WANG GUANG MING: I don’t dream very often and I don’t remember many of my dreams. My dreams are usually short, fragmental and trivial. But I had a few dreams, which I remember quite clearly. I’m going to tell one of them, I think it means something but I’m not quite sure what it means.
    It was last year in winter, it was quite chilly and I was reading a book one night. It was one of my son’s books, a riddle book, I don’t remember what I had read, apart from the fact that it had to do with guessing a character, an object or a toy from reading a short poem. That’s all I remember. I didn’t think very hard about the riddle, otherwise I might not be able to sleep. Still, during the night I had this dream. I dreamt about a character and I made a riddle for it. It turned into a poem like the ones in the book, with four lines. I felt it was a very nice poem, very delicate, clear and precise. I also remember that the character was divided into different parts, and each part was described by one of the four sentences of the poem. It was very clear. Then suddenly I woke up a little, and I could still remember the character and the poem.
    Still half asleep, I wanted to write down the riddle, but I was too tired and I couldn’t really focus my mind on it. I fell asleep again. When I woke up in the morning, I had already forgotten everything. I did remember that the poem had four sentences, each one composed of five characters. It expressed a riddle just like the poems in the book, it pointed towards an answer. I thought that under normal conditions, I would never be able to compose a poem like that. The cadence, the format, those things would not be possible for me. But in my dream, everything was so clear. I had invented the poem myself in my dream, but in real life I would not be capable of such a thing.
    Other people always think I’m busy all the time but it seems that nothing comes out of it. I often feel the same way when I think about myself. It seems I haven’t really done anything important, something that other people would consider a great thing if I told them about it. But to tell the truth, my job is very stressful. I only have one day off per week. I go to work at 7 in the morning and come back at 7 in the evening, at the earliest. That’s 12 hours of work, half a day. And while I’m working, I really have no time to take a rest.
    I used to work for a state-owned company. I had a lot of colleagues and my typical workday was quite simple and boring. It wasn’t really possible to get any advanced experience in that job. I felt it was meaningless to work there and the salary wasn’t good, either. I worked for this company for more than 14 years before I finally chose to quit. After that, I went to another province, on the coast, where things were a little more advanced. I worked there for three years. I didn’t stay there because of the income, which wasn’t too good, either. The most important thing was that the whole atmosphere, the work environment, was totally different from where I had been working before. This new experience helped me expand my awareness and get a better idea of what I wanted to do, and of how to improve my life. That was the most valuable thing I learnt there. Then I decided that I wanted to work in a company where I could really develop and show my talents, a company that would give me a stage to dance on, so to speak. That’s why I went back to Chongqing, not because I wasn’t doing well in the other place.
    It happened like this. I was as a managing director at a company, and one day a person from Chongqing came along and saw me doing my job and he thought I was doing it quite well. This person has a company that is quite similar to the one I was working for. So he invited me to work for him. Actually, he had to invite me several times and it was not until a year later that I finally joined his company. I thought a lot about his offer and in the end I felt that I should accept the invitation and that he would give me the stage that I was looking for. So I went back to Chongqing to work for him.
    I’m mainly dealing with production and marketing. I already had gained some experience in my previous company, and my present boss gives me a lot of freedom, so I adapted very quickly. Also, the two companies are working in very similar areas.
    It’s been three years now since I came back to Chongqing. I feel a lot of pressure in my job because I’m in charge of too many things. That’s a general problem in Chinese medium-sized companies. The boss always hopes that his employees work has hard as he does, that they care as much as he does about the company, that’s what every boss wants. But I’m in charge of so many different things that I can’t possibly do everything myself, I need to delegate things to my staff and then it’s quite likely that things don’t get done as well as they ought to be, and that we don’t reach the results that we want to reach. So my boss might think that I’m not working hard enough, that I haven’t yet reached my maximum performance, and that means even more pressure for me. Professional managers like myself, we really want to do things well, but we only have one head and two arms. One way of dealing with this problem is to search for young talented people to help us. But private companies want to make as much profit as possible while spending as little as necessary. So they don’t want to hire more people. Quite often, we managers don’t have the resources to do all the things that we are responsible for. We would need many more people to do all that. That’s my biggest problem and the biggest pressure I feel.
    I’m just trying to do things as best as I can. If my boss isn’t satisfied with that, I can’t really do anything about it, because I’m already doing my best. I’ve got too many things to do. My boss might say: “I don’t care how many resources you have, I need a result and you haven’t given me any.” That’s pressure. Sometimes it can be motivating, but it’s not a good basis for development. If a company wants to grow, it shouldn’t leave all the power in the hands of one person. Some money has to be invested.
    Those pressures don’t usually show up in my dreams. If they did, that would mean that I had neurasthenia. I’m an optimistic person, I can relax in different ways, so I don’t take those things into my dreams. I sleep quite well, I’m a healthy person. I can’t get fat because I have a bad stomach.