The Shift: #30

Phoebe Lovatt's Work Ethics: 20 Ideas for 2020 & Beyond; A 'Soft Manifesto' for values-driven work; Happy New Tier... 🌟 🎄

What a weekend!
My daughter was meant to be travelling to Italy today to see her dad for Xmas but tested positive for Covid last night so we’ve come home. All flights to Italy from the UK have been cancelled today due to the variant CV strain so she wouldn’t have been going anyway even if the test had been negative.
She’s fine - just a few sniffles, no other symptoms. I’m feeling ok, had a cracking headache last night but put that down to the stress of the travel, tests, and ever-changing lockdown rules!
So, it will be the two of us cosying up at home (in our masks!!) and self-isolating for the next 10 days. I had already cancelled my plans to see family pre tier 4 announcement so was expecting to be on my own for Xmas this year. I’m happy to have her back home.
I had a chat with friends in Germany and Australia this morning. Marina lives in Munich with her son. Germany’s in lockdown so they’re not allowed out after 9 pm - or risk a £500 fine. She’s doing fitness videos on YouTube to stay sane. Germans don’t trust the vaccine as there are no long-term studies yet.
Laura lives in Melbourne with her two boys, and they’ve had most of their restrictions lifted since the hard lockdown. They can have up to 30 people over to socialise and go to restaurants so she’s going out for Xmas lunch. But that may change again… Sydney is back in lockdown due to a sharp rise in cases.
We’re all in it together.

📖 I’ve just finished Phoebe Lovatt’s brilliant book, Work Ethics: 20 Ideas for 2020 and Beyond. Covid-19 has smashed everything - the way we worked wasn’t working and won’t work again. In order to move on, we need new values for the way we think about our jobs, relationships and each other. This starts with letting go of the ‘work ethic’ and replacing it with an ethics of work A framework for thinking about the real work the world is asking of us right now.
The five values she explores are freedom, care, simplicity, service, & creativity.
Some of us have been lucky enough to experience the quiet pleasures of a simplified life during this year’s lockdown and we can use this muscle memory to carve a new path forwards. Perhaps we don’t need to earn as much money as we previously thought if we make conscious efforts to spend and buy less instead. Perhaps we wouldn’t feel driven to scale the dizzying heights of career success if we shifted some of that focus to cultivating a fulfilling emotional life. Perhaps we could strive towards lifestyles built on less income, but more time and freedom. Perhaps, through simplicity, we could all be rich.
It’s a beautifully written, tiny book that packs a punch. Well researched with lots of references and links to mull over. It explores many things I’ve been thinking about lately. How small is beautiful, my minimalist company of one, questioning growth and production for the sake of it, individualism/ego vs collective creation, burnout and hustle, and being of service.
One question to ask yourself: Can you remove yourself from the centre of the work?
Also, read this essay: A Soft Manifesto, by artist Cortney Cassidy for new ideas and inspiration. She talks about the anti-capitalist values that helped her launch ‘Mail Blog’ and a set of principles you can apply to your own values-driven work. Love the idea of having an open Google doc for contributions - something to explore in the new year.
Signing off now for a couple of weeks. I’ll be reading Jenny Odell’s book How to do Nothing and trying my best.
Wishing you happy holidays and thank you for your support this year 🙏.
Here’s to a brighter 2021.

Thanks for reading!

👋 Hi, I'm Nicci - a journalist and writer based in the UK. I write The Shift, a newsletter on work culture and creativity. If you like this and want to read more, please consider becoming a paid subscriber here. Or if you prefer, you can buy me a coffee here. Find me online @niccitalbot.