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  • Svenja Carolin

Stop acting normal.




Stop acting normal, stop behaving as the outside world dictates it. You will only be happy, fulfilled, satisfied, and successful if you feel it inside. You will never find it in the outside world: not in your job, your relationships, nor in your possessions. Be you, be unique, be bold, be human – if you behave like a dumb machine, you will be digitized or automated. More than ever, we need the human unique qualities in this technological age, such as creativity, imagination, intuition, compassion and consciousness.


Since 6 years, I work as a HR consultant advising organizations on their people strategy, people transformation programs and way of working. I have seen a lot. I have seen what works and especially what doesn’t work. We need to make true change happen in the way we understand work today. We – especially HR professionals and leaders – have to stop sugarcoating it and speak up.  I’m done with talking without saying something. This is my truth. This is what I think about the way we work:


Work and Life balance is the biggest nonsense HR invented.


At the organization I work for, we call it work life choice, which I find even worse. Think about it for a moment. It’s an absurd concept, isn’t it? Seriously, do you not have a life when you are at work? Do you leave your life outside the (office) building as if you park the car in the garage? No, you have one life, one body, one mind, one spirit! We are not numbed puppets on a string during the working hours, we have the right to be fully alive.


True diversity and inclusion starts with diverse behavior.


It’s nice if a company can check the boxes for employing people with a broad range of different ethnic and religious background, or have the women in the leading positions. Congratulations! But why is nobody talking about behavior? True diversity is in the end shown in behavior. We can all have different skin colors and belong to different genders, but if we behave all in the same conditioned ‘act normal’ manner, there is no diversity.


Your job is not that important.


This isn’t meant for people working within the field of caring for humans in whatever way. I mainly refer to more bureaucratic partly highly privileged so called bullshit jobs. Your work is not that important! Not you nor another human is going to die, if a mail is sent out 5 minutes to late or if there is a typo in a powerpoint slide. In most cases, there is absolutely no reason to stress out at work. Do you still feel that your stress level is sky-high during most of the day with your fight or flight response on high alert? This will make you sick over the long run. Our ancestors only experienced it in the moment they faced a tiger and today we do it for eight hours or more when we face the screen. Start to act and reflect, instead of just react to the outside world.




Stop wasting your time.


How often do you think that a task is pointless and does not any value? But you think, well, it was always done this way, so let’s just do it. Stop doing it! Or find another solution how it can be done. I assure you that not many people will complain about it! Stop sugarcoating no value adding tasks with meaning. Same applies for what you say. How often have you been in meetings in which everyone talks but there is no purpose behind it, only nonsense buzzword bullshit bingo. Exclude yourself from meetings your presence is not required. Be open if you don’t see a point in a discussion. Stop with saying something only for the sake of saying something.


Only you can change something.


This is my most important thought I want to share. And the most difficult one: Only you can change something. Complaining and blaming others does not bring you any further. Stop waiting for something to happen or chasing ‘only if – then’: Only if I get a promotion, only if I a new job, only if I have finished the project, then I will change something. No. Change starts now. It starts from within, it starts with reflection, and it starts with understanding your patterns and your conditionings. Stop and take a moment, close your eyes and let the outside world continue to turn. Breathe. Feel your body. Be in the now. Only a second, right now. Ask yourself: Why do you do what you do? Be honest with you: How do you feel and how do you want to feel?


I can tell you, creating more purposeful work doesn’t happen overnight. I struggle everyday with the way I’m conditioned to behave and the way I want to behave based on my own beliefs. It’s an ongoing process and the little decisions you take every day, every moment, are making the difference. Start with small steps. Do things, which make you happy at work. Maybe it starts with wearing your favorite outfit at work, which is not business like, but so what, just do it.


I want to change the way we understand work and change the way we work. It starts with you. It starts from within. Do what’s right and not what’s easy. Reconnect being and working.

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