What a year 2020 has turned out to be.. It was challenging on almost all aspects of my life. It was a year that required courage, a lot of patience and perseverance.
But 2020 is finally over now, as we welcome the first days of the new year into our lives.
I must admit that I have re-written this post a dozen times. It has been, in all meanings of the word, a "crazy" year. And even that is putting it mildly. As the year progressed, writing this post started to become more and more of a personal outlet. For my feelings, my frustrations and -at times- my despair.
At some point it started to sound more like the random rants of a lunatic. So this has become one of the most edited and redacted posts in the history of this blog :).
But, as I often do with these kinds of posts, I'll try to focus on my life. My choices and my changes, my victories and my failures; and my hopes for 2021 and beyond.
I think we learned a lot the past year. As individuals, as groups, as families and communities; and even collectively, as a species. During this COVID-19 pandemic we've had to adapt; we saw our lives change overnight. And it has probably changed forever, nothing will ever be the same.
For better or for worse.
I must admit, there were some dark moments for me in 2020. I would not call it an easy year. Like most of you I have been working from home since March (which is now over 9 months!); only allowed to see my colleagues a handful of times. The way we work has been redefined; we all had to adapt to working remotely. Which was not an easy process.
Aside from that, I should always remember to value that I was among the lucky few. Being allowed to keep working remotely at relatively normal hours; with minimal risk to my health or loss of my income. I also don't know anyone who has fallen victim to the Corona virus. So, I am lucky, and it is worth remembering that. Even though it certainly did not feel like that throughout most of the year.
I admit I found it hard to stay focused and positive this past year. The Earth; the human race; is in a dire state. We cannot -and should not- ignore that fact any longer. It should now be common knowledge; we are in serious danger of destroying the biosphere. The whole envelope of living creatures which covers this planet; trough pollution, overpopulation, nuclear fallout, climate change, technological advances, pandemics, poisoning of our food and the very lack of food.
Staying motivated felt hard at times; being a part of a society that is, in essence, destroying itself. imploding on itself. Seeing human collective stupidity tear the world apart trough ignorance, selfishness and stubbornness..
But there is hope. It is not too late.
Admittedly, it might be too late for some species. The price that we will have to pay will be immense. But it is not too late. I honestly believe that. I do not know if that's me clinging to a spec of hope; but I do believe it.
It all starts with awareness. By recognizing we have a problem. And that might just be one of the few upsides of this COVID pandemic. We (as a society) learned two positive things:
- Human nature and behavior can change if the need is high enough.
- In the midst of mass-chaos and mass-manipulation, good people will rise to do the right things. Proving that good exists, and that those who can, will rise to the challenge
It became clear that, in some way or another, we'll have to learn how to leave the world alone. And let what is called the natural homeostasis, the self-balancing process of nature, take care of the mess. Which.. Will not be easy, make no mistake.
It will take a lot of courage. We're in desperate need of change. Change of human behavior, our relationship with nature and how we treat each-other.
And if we can't? Well, I hope that at least the outcome is now finally painfully clear for the majority of civilization. Our species will be wiped out. Period.
I firmly believe that this new collective awareness will be enough to start a radical change movement. I see the positive signs of that around me all the time.
So that's something good this pandemic has ultimately taught us. We can't ignore the dire state of the Earth any longer. We have to change.
A different Path
So; with the former in mind; I decided to leave my employer. After 9 years I have left the company that I helped build. And even though it felt like leaving a part of me behind; it does feel like it needed to be done. To start looking for something better. Something more kind, more sustainable and more human. Something different than the consultancy business that I have been a part of for far too long. In search of a company that is more in tune with my own believes and my own values of ethics and morality.
I ended up at Qframe. A small(-ish) software development company in Belgium; creating software in "dedicated teams" or "teams-as-a-service". I did not happen to stumble upon them; we have been in ongoing discussions for over 4 years. And 2020 was the year I finally decided to take my own leap of faith.
Apart from moving away of the consultancy world, I started working for Qframe for a couple of reasons:
- Dedicated teams allow for a more significant impact. In providing quality, in education and coaching, in mentoring. It allows working with your client in a more sustainable business model. I don't feel like I'm "robbing" my client anymore. They pay for a service, for a team; not yet another consultant. And as members of those teams rarely change; we can truly predict velocity, adapt and change; according the needs of our project.
- Qframe has adapted a bottom-up way of working, following the Sociocracy "social technology" model. I don't know enough about it yet to give an accurate description on what it is and how I feel about it. But it's, in essence, a means of bringing the outcome of organizational decisions to the level of every employee of the company. Which, in theory, sounds amazing. I'll be writing about it in the future as I learn more about it.
- Even though they're small; Qframe has a couple of values that I really admire in a company. They want to be sustainable in everything they do. They are replacing their cars with greener alternatives; they have an altruistic program and they value transparency. Both to our employees and our clients. They try to raise awareness around sustainable business management and try to improve their impact on the Earth. And I love that.
- Actions speak louder than words! In the midst of the Belgian second lock-down Qframe employees were motivated (not obligated) to volunteer half a day each week to assist in retirement homes and at local doctors. Working together with the Belgian Red Cross to allowing us to help where help was desperately needed. And that's.. Amazing.
Remember: "No act of kindness; no matter how small; is ever wasted."
I'm still in the process of figuring out my new role at my new company. It all depends on their needs and how my own life plays out the following years. It's worth mentioning that I started working at Qframe in lock-down; so I haven't seen all my colleagues yet; and most of my interactions with my own team were digital. But I am excited to embark on this journey, a completely new direction for me.
I'll end with this: it has been a real relief to witness businesses, and people and employees, work together on a different premise than just "making money". And for that, I am proud and honored to be a part of this organization.
A new beginning
2021 will be the start of a new beginning. Not only for me and you; but for us. I believe this new year will go down in the history books as "the year it changed". If it's for the better, or for worse... Well that's up to you and me.
Let's take back our future; let's make 2021 a year we can be proud of!
Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash.
Big thanks to Marijke Walgraeve and Wim Offeciers for taking time to review this post!
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