Archive for the ‘Serious stuff’ Category

I hate that feeling when I know that I am doing something right but it still makes me a little uncomfortable on some level. Part of me wishing that I did not know about anything and could just ignore it. I guess the term is being “blissfully ignorant”. And blissfully stupid. Treading outside the usual comfort zone.

It occupies my mind a lot lately. I know there is always the option to just walk away and ignore but I am not that kind of person. Walking away from something, which I know to be a good thing to stand up for, just because it is outside my every day comfort zone… well that would be much worse to live with. I could not face myself in the mirror, knowing I walked away because I was too chicken-shit to rock the boat.

Taking a stand against or for something is not as easy as it sounds it seems. I mean, look around; every day we are encouraged to just go blindly ahead with our ordinary lives, in an ordinary way, not causing any trouble, not upsetting the order of things. – Who decided the order though?

Go to work and invest your life, give 110% in work because that will make you successful and then you will get somewhere. – But go where and how will that fulfil your life? Working until you are burned out and then what? Will any corporation actually give a toss or just as easily replace you?

Watch TV, preferably a mind-numbing TV reality shows where you can say “well at least my life is not that pathetic”. Watch the news, see how others live and how they mess up so that you can feel good about yourself. – But it is becoming more and more clear that even the news these days are angled for some agenda and no longer unbiased.

With our minds numbed from work, exhausting us to earn money for someone else, to one way TV fed information, telling us that you should focus on consumerism and a superfluous living, why should we care about anything else?

To me it seems that independent thought and a willingness to stand up for others is something that is frowned upon today. Don’t rock the boat.

We have become complacent in our lives. Nothing fazes us any more because we will not acknowledge anything that is uncomfortable to know or hear about. If we do not acknowledge it then we do not need to look into it, we do not need to make a stand for or against. We do not need to care. It has become too easy to not care.

All through-out history people fought for freedom, rights and the very lives that we are privileged to live now.

Does that mean that we can just sit back now? That we are done and we can leave others to whatever end?

There will always be evil in the world. There will always be injustice. There will always be a need for someone to say “stop” and help. If that someone is joined by another and then by another then we can all act together and make a better world. It may sound very altruistic but really, if no-one tries then how will anything change for the better?

“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” – Dalai Lama.

But no, it is not easy to rock the boat. On the other hand knowing I can help rock the boat and make a positive difference, however small, also means that turning my back on it would be even worse.

Complacency is the worst evil in this world. Look around you and be that someone who reaches out and says “stop”.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. “ – Edward E Hale

Fear is truly a terrible thing. It can rule your life with an iron fist. Tyrants of all kinds have always used fear to get their way. Making you look over your shoulder both physically as well as mentally. Fear will stop you from living freely and it will always be in the back of your mind.

It will however never be as crippling as the fear of fear itself. This fear has no reason, no direction and no named enemy. It is illusive. It will stop you from even looking over your shoulder. It will stop you from living as opposed to just existing and it will rule your mind harder than any tyrant ever could.

The fear of being afraid to find out what others really think of you. The fear of doing something that could potentially scare you. It is the fear of being afraid to fail before you even tried. It is the fear that plays on your every insecurity. Every crippling thought that has ever stopped you. Made your stomach twist with worry without knowing why. Made you cry with despair for no reason.

This is what will stop you from walking before you’ve even taken the first step. Long before you take the plunge.

They say: Those who dare, win.
I say: Start walking and you have already won.

Balancing Act

Image by Digitalnative via Flickr

One of the buzz words heard a lot around offices these days is “work-life balance”. In many ways it is more important today than ever before. The economic situation of today means that people have to put in more hours, work harder, for less pay then before it all went downhill. The pressure is on. The days when you just changed jobs whenever your current position felt boring or when you wanted a significant salary increase are no longer there for most. Today, if you have a decent job, you stick with it. You deal with the pressure and pray that you still have a job in the foreseeable future. People worry about paying their bills, their mortgage/rent and they worry about the future for their families.

New problems arise. People feel pushed. There is always more to do, more hours to put in, tighter deadlines to adhere to. Burn-out becomes a reality.

A burned-out employee is not something anyone wants. It is costly, cause’s performance issues and any decent employer realises that the health implications which this brings should be avoided for everyone’s sake.

Hence the buzz around work-life balance.

What is important to remember is that WLB is not just something that can be thrown out there as a concept. It requires action. Both from the employer as well as the employee. The employer must enable a work-life balance by realizing that changes must happen internally. Listening to the employees is important. Let them vent all these things that are frustrating them. Let them do so in an environment where they can feel safe to do so without fear of any retribution. Then ensure that all together can look into what actions realistically can be taken. What is possible to change and how to do so.

Employees also carry part of the responsibility towards their own WLB. Just moaning about things helps no-one. You need to actively engage with peers and management to see what challengers are there, what can be done differently and what can be solved. Sometimes the ball has to be dropped. Sometimes you have to realize that you cannot be everywhere or do everything. If you do not set the right expectations and actually say “NO” then nothing will change. No-one will force you off that laptop. No-one will magically source additional people to help you. BUT you have to be able to rely on that your points are taken seriously by your management team. That the concerns are understood and that there is a real desire to address change.

If this does not happen from both sides then WLB will just continue to be a buzz word with no real change happening at all. It will just turn into a joke.

For me this is an on-going issue. I am still trying to find a balance. Sometimes WLB is hard. It can be really hard to achieve. One step at a time… and hopefullyI will be able to catch my breath sooner rather than later.

I just need to share this with you… a subject that is sad, upsetting, scary and terrible. I am talking about sexual assaults and how it is often ignored, swept under the carpet and ridiculed.

There are so many women (and men) out there that have been raped, assaulted and traumatized. Only a small group of them have talked to the authorities about this and of that group…only a fraction got some kind of justice. It is outrageous.

Below I am sharing another post of a fellow blogger (highly recommended blog) where you can find several links to other (much more eloquent than mine) post with links to some seriously scary statistics, facts and heartbreaking stories.

This is not something we can shut our eyes or ears to. This is not something we can ignore just because it is the holidays season or because it is uncomfortable. It is amongst us, amongst our friends and we must always stand up against it.