Boundless #42: Put the kids to work!
Baby Bosses in Taipei, Finding Your Purpose & Feierabend
March 9th, 2019: Greeting from Taipei where I am five days into an intensive Chinese language class, so excuse me if my English is starting to suffer.
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#1 He said I might cry and he was right
A friend sent an exercise to me titled “How to Discover Your Life Purpose in About 20 Minutes” which immediately activated every skeptical muscle in my body. Yet I committed to trying the exercise.
It is an exercise to continue writing sentence after sentence until you find something that resonates with you…
and makes you cry.
I didn’t think it would work, but I ended up in tears after my 18th iteration. I’m a bit nervous to share something like this, but here is what I ended up writing that made me tear up:
Connect as a real friend to people to give them the courage to create, help simplify the world to enable people to imagine new possibilities, and continuously be more brave in discovering the people and things that matter in my own life
I’m definitely still a bit skeptical of anyone who claims to have a defined purpose, but this exercise definitely brought to the surface something that means a lot to me - friendship - as a way of engaging with the world. I’m going to explore that more, especially as I am physically far from so many people, while always seeing which new people appear in my life.
I’d love to hear others experiences if they try the exercise. Let me know what happens.
#2 Work Word of the Week: “Feierabend”
From a German friend:
feier = celebrate (general a reason for frolic)
Abend = Evening
You say Feierabend, when you are done with work for the day. You throw your coat into the corner, you take out a book, a beer, a movie, whatever. And you INDULGE in NOTHING work-related anymore till going to sleep.
Only this is a real Feierabend.
And if you are done with working, you just stand up and say in a decisive tone to the others: Feierabend! And you turn around and leave.
Everyone does Feierabend every day. Some just do it 1 minute before sleeping and others 3 hours. But 1 minute before sleeping obviously is less of a good Feierabend than 2 hours before bed is.
How good was your Feierabend this week?
#3 Put the kids to work!
I saw the following billboard while walking around in Taipei and was wondering what this was all about:
Apparently this is something parents can bring their kids to so that they can instill the values of getting a job and profession as early as possible. From their site:
This is a simulated city with tailor designed for children. There are mini streets, stores, parks, buildings and model various vehicles, with almost 50 venues and 70 occupational roles designed for the training of children of different ages. Little citizens may select careers as appropriate for them to experience the jobs, earn BabyBucks and dispense their income at will. Children thus come up with the right attitude toward work, compensation and spending wisely.
The stated goal of the program is to help children “build confidence and good values.” I’m not sure if these jobs come with micro-management and unhelpful feedback from mid-level managers as well, but I’m sure there are better ways to help people build confidence than giving them a job and forcing them to start paying their bills:
Each little citizen must find a job and work hard to earn “BabyBucks” before purchasing BB products or saving money in the bank. The bank will provide an ATM card and pay interest every half year (paul’s note: not a great deal!)…through the pay for work process, children are encouraged to learn the value of money and how to spend it wisely.
To put this in context, Taiwan is not the unbridled “find your passion” work culture that the US and many other major cities have become. The work culture and culture at large is still dominated by a sense of duty and responsibility to family and employer in a way that I’m not very familiar with. Some have credited this to the influence of Confucian principles and I’m excited to continue to learn about the relationship people have with work here in Taiwan and around the globe.
Anyone have any interesting perspectives to share on this?
#4 Christine Bader on leaving the top CSR post at Amazon, learning how to quit and reinventing life on sabbatical
Christine Bader is currently living in Bali, Indonesia, where she is spending time focused on her family and self. She is the author of The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil and a former head of CSR for Amazon before leaving in 2017, a journey she details in an amazing essay titled “The year I learned to quit.” She talks about leaving the corporate world and shifting her focus from building a career to building a life.
Corporate social responsibility & working at Amazon
Taking a sabbatical in Bali & life reinvention
The greek concepts of Kairos and chronos
Working in Asia in the early 2000s
#5 Reads, Quotes & Listens
📚 Weekly Boundless Reads #108
I went crazy deep on the future of talent platforms:
Over the last twenty years, talent platforms have dramatically increased the number of freelance and “gig” opportunities, especially for the early adopters who learned how to succeed on the platforms. However, with the proliferation of platforms due to zero marginal cost economics and the increasing atomization of the staffing process, the talent platform economy is in desperate need for reinvention.
From 21 lessons For the 21st Century by Yuval Harari
There, about 50 percent of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men never work. They dedicate their lives to studying holy scriptures and performing religious rituals. They and their families don’t starve partly because the wives often work and partly because the government provides them with generous subsidies and free services, making sure that they don’t lack the basic necessities of life. That’s universal basic support avant la lettre. Although they are poor and unemployed, in survey after survey these ultra-Orthodox Jewish men report higher levels of life satisfaction than any other section of Israeli society.
From the philosopher Agnes Callard:
Socrates sketches a way for faith to outstrip our current grounds for belief: instead of (self-deceptively) taking ourselves to know, we posit the object of faith as the target of our learning. Such faith can be cleareyed because someone’s self-understanding as a learner allows into view her ignorance of what she sets out to learn. Self-deception exists in order to cover up the fact that I am not the person I want to be; aspiration represents a different solution to that problem, namely that of trying to become that person.
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