Something in the universe of what we do for a living seems to be out of joint: the place that work occupies within us seems to ask for new perspectives.
The space that work takes in our lives and the idea of why we work is being tested. The increase in resignation that we see around the globe is also happening in Brazil, a country that currently has the 6th highest unemployment rate in 42 countries ranking. It’s not just where we work that has changed during the times of social isolation – the place that work takes in our life sounds different now.
If transforming the way how we work is a challenge everywhere, Organisational Culture specialists need to join efforts. I recently had a very pleasant chat with Vincent Aboynas-Billiet of the B-harmonist group, created by Patrick Vignaud. Vincent says: “Le travail n’a pas à être ça, ever.” Work doesn’t have to be like that, ever. And he explains: “When you get up with a knot in your stomach because of work, when your weekends follow the rhythm “Friday I am exhausted, Saturday everything is fine and Sunday I worry about Monday”, something needs to be taken care of”.
It seems that our perspective about the meaning of working life was addicted and connected to inertia that comes from a place that no longer fits in the present moment. For a long time, we connected work with pain and felt obligated to do pointless things, exchanging life hours for salary. This lack of fulfillment is now more visible, and the Future of Work has been accelerated just because we are connecting our very personal world with the professional due to the need to work from home from one day to another. We can now see how we feel about work from our personal perspective and compare our two personas: the professional and the personal. Now, is absolutely clear that we need to dedicate our energy and time to meaningful things. It’s also clear that we generate more real value by doing that.
Producing value through doing is something inherent to human beings. On a recent family trip, I visited the Rotterdam Maritime Museum with my nephews. Because they were born submerged in different cultures, they could only exchange a few words in Portuguese. At the end of the visit, we arrived at an area where the children would simulate what it would be like to work in the city’s harbor, which could be seen from the window.
Available were mini forklifts, objects simulating containers and loads, conveyors, scales, and all the paraphernalia of the heavy-duty that it must be to work in a port. There was no rule on any wall about who should be the leader, what the reward would be, roles or schedules. Still, the children found themselves in the doing, communicated through the body, and intuited what the other child needed to help them reach their goal – even though there was no defined goal. Adults just watched on benches arranged from afar.
There was no Employee Value Proposition or a board with the mission and values of the mini port, but the energy level there was incredible.
Sweaty children, helping each other, smiling, running to do quickly, with maximum efficiency the task they had created for themselves, in natural and genuine movements, working with joy. The children made themselves whole in what they were doing, and the exercise of doing was just a pretext to be together in action – work was in the background.
Many of us have had the opportunity to work in workgroups where we felt highly energized. We know how good it is to fully bring yourself to the place of doing while having a clear line that separates what we are from what we do. Many (even more, perhaps), have been working in environments and groups where we felt pointless, weird, and out of place. We know how painful this can be.
Talking about love and purpose at work shouldn’t be guru talk. Living our purpose is an existential right and we should assume that every being that is born has the right to live their purpose and make their uniqueness and talent available to themselves and others, with joy and lightness.
We know. It’s time to stop pointing out what should be wrong in the world and start building. We have the power of choice in our actions daily, and we are ready to assume our responsibility to create different realities – which involves the way we relate to our professional journeys.
Not only what we produce by working, but how we work and how we feel at work, creates an impact on each other’s lives. This affects our health, our body chemical, how we feel (also outside of work), and also affects those we love. Being able to produce with real presence, through true connections can be the foundation of our life in society and not a luxury for a few, and I believe that the transformation of the way we work is the first step towards reaching a happy encounter between being and doing.
Because that’s what work should be.
FYI: This article was translated but wasn’t reviewed by a native English speaker. Please excuse any typos.