We’re at war

It’s a tough one to digest isn’t it? Sure there’s not one crooked and unstable leader dictating a manslaughter of a major population. There are many. While two of the people with the most significant world-wide impact are measuring how big and red their “buttons” are, people are uniting and raging towards things they can actually change. Things that have been going on for far too long without consequences. We’re currently at war against the times.

It has happened. House of Cards is more relaxing to watch than the current news (as said by Hasan Minhaj). Over the holidays, I had dinner with a close friend and he said that it was nearly impossible to keep up with the news because there are so many sources reporting contradicting stories, making it hard to figure out who to trust and what to believe. Have we evolved from the information age to the too much information age? By using Apple News on my phone, I receive notifications from almost every major publication between the US and UK, and it’s clear that it’s become a game of being first rather than being accurate. Additionally, everything is being turned into “breaking news” and the art of editing is becoming something of the past. This is what essentially got the stable genius into the office, isn’t it?

In a time where the work of the world leaders is more stressful to keep up with than Game of Thrones, the sparks of sedition, subversion and initiative have turned into fire. Or is it a song of ice and fire? Small voices are uniting and becoming equally, if not more powerful than the voices of our leaders. Inequality, unfair wages, sexual harassment, workplace abuse, the glass ceiling, racism, workplace bullying and discrimination; all issues that have been around forever, but the spotlight on them is gaining momentum through the abundance of major movements. It’s such difficult issues to fix because they tend to be engrained within individuals and their values, and the world leaders can’t simply write a new law and expect these things to go away. They’ve already done that. A while ago. And this stuff is still happening.

This weekend I was at an event, and while the theme was a happy one, it didn’t take long before we were a group of strangers raging, sighing and rolling our eyes at the current political and social situation. We were discussing the social movements possibly being a direct result of the Trump era and the uncertainty of the future. One of the girls suggested that the movements, specifically #TimesUp is one that’s risen purely from anger, and not the good kind of anger that can make positive changes. The group of 7 went quiet, and just as we were carefully choosing our next words, we got interrupted. This comment about anger became one I just couldn’t shake off. Now, days later, after digesting it a few times, I’m still trying to figure out whether she was simply being super-British and meant that being angry is a un-British way of handling the situation. I think that we’re going through the 7 stages of grief with this, and for too long we’ve been in shock and denial, followed by pain and guilt. Now we’re angry because we’ve let this go one for so long in this overwhelmingly shocking capacity – and that includes all the issues listed above and more. The aim is to get to acceptance and hope for the future, but there’s still a long way to go. The Hollywood crackdown has only been the first step. Majority of the damage is done at the worker-level. It’s the everyday people that go through the worst of the worst. And all these issues are present within all industries, but it’s the visibility or the discreetness that varies.

In the 24.5 years that I’ve been alive, I’ve worked at 10 different companies across Norway and New York, and within 100% of these I have personally been a victim of or witnessed inequality, unfair wages, sexual harassment, workplace abuse, the glass ceiling, racism, workplace bullying and/or discrimination. I’ve had about 22 managers, but less than a handful of them have had a positive impact on me. That’s 18% of good management through 10 years. How am I supposed to be a great leader if I’ve hardly experienced good leadership? Isn’t it about time that we demand more from the people calling themselves our leaders and bosses?

The Trump and possible nuclear war era (the Cold War 2.0?) has no doubt been a challenging time to live in. However, despite the negative, the scary and the weird, we’re finally starting to hold people, normal and influential people, accountable for their actions. The Washington Post wrote just a few days ago that it takes more than social media to make a movement, and sure thing – we need more action than only tweeting #MeToo, #TimesUp or any of the other hashtags. However, people are sharing their stories, we’re uniting through anger, support, love and compassion, and we’re demanding changes. It’s us, the customers, that dictate what companies produce and it’s us, the people, that choose our leaders. We’re at war with the times, the cycles of actions that have somehow been acceptable for several generations. We’re at war towards things that we as individuals can only change by looking into ourselves (or the man in the mirror). In the information age, things happen real damn fast, and at this point, most companies that are aiming for greatness and longevity don’t want to be the next Weinstein scandal, face the Walmart factory fires, have the Uber company culture or employ a Larry Nassar. And it’s heartbreaking to think that these things even measure up to the grotesque things happening in the rest of the world (Puerto Rico still missing electricity, the Syrian conflict, labor abuse in Asian factories etc.).

Big changes come in millions of small steps, and look at us, we’re walking!


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