New Work and its heroes

Note: I wrote this article as a guest post for Netzpiloten.de, one of the oldest blogs in German language on the Internet.

Can you still remember the wording of the fairy tales of your childhood? Or those you might have read to your own children? Probably not, but we can all still reflect the morality of these stories. The narratives behind the fairy tales have a long-term effect and help us to develop our own view of the world. That’s why we don’t forget them, once they have been internalized, for the rest of our lives.

This was the approach chosen by the two authors Christiane Brandes-Visbeck and Susanne Thielecke when they turned to the subject of New Work. Instead of creating explanatory theses and excluding definitions that are then ignored, they told stories of people living New Work for their book “Fit for New Work: How to succeed in the new world of work.” (only available in German). Among other things, they also tell my own story in the book.

That’s why on Thursday of this year’s Hamburg Social Media Week I was one of five invited guests who was interviewed for their book and now invited to talk on the stage of the Altonaer Theater. Next to me were the former Netzpiloten columnist Nico Lumma, Stephan Grabmeier of Kienbaum, Ministry agency head Andreas Ollmann, and WorkGenius founder Daniel Barke.

Digital Heroes (from left to right): Stephan Grabmeier, Nico Lumma, Andreas Ollmann, Tobias Kremkau, Daniel Barke, Susanne Thielecke, and Christiane Brandes-Visbeck at the Social Media Week Hamburg 2019

Why all these gentlemen, and I, have been interviewed for this book, as well as career consultant Svenja Hofert and strategy consultant Kerstin Hoffmann, can best be learned by reading the book mentioned above. That’s not what it’s about now. Instead, I would like to review the few pieces of knowledge that we five talkative guests were able to share in this 50-minute conversation.

Lived expertise on New Work

Andreas Ollmann and Stephan Grabmeier emphasized, from different points of view, that the Why must be clear. Both employees and the company need to know what the purpose of their work is. Since New Work is about doing what you really want, you also have to find an employer who has the same values as you. Otherwise, work feels like wasting time.

What you really want to do can be different and may change. Through new work and the constant search for meaning, companies should also get more involved with lateral entrants. Daniel Barke starts there with his platform WorkGenius and brings qualified employees with companies together. An attempt to create better models for free work – self-determined and fair.

This becomes the basis of an economy coined by New Work, whether consciously after the philosophy of Frithjof Bergmann aligned or from an internal drive out, with a breeze life experience. Nico Lumma, a Managing Partner at the next media accelerator, reported on everyday work with startups. Young founders still need tips on how to use sunshine hours in Hamburg instead of just working, for example.

New Work is what you want yourself.

At the end of the panel discussion, I can say for myself that we did not try to define what New Work is. Each one of us had a different point of view on the podium, and we all argued from our very personal experiences. New Work has nothing to do with tables made of euro pallets or football tables, but with people who are allowed to decide for themselves how they want to work.

All Images: Social Media Week, Hamburg 2019