Why I am so obsessed by the Salaryman and his world? In many ways it’s because I believe the Salaryman stands for much about what I hate in our so called “highly developed and advanced economic society”.
Do what you are told. Follow the rules. Don’t stand out. Be obedient. Care deeply about social status. Joining elite institutions makes you better than others. Feel tremendous pressure to micromanage others’ image of you. Perception is more important than reality.
Just so there is no misunderstanding; I don’t hate the people who are salaryman (well, not most of them anyway). In fact, one of the reasons why I hate the salaryman paradigm so much is because of what it does to good people and their lives.
So why is the destruction of the Japanese salaryman being fortold by prophetic bloggers like me? And why is this such a predestined event? Even if the cosmic importance of such an event may not be readily apparent to you, allow me to make the utmost effort to convince you that rest assured it is.
If you live in a country considered “an economically developed western country” like the United States, Canada, United Kingdom or Australia and are younger than 60 years old you probably do not believe you or anyone else will graduate high school or college, join one company and work there continuously until you retire at age 60 with a defined benefit pension. Maybe the baby boomers or earlier generations in your country have experienced such a social structure, but this is no longer expected.
However, one of the funny things about Japanese society is that the collapse of this “lifetime employment” structure is only beginning to occur very recently. And what is scarier, many Japanese are refusing to believe this era is over. Moreover, almost all family upbringing, public educational and corporate training have not changed and are still operating on the assumption that the salaryman lifestyle important will be around forever.
That is why this is such an important event; more and more people are about to experience a shocking betrayal of the social contract they have been raised with. There will be incredible fallout, and I have a morbid fascination with what the outcome will be.