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International Dinner: Meaning of Your Work

On May 1st, 2019 TINT organized another International Dinner. This year the theme was: Meaning of Your Work. I attended the event. Here is my experience:

 

The band was blasting of the stage the moment I came in. Whit some of the usual awkwardness and just a slight of displacement coming into a room with mostly strangers it didn’t take long before the conversations started rolling, jokes started cracking and the vibe was getting good.

 

Before we knew it, the appetizers were served, and we were off to get out of our comfort zone. Our taste buds went nuts trying out Ms. Gerties Cichoriboats with orange and hazelnuts, filled dates and other eccentric but tasteful foods. Not everyone at the table was in to every food, but luckily there was something in there for everyone.

 

The first speaker of the event Jeroen Ter Brugge came on stage. From reflecting on our food, we switched over to reflecting on our existence (AAH!). Starting off in an interactive way with questions like: Do you know what your core values are? Do you know why you get out of bed each morning? Etc. Jeroen pulled us into the dialogue with him.

 

He continued by telling us about his views on the meaning of work and his personal journey in finding a meaningful way of spending his time. Having studied psychology and doing all sorts of jobs he went on to study philosophy an decided to become a life coach focusing on quarter lifers.

 

Jeroen ended his speech on the notion that you shouldn’t let your fears stop you if there is something you want to do in life. Like grudgingly climbing a mountain the challenge is what makes reaching the top of the mountain worthwhile. Jeroen let us put this wisdom into practice by having us form couples stare into each other’s eyes for a whole minute (quite a long minute I’d say).

 

After the main dish which was also nice (and a little more in my comfort zone), the second speaker Mariëlle Obels had her say. Mariëlle mainly gave us insight into a burn-out. Asked to answer questions through KAHOOT! We learned about the widespread prevalence of burn-out and during her talk we learned vividly and vicariously what burn-out looked like through Mariëlle’s  own personal story in dealing with the condition. Telling us how she had multiple ‘meltdowns’ she really gave me an insight in the struggle that becoming over stimulated trough work is. The moral being: sometime’s you need to push yourself to ‘plug out’.

 

The evening faded slowly but steady. People dancing in front of stage to people engaged in conversation in the back. Both presentations ended with a furious wave of questions from the audience twice to the point that the TINT crew had to come to tell us the time was up. To my satisfaction I got to engage in a dialogue with both speakers as well as other attendants on the issue of meaning in work ending in a past-time group discussion. It was good to see that the issues were not just handled on stage but fired up the minds of everyone in the room.

 

For me, the most crucial question summing up the theme of the event was asked both in the Q&A as was dealt with in the conversations I had afterwards: How do you challenge yourself without burning yourself out? Even though Mariëlle shared her thoughts in her Q&A, I think this is an unending question that you really need to answer by living your life. Mariëlle’s presentation pushed me to take an easy day the day after the event, as I was getting quite overwhelmed myself. There is no use in burning myself to a crisp. Nevertheless, somewhere I need to get back to my aspirations to satisfy my need for meaning. I can only make out for myself where the balance lies. Whit this dilemma in mind and thereby the recognition that the struggle I face in life are a healthy part of living, I think TINT managed to pull of another meaningful event and I am glad I attended.

 

 

By Willem Breel

 

Photos by Kevin Tatar

Event sponsored by Stehven