Rethinking Work

By travelling you discover there are a many different ways to do something from what you are used to from your own background or culture. Does the same not apply to working? That there are many different ways to work? Not only 9-5, in the same office, with the same people everyday, 40-60 hours a week, having the same routine of emails, meetings, plans etc.

Always making overtime? Being ‘busy’ is good? The more meetings the better? The book Rework (by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson) gives in a humoristic way an opposing view on some of the work myths. This fun and easy read (in just a few hours!) is full of successful examples from companies all over the world.


(source: the graphic recorder)

A few quotes from the book:

  • ASAP is poison
  • Planning is guessing
  • Long lists don’t get done
  • Your better off with a kick-ass half, than a half-assed whole
  • Live it or leave it
  • Don’t be a hero
  • You don’t need more hours, you need better hours
  • Scratch your own itch
  • Pour yourself into your product

Although said to be written for (to-be) entrepreneurs, it invites to rethink a few of the concepts you may be using in your work and to try something different.


What colour is your parachute?

What color is your parachute by Richard N. Bolles is a practical and insightful book on finding out what you value in work. The book includes several exercises that result in a so-called flower with the following petals:

2015 parachute book

(source: Amazon)

  1. Favourite knowledges or fields of interest
  2. Preferred kinds of people to work with
  3. Favourite transferable skills (what you can do and love to do)
  4. Favourite working conditions
  5. Level of responsibility, salary range and other rewards
  6. Preferred place(s) to live (sooner or later)
  7. Goal, purpose, or mission in life

You then take your top 3 knowledges and top 5 skills and ask around which jobs or work people think of when seeing those themes. Hereafter find out which organisations offer the jobs that appeal to you. Through informational interviews with people in your network you find out more about that type of work. With the ultimate goal to find the job that fits all your flower petals! 

Last year, still in my previous job, I got stuck somewhere along the 3rd petal. Having recently finished all petals, I realised it was not only lack of time and priority back then, but also I couldn’t help to look at the exercise with the point of view from my current job. Now that I am out of that job for some time (and even changed country ;)), I am able to focus really on what I want, regardless of what other people expect of me in or outside work. So the tip is to try to think as freely from job or other people‘s expectations, and focus really on your own wishes!

Now I am procrastinating with the question ‘what job or work do you think about when you read my favourite knowledges and skills?’. So I will put it out here both as an example and request for help!

My favourite knowledges/interests:

  1. Connecting (with) people and information (incl. networking, finding patterns and combinations, sharing ideas and resources).
  2. Ways of working (discovering and trying out new ways of working (e.g. Agile, JobsToBeDone, DesignThinking) but also creating or customising own methods and approaches)
  3. Enabling people by opening up myself (and giving advice on next steps)

My favourite skills:

  1. Discovering (from countries, cultures, cities, books, movies, cafes to new fields, jobs, organisations, ways of working)
  2. Combining parts in a whole
  3. Linking / connecting people
  4. Challenging / critical thinking
  5. Initiating / innovating / inventing