Do we lose sight of what really counts?

Recently I have the feeling as if nothing seems to be important anymore except of “standing out of the crowd” or “being exceptional” or also “being utterly successful”.

Is this really all that matters? Why are we live through our jobs instead of bringing our personality into work? Counted as numbers and cherished only when achievements are visible.

Corporate life is seriously making me tired and let me wonder what I can change to be more mindful and more human in what I’m doing.

My recent job is project manager in a quite big research company, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if I’m a manager or a worker, I need to fulfill my job obligations like everyone else. The only difference is that I wonder if I’m in a position to change things profoundly, because this is what it would need to make me happy with what I’m doing.

I work with a team, several teams on different projects, and I’m supposed to manage the project which also means to manage the team. It’s getting harder to do this recently because we are put under pressure from so many different angles that I already struggle and I’m in this position quite a while and know how to distinguish between important and not important. The trend is to focus on the not important because a few upper management people sat together and thought they need more oversight and so they set goals for them internally and to meet these metrics we need to report.

Of course there is a need of oversight and I fully understand this need, but what I don’t understand is how the priority setting can drift so far away from our job?

If I should give you an example – you are working with animals and the utmost importance lays on the health of these animals then what would you rather do? Go to the office and calculate how much you paid for food for the past 6 months in order to be prepared to justify in case someone would ask you in a couple of months OR take care of the current situation where an animal is sick and urgently needs a vet to check on its health?

You see what I’m talking about?

We run reports, we fill in excel sheets, we sit in conference calls almost 60% of our time, we ensure that all metrics look awesome but at the end of the day we forgot what we are actually working on.

The worst time eaters are meetings, and again, of course there are meetings that make a change but be honest, in most meeting we have throughout a week we aren’t productive. We talk about work that has been completed (which obviously could be shared in an email), we talk about where we are on this day (which is OK in meeting one of a week) and we talk about what we need to do to reach goals. But instead of staring to work on these goals we jump right into the next meeting, and the next, and the next, and then it’s 2 pm and we completely forgot to have lunch but cannot go anyway because we have to use the one-hour time-slot before the next meeting to actually work.

I have many colleagues with families and children, and also those without, one thing is equal for all of us at the end of the day when we are exhausted in our own home falling asleep early because we know what awaits us the next day at work: We start to wonder if we work for a living or live to work.

The answer is clear for me. I work for a living, this is not a question at all, but I also realize more and more that I want to see a change – be it a major shift of my personal work life or be it a major shift of valuing employees in the company I’m working for.

We all know these workaholics and we will never change their perception, that’s fine, but we need a change for the rest. I want to be able to focus on priorities and I want these priorities to be the humans, the clients who pay in the end and the purpose of each project I’m working on. I don’t want internal administration to take all this away from me for the sake of having vice presidents eating salmon tartes at a meeting somewhere to praise themselves.

I want colleagues who love their job and not colleagues who struggle to get their work done because its simply too much.

I want also healthy people around me and not people who drag themselves sick into offices because they are scared to lose their job.

I want to have working hours flexible but respected, I don’t want to receive meeting invites for 8 pm my time just because others are too ignorant to realize that they are in a different time zone.

I want managers who care about their people and wish them a well-deserved weekend instead of asking them on a Friday noon for some extra work.

Do I want far too much? I don’t think so because it’s known that happy people are more productive than unhappy people. So hey, companies out there, what are you waiting for?

It’s not really too complicate to make employees happy.

Provide them with a proper workplace

Ensure they have coffee, tea and water supply

Offer them a time to have lunch

Allow them to take their work home when needed

Be as flexible as you expect it from your employee

Ensure they can handle the amount of work within their scheduled work time

Show them that you support families

Give them a bonus work good work

This list could go on but I hope you realize what I mean – I did not even add the high salary because not everything is about money. Of course we want to be paid properly for our work (and it would be nice if women finally can be paid equally rather sooner than later) but what we want is a work place that appreciates US and is not treating us like a number in the system. We can only be good at work if we feel good, if we are healthy, if we are supported when needed.

I see people quitting to go into lower paid jobs to stay mentally sane – honestly, this is where we need a shift! It can’t be that companies lose good people because they don’t care about their people.

I’m furious if I hear these stories and then I realize that one day I may be the one who quits because I cannot handle the amount of stress anymore. Recently a 6 months vacation sounds like paradise for me and I bet I wouldn’t miss a day at work. That’s sad because it’s well known that people who love their job are doing them better than people who don’t.

Change to more humanity, change and make all of us happy because I promise you will see results after a short time – not because we run like hamsters in a wheel but because the more focused we work the better the results will be – EVERYWHERE!

LoVe from misssfaith

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One month is gone

One month is gone already – it’s February!

We are getting closer to the renewal time of spring. How lovely is alone this thought.

Are you also tired of winter?

In general I like winter, if it would be the winter we all dream of. Snowy landscapes, cosy homes, steaming tea cups, children building a snowman…

The problem is that my winter doesn’t look like that. Whenever we would have time for these real snow days there is no more snow but grey mud or even worse just rain.

The first time my son was on his new slide was the last so far because since then there either was no snow or in the snow regions it was so much that they called out the emergency status. That means we have a new slide, a new snow suit, even wonderful warm boots but no snow.

The same goes for the snowman. As wonderful as a winter could be, this winter wasn’t showing up like we wished (at least not in Munich).

Others may say now that this isn’t entirely true, and they are right. The winter for us wasn’t like we wished for. We work from Monday to Friday and only the weekend is the time where we could fully enjoy the winter-wonderland. If we would have had time throughout the week our feeling towards this winter would be different.

As always in life it’s the personal perception.

I’m not complaining, we are fine, we won’t break into tears because of these missed snowportunities 🙂

The interesting part is indeed how different we all see things.

My husband is Libyan, for him everything under 0°C is too cold to go outside unless you have to. For me, I like the warm days more but it’s OK if it’s cold. I learned there is no wrong weather, there are only wrong clothes, that’s the way to handle the weather in Germany. And our son? With almost three years he is simply exploring the world. If it’s cold or warm, dry or wet, lighted up or dark, he will always find something on every single day that is interesting.

January

We started into this year with a month full of snow, rain, grey days and a bit of winter sun. The first half of January was a re-adjusting at work for me. Even if the break between Christmas and the new year is just a couple of days it seems as everyone is starting new and not too stressed into another year. The second half took the speed up again and currently I ask myself how to survive a full year with this level of stress.

What comes next?

The simple answer would be February.

I know that my work life will change a bit in the next months as projects are closed and new are starting. I hope there will be more time again to focus on my development, professional as well as private.

As days start to be longer again we will wait patiently for the spring to spend more and more time outside. The lack of sunshine is draining the last depots. Even better to have the possibility to plan a short vacation before the long summer vacation this year.

Travelling with a toddler is not pure relaxation but indeed a wonderful experience. We plan another flight with him in March and look already forward to new discoveries.

Apart from that I guess the only plan is to enjoy more and worry less.

People tend to be stressed 24/7

Going back to what really counts in life is one of the keys to happiness. Our jobs are eating lots of time and if we don’t work we worry about work. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Once you are out of the office you should start to enjoy your private leisure time. Somehow many forgot how it works.

We don’t live to work until we die. The purpose in life should be greater and bigger than heading to work and be a good employee, employer, boss, manager, consultant, sales assistant, truck driver, whatever you work. Where are the happy men and women, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, cousins, artists, dancers, hippies, all these who don’t have places in their work?

At work I am a manager but the rest of my life I am a woman, a mom, a wife, a yogi, a painter, a cook, an artist, a writer, a blogger, a psychologist, a healer and so much more. I need this work-free time to be happy in everything else that I’m here for and being stressed because of my job should not have a place there. Not I, neither my husband nor my son deserve to be surrounded by a stressed person.

We need to let go

It’s hard to let go and just be. I know because I’m not good at it but I try. I will never stop trying to let go as it is one important part for my own sanity.

One month is already gone. Eleven more will follow until we reach 2020 and what do we want to remember? The sleepless nights of worry, the break-downs of being over-worked, the mistakes we made?

No, we want to remember the lessons learned, the laughter, the love that surrounded us. We want to remember the good time which was more than the bad time. To reach this we have to let go and that means to shift our focus. At work my focus is on my work but as soon as I shut down my laptop and turn off my phone the focus is on me and my family – that’s where it belongs to.

I wish you all a shift of your own personal focus. Let go of what isn’t needed at all and minimize the stress as best as you can.

Months are passing by so fast – we need to cherish the time we have!

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Why being an egoist isn’t always bad

Nobody will tell you to take care of yourself!
Your life – your responsibility

Why being an egoist isn’t always bad

We are growing up learning to take care of one another and to share, which in general is great, but what nobody is telling us along the way is that we will face times where nobody will take care of you.

We should not act egoistic, being an egoist is bad – we are bad if we are an egoist. While I partly agree, because I’d love to see non-egoists everywhere, I partly disagree quite strong.

To put myself behind is something which is valuable in many ways, if I stand up for elder persons and offer them my seat for instance. I can start and collect many examples why it’s good to think about others. The main problem is that it will not work out 100% because nobody is perfect and social and caring like I would like them to be.

To be a caring person is wonderful as long as it’s not affecting my own sanity and here the egoist has to step in.

Only if I take care about myself, if I give myself enough time to rest, to recover, to grow, to meditate, to move, to think, to whatever makes you feel good – only then I have the strength to be there when others need me. Center yourself exactly where you are!

We are often truly exchangeable – which is not nice but sadly the reality.

If I just think about work-life, be it my own or everyone else’s, every single one of us can be exchanged within the blink of an eye. The world isn’t stopping just because I’m not there anymore. Even if many think that they are very important especially in their professional life, I can assure you, YOU ARE NOT!

A waitress is kicked out and the next is starting right away, of course that can work, you think if you are the vice president of a large traditional family business and nobody can replace you? From whom did you take over? There will always be someone coming after and that’s life, nothing is permanent.

Knowing this and knowing that I can only be the best version of myself if I take care of myself taught me to step back if I need to. I worked through many “just a small” colds instead of going on sick leave and recover properly before being back at work. NOBODY will say thanks for that and that’s good because only then you learn what’s important.

No work is more important than my health. Only if I’m healthy I can work.

So here we are – if I answer the phone with a croaky voice being obviously not healthy not many will ask you to go to the doctor and stay in bed. Many will ask you with the pity in their voices if you don’t feel fine but will switch in the next second to tasks that need to be done.

Be an egoist and RECOVER properly, long-term this is the only possibility to stay healthy and maybe to reach the change you want to see in this society.

What about invisible problems? A croaky voice, ok, but if you have mental illnesses it’s not even visible. You will tell me now that you are happy about that fact but that’s wrong.

I would love to invent something like a face turning pink-striped when having mental health issues not to put the spotlight on that person but to raise awareness of how many people are affected. This taboo needs to be broken and people should be treated properly as if they have a broken leg. It may take longer, yes, but it’s as important as any other illness to be cured!

I seriously don’t want to stamp persons as sick but I am sure that many are not asking for help or are going to get help themselves because this stamp “crazy” is still so active in our society. If you are not visibly ill then what? You have a day where you don’t feel fine, that’s normal. If it’s more than one day, then pull yourself together, it’s easy like that, isn’t it?

No, it isn’t and everyone who thinks it is has luckily never experienced mental health issues!

So please, don’t be shy, don’t be ashamed, don’t feel ‘not normal’ or crazy – there is help out there and please reach for it!

There is slowly a re-thinking on it’s way in our society but it needs people to go out and to show their pink-striped faces, people to say “Yes, I have problems”, people to assure that it is nothing to be afraid of! I promise you, if we really would put stripes in our faces the ones without would even be in the minority.

To reach a change we need to start.

Be the change you want to see…

Be an egoist and take care of yourself!!!

(Because nothing is permanent 🙂 )

There was a time…

 

There was a time

There was a time…

When I had plenty of time – day in and day out. I started to draw and paint to live the creative part of me. I started to do Yoga to move my body and still my mind.

I had time to go to get my nails done, to sit in a café and just watch people walking by while slowly drinking a huge latte macchiato, I had regular hairdresser appointments and lots of time for shopping.  I spent lots of time on writing and even more on reading, reading real paper books.

This time has gone!

I have no time at all, this is a feeling that implanted itself into my brain.

I need to rush through my life because everything is planned and organized and if I get off this schedule tragedies will happen.

I rush to the Kindergarten to be in time before they start their day, I rush back to work, I squeeze appointments in between my work schedule as I cannot attend them with my son. I rush to the Kindergarten to pick him up and run with him through the supermarket because he’s tired and cranky. I rush back home and hope he sleeps so that I can finish my work and prepare dinner, when he wakes up there’s no possibility that I sit on my desk as he will go mad.

We need to play (which is his right!) and that’s the first time where I can slow down a bit. After dinner he’s fully awake and energized to enjoy a long evening with us which means not really time for me to do something creative or watch a movie without interruption, a bit of Yoga works as he starts to like that. It’s late when the day ends and sleeping without me is still rarely happening and instead of reading a few “pages” on my e-book I check emails in bed and hope he’s sleeping deeply soon so that I can take a shower before my eyes close because I’m so tired.

Is this the life I imagined with a child? No. Is this how life just is as a working mum? No.

I think I had to go through this to realize something…

No tragedies happen if I’m off the schedule!

Surely work needs to be done and there will always be days like this BUT it’s up to me to change the majority of days to a more relaxed and flexible schedule.

The more relaxed I am, the more relaxed my son is.

We listen to music in the morning while getting ready to leave the house and we snuggle a while, that’s MORE important than sitting five minutes earlier in my office.

These moments won’t come back!

My office day is scheduled, there’s no way to be completely relaxed there as we have timelines and things need to be done in time but that’s just a matter of prioritizing my work and have proper to-do-lists. If I work highly concentrated instead of being distracted by stressed thoughts about what comes next I work in a more efficient way and yes, more de-stressed. If I need to finish something in the evening anyway why not to drive to the supermarket before I pick my son up? This way I’m faster and my son can go home from the kindergarten right away and snuggle up for a good sleep. I prepare dinner, I work, I am finished when he wakes up and we can do some great things together – we can finish cooking on days I didn’t manage to and he loves the kitchen, or we play or we go to the playground for a while, or we bath him, or or or.

I may not have the time still to work on my paintings, to write lots, to read lots, but I find time to enjoy, I find time to look at a caterpillar as if I discovered something completely new because my son shows me how to do that.

We go outside and search the whole sky until we find a plane or the moon or even both. We start to walk and stop again because there’s a cat climbing up a tree and we follow her to see where she goes.  My little love is not even two years old.

He learned a ton of things in his life already and he is ruling our day!

I am his mother and it’s my task to be at his site, to carry him when he’s tired, to feed him when he’s hungry, to show him this world and to go on my knees to face him on his level.

It’s my life as his mother and I love to do all of this because he should be the happiest child on this planet.

I’m able to write (as you can see), it isn’t as regularly as it once was but does that matter? I’m able to do things just for myself, they are limited and not much but that’s OK. I’m able to draw once in a while, I’m able to do many things I used to do but is that really important right now? No, it isn’t.

Important right now is that we live in this very moment because these days pass by like crazy. My little baby is a toddler already and he soon will be doing things on his own and doesn’t want me to help him or to play with him. I don’t want to miss these days and look back one day to regret that I wasn’t crawling on the floor, checking what is under the table or under the couch, just because it makes him laugh in such a giggling wonderful way. I will have plenty of time in the future for all the other things but right now every minute spent with this little bunch of pure happiness is all I need.

There was is a time…it’s called NOW!

A day in the life of a working mum…

 

A day in the life of a working mum…without childcare

toddler at home

Let me show you a typical working day with a toddler at home.

8.00 am – 9.30 am – I actually work

9.30 am – the toddler wakes up

Washing him and changing diapers, breastfeeding, carrying him, sitting and rocking , playing, emptying the dishwasher, starting the washing machine, feed him, playing, answering the phone, breastfeed again, dressing him, reading mails in between, answering IMs from colleagues…

…and all of a sudden it’s 11.45 am.

He yawns.

So off to the bed, breastfeeding until he drifts off into sleep.

12.01 pm conference call

12.25 pm – the toddler (who found out recently how to leave the family bed on his own) taps into the room (seriously, only half an hour where I hoped for at least triple that time to get work done).

Breastfeeding number 4 – he still doesn’t want to eat, I tried.

I shift clothes from the washing machine into the dryer, make soap bubbles to entertain my son and try to answer some emails in between.

12.45 pm – I feel like a cow as he’s sitting on my lap latched again – number 5 for today and no end in sight. I truly love it but when you work you wish that he just eats his bread, yogurt, fruit, instead of occupying me every minute of the day (although he has the right for sure).

1.00 pm – my husband is home so that I can finally work properly at least for a while.

1.30 pm – I cooked pasta for my son with the end result that he ate exactly two while I ate the salad from yesterday evening.

It’s now 2.00 pm – I have a conference call soon that needs preparation (at 3.30 pm) and my lovely toddler sits on the floor beside me, makes noises with a paper box and yawns.

At least I can answer emails again – the sound would have disturbed me a year ago but hey, you’re getting used to focus even when it’s completely noisy around you.

2:30 pm – he ate a few bites of bread and the last was spit well chewed on the floor, and not on the wooden part, no, on the carpet so that I need to clean it with more efforts than on the wooden floor. Still no sign of being ready to sleep, I know after 14 months when it makes sense to lay down with him and when not. In his current mood we would spend an hour in the bed and he wouldn’t sleep so I let him play with the hope that he is soon really tired.

3.00 pm – less than 30 min left until my conference call and my toddler isn’t tired at all – the only option will be that he stays with his dad.

3:29 pm and he’s ‘talking’ loudly with his dad in the bedroom – I have a toddler resistant to sleep on some days. He will sleep, exactly then when we would like to go outside and do some grocery shopping.

Just happy that it’s Friday and this work week is almost over.

4.00 pm – he seems to sleep as I don’t hear anything but I can’t check as I need to jump from one conference call into the next, fortunately the last for today.

For this call I only need to listen so I can start to think about what to cook for dinner today and what we need to buy before shops are closing.

5.30 pm – I’m stuck in that call longer than expected and meanwhile all are awake again so I’m sitting on my desk with a muted headset, my son is running around and wondering what mommy is doing, breastfeeding number 6 for today (I’m not sure if I missed some already as it’s so normal these days) and I’m annoyed because I would give everything to just throw the laptop and enjoy the time with my family. But this job is paying lots what we love in our life and quitting is not an option, besides it is a great job at many times but just now I wish I would be a millionaire not caring for such things as conference calls.

Am I the only one or are other working moms also feel guilty not to be there 100% for their children. I’m apologizing so often to him although he won’t understand a word I’m saying that I still need to do this or that before we can play.

It’ll be past 6.00 pm when I finally am off work and then the private stress will start – what do we really need today, is there something that can’t wait until tomorrow? Cooking dinner is hanging like the Damocles sword above me because I long to have a bit time for NOTHING. No thinking, no you need to, you have to, have you already or when will you – just a quiet hour to recharge but that won’t happen until my son sleeps which recently is rarely before midnight.

I send this post now, unfinished, as the rest of the day until I will fall into my bed (or better until I try to go to my side of the bed without waking him up) I won’t find the time anymore. If I don’t send it now it may sit in my drafts for the next weeks.

That’s motherhood, a day of a working mom without childcare, a crazy day with a toddler, that’s my life and even if it is often beyond exhausting I would NEVER EVER change it back.

Stay strong – we are strong!

And stay away of the thought to be perfect, nobody needs to be perfect! My messy hair will be in a bun in 5 minutes to leave the house and if you look around then you will see many imperfections, so no worries. Most important now is a happy toddler and that’s why I’m off into the weekend now. Bye