Christian Heilmann

Going IRL during the holidays can teach us to talk more, let’s do that.

Friday, December 26th, 2014 at 12:14 am

I am currently with my family celebrating Christmas in the middle of Germany. Just like the last years, I planned to do some reflection and write some deeper thinking posts, but now I keep getting challenged. Mostly to duels like these:

dog wanting to play

I find the visits to my family cleansing. Not because of a bonding thing or needing to re-visit my past, but as a reality check. I hear about work troubles. I hear about bills to keep the house in a state of non-repair. I hear about health issues. I hear about relationship problems.

What I don’t hear about is people with a lot of money, amazing freedoms at work and a challenging and creative job complaining. I also don’t hear hollow messages of having to save the world in 140 characters. I also don’t hear promises of amazing things being just around the corner.

I hear a lot of pessimism, I hear a lot of worry about a political shift to the right in every country. I hear worries about the future. I hear about issues I forgot existed, but are insurmountable by people outside our bubble. Not only technical issues, but communication ones and rigid levels of hierarchy.

And that makes me annoyed, so much that I wish for the coming time and year to be different. Working on the web, working for international companies we should feel grateful for what we have. I count international companies as those with a different language in the office than the one of the country. And those who practice outreach further than the country.

Let’s tackle communication in the coming year after we’ve come out refreshed and confused by the holidays. Let’s listen more, feel more, communicate more, forgive more and assume less. It is hard to fathom that in a world that connected and that communicative human interaction is terrible. We love to complain about big issues publicly to show that we care. We love to point fingers about who is to blame about a certain problem. We are concerned that people feel worried or unhappy but we fail to reach out and listen when they need us. We are too busy to complain that their problems exist. Not everybody who shares a lot online is happy and open. Sometimes there is a massive disconnect between that online person and the one doing the sharing. Talk more to another, be honest in your feedback. Forget likes, forget emoticons, forget stickers. Use your words. Use a simple “How are you”. We have a freedom not many people enjoy. We work in a communication medium where chatting with others and being online is seen as work. And we squander it away by being seclusive on one hand and overly sharing on another.

The corporate rat race of the 80s has been the topic of many a movie about burn-out and a lot of Christmas movies shown right now. A lot is about the seemingly successful business person finding that love and feeling and having friends matters. The 80s are over. The broken model of having to be successful and fast-moving in anything you do is still alive. And now, it is us. Let’s show that we can not only disrupt old and rigid business models. Let’s show that we can also be good people who talk to another and have careers without walking over others.

Have a happy few days off. I hope to talk to you soon and hear what you have to say.

Share on Mastodon (needs instance)

Share on Twitter

My other work: