as full-fledged members of society, into the Meitec Group. This year, a total of some 541 members joined the Group: 282 at Meitec, 124 at Meitec Fielders and 135 bridge engineers from China who joined Meitec Global Solutions last year.

The Meitec Group as a whole added a combined total of approximately 1,000 employees during 2007. That’s the largest annual personnel increase in the Group’s history. Thanks to cooperation from all the employees of the Group companies, we’re at last beginning to create the foundation for an “organic growth model,” a model for spontaneous growth without utilizing outside help. It’s my fervent hope that the new recruits will establish a foundation as professional engineer in the Meitec Group as quickly as possible.

Ten years from now, I wonder what kind of era we’ll be living in. Will Japan have succeeded in remaining among the economically advanced countries of the world? What will the operating environment be for leading manufacturers--our clients? How far will globalization have advanced? What transformation will the Internet society have undergone? How will the aging population and declining birthrate have affected society? None of these questions can be answered with any degree of certainty. But one thing is certain: we’ll be living in an age and society beyond our imagination. Not only is the speed of digitalization and information-sharing accelerating, but concrete things such as people and goods are moving more globally and at an increasing rate. As clearly shown by the U.S. subprime loan problem, an event that takes place in one nation can have a ripple effect throughout the world, and events that happen in the affected countries can in turn have global consequences. In other words, factors that drive changes in the world are not only increasing in number but also becoming more complex, and thus the world’s experiencing change at an ever-accelerating pace. This, I think, makes it increasingly difficult to predict the future, and “unthinkable events” can occur at any moment. It’s an undeniable fact that the future is not predestined but is uncertain. What’s more, the degree of the uncertainty is growing.

This means it’s becoming increasingly difficult for both businesses and people to predict how their environment will change. For that reason, you’ll find it increasingly difficult to visualize yourself 10 years from now. For example, the type of profession you wish to be doing 10 years from now may have disappeared. You may want to get involved in developing an LCD television, for instance, but such a television itself may not exist in 10 years. So what should you do? I can point out at least two courses. One is to find your career path and acquire professional expertise in that field. The other is to decide and act so that 10 years from now you won’t regret the you of today.

For the first course of action, “becoming a professional” is very important. Professional standing is valid universally, regardless of the type of job and occupation. That’s to say, it’s a necessity for achieving success no matter which era we live in or which occupation we have. A professional engineer in particular can perform well in different fields--a fact attested to by many Meitec engineers. The latter course entails gauging your lifestyle using time as a scale. Because we humans have many weaknesses, we tend to examine or judge matters from the standpoint of our present situation. For instance, average annual holidays of employees of listed companies in Japan exceed 120 days--or roughly one out of every three days. Employees have the option of either spending all the free time pursuing their own pleasure, or alternatively they can invest in their future (receiving training, working on self-development, building a circle of friends, and so on). Everyone unconsciously makes a choice. My suggestion of “gauging your lifestyle using time as a scale” means that before you make your choice now, consider whether or not you’d regret, 10 years from now, the decision you’ve made today.

It’s extremely difficult to predict developments 10 years from now, but it shouldn’t be hard to imagine whether or not you’d regret the you of today 10 years from now. I think engineering is one of the professions most needed by society in any age. Each year, I hope that our new employees quickly come to share this point of view.

April, 2008