This session at university, I took a class that not only opened my eyes to the actual way uni and the work future are connected but gave me rich insights into what a beautifully tangled web each of us is in, in work and in life.
Listening without judgement is genuinely hard. It takes practice, and I’m grateful I have had that kind of practice throughout the session. I soon realised I had always been in a hurry when I talk to others—I had been listening just to reply most of the time, and it was not working. To truly understand myself and others, and to help others make sense of their own narratives, I need to listen as a listener, not as someone trying to give advice or to make the other person feel better. And above all, not as someone trying to author another person’s life. There are dots only each of us can connect forward and backward for ourselves.
Through this practice of listening and telling stories to ourselves and to others, I notice how often we see ourselves in others and see them in ourselves, especially those who are close to us—our mums and dads and friends and co-workers and mentors. We gaze into them and their narratives and see our reflections—as daughters and sons and friends and co-workers and apprentices. We sit down and talk to them and honour their stories with others, and in the process may realise their values are also ours: the very human qualities that are kept alive by these bonds, which in turn are tightened by these shared values.
The very same people are also those who lift us higher than where we can get to alone. They give us advice from the heart and comfort when we are down. They filter out the good in us. Their stories help us make sense of ourselves, and we come out of the other side of the conversation feeling more in touch with ourselves, with the relationships we find ourselves in, and more aware of what we uphold in life.
It is midnight on a Thursday, I’m drained by my final assignments, but I can’t not spend these few minutes to write this tiny tribute to The Future of Work and to the lovely Dr K.B. and G.W., who have guided us through 13 wonderful seminars. You have built us a true safe space for stories to be shared and to be heard. Thank you.