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  • Writer's pictureSimone Dale

Work soup

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Any big, difficult change in life, turns your lovely well-ordered life into something akin to zero gravity – all your life’s parts seem to be floating around in space and you’re battling to hold on for dear life. It can be terrifying and exhausting and cause all sorts of nastiness like anger, depression, anxiety or an obsession with eggplant emoticons. I’m pretty sure the worlds Urbanol supplies are going to run out soon, and (God forbid), the world's wine.

I’ve been in a few “life soup’s” as Martha Beck calls these times, thanks to my almost 40 years on this planet, and I’ve learned to feel more comfortable with floating parts, although that doesn’t stop me trying to jump up and put them back where they belong – dammit! – from time to time. In my life soup right now, one of the floating parts I am loving watching is the “what work looks like” part.

Above my head and floating outside the window are the words like ‘travel’, ‘flying’, ‘Zoom’, ‘rest’ ‘labour’, ‘compassion’, ‘deliverables’, ‘teams’, ‘hierarchy’, ‘love’ and ‘production’. And of course, ‘leadership’. I am a big believer in allowing the parts to float about until they are ready to land, so the comments that follow are not definitive, they are just today’s landings. They may or may not survive post-COVID. I’d love to know what you think:

1. I think we need to do less and think more. I believe we have become obsessed with doing shit. Sometimes I get to the end of something and realise that if I had just spent a little longer thinking about what needed to get done before I started, I could have saved myself half the work. Now more than ever, I believe we all need to make (and take) time to think. Diarize it. What it requires though is courage. Because thinking doesn’t look like much on the outside. In fact, it can look quite like laziness, like doing nothing. It requires letting go of our preconceived ideas of what ‘work’ looks like and being willing to take time from today’s productivity to inform a better tomorrow.

2. We need to kick urgency to the curb – until its really needed. Have you ever noticed yourself carrying a sense of urgency to complete something, to send something off, to produce? Then you take a breath and start all over again with the next task. Every task a kind of holding of breath to get to the finish line. It's exhausting. And most of it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things anyway. Hard to believe in the moment, but if COVID has taught us nothing, it’s that there is bigger shit going on out there, let's save the emergency response for when it matters.

3. Giving love a place in work. Pre-COVID I was travelling to the office and just near my house saw a petrol attendant from my local garage hitching. I knew his face well and offered him a ride. We started chatting and like I often do, I asked if he got treated well at work (I use this as a measure of places I am happy to give my money to} and if he enjoyed his job. He said, “yes, yes we are treated very well”. And then he said of his work “It is good, I am always learning, and work is about love, this is what my work is”. I think if we all realised that our titles are secondary to love, we’d live in a different world.

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