“At one time or another, everyone is faced with the question whether to drive themselves or to be driven.” (Nicolas Born: Selbstverantwortung (Self-Responsibility))
Once again, a contribution of mine revolves around the topic of learning. This time: lifelong learning. “Old hat” that could not be more topical. As early as 1792, Marquis de Condorcet pleaded for an “éducation permanente” in his project for the reformation of the education system. UNESCO resurrected this idea of lifelong learning in 1962 and since the 1990s it has been increasingly and emphatically imposed on our consciousness by the OECD, the European Commission, also our government and national institutions. And fittingly, Ursula von der Leyen recently proclaimed the coming year the “Year of Skills”.
After I had recently done a one-minute (!) focussing exercise at the beginning of a retrospective, one participant remarked that he could never get used to these “esoteric” exercises. We then had a minor altercation about silence and how difficult many people find it to endure silence. Loving silence has nothing to do with the esoteric.
In my role as a facilitator, I have become a friend of silence. And my route there was not easy. I like to talk and passionately, when I do. I am sometimes impulsive and too quick for others. Through experience I have learned to keep quiet and to listen very carefully, especially when someone else is speaking. If you were to ask some of my colleagues how much progress I have made, they will probably say she is still practising. That’s how I see it too, it’s an ongoing exercise to become quiet and stay quiet. I am happy about every step I take towards stillness away from the deluge of noise.
So much well-founded criticism of our education system has been levelled in various places and by various well- and lesser-known persons that we can confidently take this societal self-diagnosis seriously, despite all caution about fake news. And yet it seems to me that only a minority does, although nothing less than our future is at stake. Nothing new, you may say. Learning is something that simply goes without saying after all. Of course learning is part of life. Of course we learn throughout our lives. Of course the education system should make our children fit for life. Learning is in our nature after all, isn’t it?
In the current climate (sic) of doom and gloom I have been struck by the special nature of our predicament. I am among the first to groan inwardly if I hear that clichée “The Chinese word for problem is the same as for challenge.” Actually, my research revealed that the Chinese word 问题 “wenti” is usually translated as problem or question. But then I always assumed it was another of those urban myths, like the Inuit having 357 different words for snow. But I digress…
In our series on professions, I’ll not only be looking at the past, but also at the future – there are plenty of tips and information to take to heart. I’ll share a few of them here, and at the end I’ll reveal the ultimate piece of advice that could change all of our professional lives for good.
A few days ago, I received an email from LinkedIn inviting me to participate in a survey. The title of the mail said: Beate, what do you find valuable about your work? – “Good question!” – I thought to myself. I hadn’t thought about that for a long time. Yet this is certainly one of the central questions when it comes to what activities and in what functions someone feels “in the right place” – and in which they do not.
This is another contribution by our guest author Christoph Henties, who is no stranger to loyal readers of the harlekin.blog. Thank you, Christoph!
Planning the next step
The End is My Beginning is the title of the autobiographical Spiegel bestseller by Tiziano Terzani. The book is a hymn to the possibility of being what you want to be. The journalist and writer begins a wonderful conversation about the venture of freedom, about courage, love, sickness and grief, about transience, moments of beauty and how you can learn to let go.
A fresh start at work is not easy. Replacing well-known structures and organisations with familiar people with something new and developing curiosity for the unfamiliar is a challenge. Anyone who has changed jobs more often will find it easier.
Do you still remember the “Vocational Helpsheet”? These brown and white booklets from the Federal Job Centre were THE source of information on “what I want to be when I grow up” – at least at the time when I was tackling this question. A profession was presented in detail in each booklet and the fact that ultimately there were “only” about 700 titles to choose from makes it clear how challenging the choice was.
During the integration phase in the first months after a company takeover, the new employees can expect to experience all levels of emotion, from absolute nightmare to permanent elation. Much depends, of course, on how satisfied you were with the “old” company. If you have been complaining about decision-making inertia or even inability there for years, you may be pleased with the dynamism you encounter in the new company.
About company takeovers – and those taken over (Part 1)
According to Manager Magazin, more than 2000 German companies were acquired in 2021 – despite Corona.(1) This not only involves huge financial transactions, but also employees who suddenly have a new employer on “D-Day”. And – in contrast to changing companies by applying for a job – they did not choose it themselves.
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