And yet, many are swept back into the same whirlwind after summer. For me, it is not much different. Although I am not a teacher and my workload is lower than that of the people I work with at Learning for Tomorrow and at Utrecht University. But the past few months the pressure has been high for me too, and I won't get back to rest and reflection until this summer. My vacation fell early this year, so I didn't immediately get caught up in the storm that will pick up steam again in September. So good to be able to reflect a little longer on what makes summer so valuable.
For me, that meant taking a trip to see friends I hadn't met in years. But also exercising (a little) more, reading and really relaxing. And now that I'm back at work once again, time for tutoring and completing tasks that I normally don't have space for. There are fewer work commitments and certain things are accomplished at a slower pace. Because others are now enjoying their vacation (or recovering from their year). And importantly: that doesn't wreck the ship. So that relative calm is possible. And that way, more creative energy is released. In short, such a summer period lets me recover, and blossom a bit.
The whirlwind that erupts in September
In summer, we realize again what we really care about in our lives and work. A different pace. More time with friends or family. More relaxation. Space for creativity. How much we would benefit from a stretched summer! So why do we let ourselves get swept back into the whirlwind that erupts in September? Who actually makes that choice (for us)? Is it consciously? And what would you choose if it were up to you? Or do you have a say in it too? What would you choose? Working less or at a different pace? Or both? What would you do with that extra time or energy?
In the Homo Florens project, we are constantly talking about how we can do more justice to who we are as human beings in the economy. About what drives us and what needs we have. While work can be a part of a meaningful life, in practice it is not for everyone. From burn outs to bullshit jobs, there are plenty of people who do not come into their own in (their daily) work. Some then think, "The work has to be done anyway. But you may wonder if that is always true. Is every product worthwhile? Are all services equally valuable? Should our work really be done at that cut-throat pace and under all those layers of management, control and efficiency dogma? Is work really for everyone? And is everyone who wants to work getting enough opportunities?
A new wind, a new direction
To somewhat contain this labor storm that surrounds us, we will have to tinker with what triggers that storm. Our prevailing economic institutions, thought patterns and actions make up the turbine that drives the artificial wind. It is a man-made machine, so we can dismantle or demolish it as well. And then replace it with a more natural summer breeze on which we can all thrive. With or without work. That starts with a sharper view of human beings and their drives and needs.
We would love to explore with you what this means for your field in HEO. Hoist the sails, and sail along on a new wind! Together we will set the course.