Our workplace existence

Written by Jarka Kunova

Jarka is a Business Consultant, Project Manager and Mentor working with businesses ready to grow and transform their operations. She brings her practical, human centred and innovative approach to every project and enjoys working in an agile way. Jarka loves writing, photography and travel and she regularly volunteers with Lifeline helping combat social isolation for the elderly.
June 22, 2017


Hello. Tough day at work?
They need this and they need it now.
Make it the best that’s out there, but they still want it now.
Do this, do that, read this and that, and all these as well… you need to, to be the best.
They want something new that nobody has ever done before… did they mention, they want it now?

Sometimes I think the world has gone a little crazy.
Exciting sometimes.
Frustrating often.

And then there’s the people you have to work with – your family of sorts – and all the loving and
hating that goes with it.
It’s a spinning, twirling rollercoaster or a slow paced merry-go-round.
Either way, it can all just be a little mentally challenging.

Allow me to paint a picture of what’s going on around you.

See over here, we’ve got a big blob of cloud, extreme levels of connectivity allowed by digital
technology and the information that is now available to us, all through which swirling lines of pace
run havoc.

Now.                         Now.                                   Now.

And now I can connect with you over here!! Hi!

So together we collaborate to innovate, different skills, minds and zones, with different groups,
projects, lots of projects, and so many people, day by day, minute by minute
change, change, change.

the business equation = growth = performance = ‘success’
the you equation = performance = growth = ‘success’

You find the challenge, you embrace the challenge, you want the challenge.

Do you want this challenge? Can you do this challenge? Well you think you can but then what about them? Won’t they get in the way? What are they doing, getting in your way?

It’s like being seated at one, long table, your boss right there beside you, day and night.
You look around, there are people much older ready to retire and those that are younger, determined, relentless and so focused. But can you focus?

(I’ll pause while you check that message on your watch, phone, laptop, iPad, email, Facebook,
Instagram, Intranet, text message, iMessage, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype …etc etc).

Part time, full time, casual time, it’s all a lot of time. More time than we’re used to, so your
grandfather tells you, and all so volatile. Quick to change. Is it secure? Are you secure? You don’t
know. You think you are and then sometimes you feel like you’re not. You feel uncertain? About the project, the work, what to do? What are you actually doing? What are you meant to achieve here?

It all keeps

So you try to change to be happy.

How do you feel? Happy? You should be happy. We’re so lucky, it’s all fun. Life is a bundle of fun.
Until it isn’t. Then it all feels just a little bit too much.
Drink that wine. Have that coffee.

Pop that pill.

Dance.                     Dance.                       Dance.

Because outside it’s raining,, hasn’t stopped for days. And it’s hot in the middle of winter. The weather keeps changing. So too do our leaders. Hot and bothered. Switch on the air conditioning. Listen to the news. You don’t know who to believe amongst the talk, the shouting and the violence that’s everywhere on the news, in the paper. Headphones. Music. Block out. Tweet Tweet. Another bad story.
Tweet Tweet.

Switch off.

Switch on, because here there’s love. Lots of love. Loving life, loving your job, your man, your
woman. She went there and then he did this, they look so happy. Shouldn’t you be doing this?
Because now they’re together, but soon they’re not. Does this mean you’re not going to be together?
Stay together. But children, what about the children? You want children? Don’t we all want
children? Well maybe you don’t, maybe you want to work instead. A ‘life’ instead. So wait, until you
have enough money, time, the right home, the right car, wait. But you need a little bit more time, to
do this all before you travel there.

What else can I do, it’s not like I have another choice?
Swipe left.

Swipe right.

There are so many choices.
Maybe too much choice.

And it’s still raining, yet the world can’t keep sustaining this lifestyle you want to live, not that it’s
you, you’re just buying it, what you’re being fed. But did you know there’s just not enough trees? Is
that what you want? No trees?

You do know what you want though? Who you are? How you want to be?

If not that’s okay.





Smile. Breathe. Go slowly.


Four little words posted on my desk at work – smile, breathe, go slowly. Not a loud enough reminder on those days when I was caught in the whirlwind that was my work life. And where were these words outside of the office when work had causally walked out the door right there beside me? My phone (and strangely my wardrobe) had become synonymous with ‘work’. There was no use switching it off though, not when I couldn’t do the same to my mind.

I was forever envious of those around me that seemed to have ‘it all sorted’ (i.e. had clear separation between work, love and life and all the mental peace and sanity that goes with it). An envy that allowed my mind to constantly wander into all sorts of self-help and personal development genres to see how things could be improved. Because that was the only solution right? Change myself. The perfect antidote for any performance-driven perfectionist.

I guess it came down to that ever present question of “why?” Why does my mind seem to always go to the worst-case scenario? Why are they making these types of decisions at work when we actually don’t have the capacity to deliver it? Why have they said yes to such a short time frame? Why am I feeling so run-down all the time? Why am I finding it hard to connect with people outside of work (well outside of their phone)? Why does work seem to dictate my mood?

After years of sustaining this frustration, I finally walked away from this world for a while and into my own world of study and exploration. Here I discovered it wasn’t just me, and that it certainly wasn’t just my industry; I discovered that there are certain conditions we as individuals will find stressful (pace, change, instability and the unknown); I discovered that sustained stress of this nature is detrimental to mental and physical health, affecting performance, relationships and perceptions of lives; I also discovered that we (organisations and individuals) were the first to disregard such knowledge in the face of ambition, fear and financial success.

Guided by my frustration and inspired by something else, I finally expressed my thoughts in the words you read above. I wanted to capture the chaos that we either feel or ignore, to help make sense of these feelings and hopefully reassure. Or perhaps this time I was inviting you to question whether or not you were truly happy with this life the world is so quickly accepting as normal.


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  1. Amanda

    Those words!! What more can I say except that I felt the chaos when reading them. It’s the exact feeling I get when work and life becomes overwhelming. I am only beginning to realise that I alone can control what I do + think + feel. No one else is responsible.

    Smile. Breathe. Go slowly. The perfect reminder that I can choose how to react.

    Thank you for sharing such powerful words x

    • Jarka Kunova

      Thank you, Gorgeous Amanda for your kind words. The awareness is indeed powerful and it can serve as a catalyst for change. So glad to hear that you are tuning into your power and influencing your reality. x

  2. Kathy Wong

    I really enjoyed your article. Im focused heavily myself on slowing down to speed up on a daily basis. I know I control all thats in my life by how I choose to feel. X

    • Jarka Kunova

      Thank you, Kathy for sharing. Slowing down in order to be fully present and being able to get through the demands of the day are indeed very good pointers. Jx

  3. Kris

    Charlotte, what an emotional, honest, and descriptive article on modern work work work. I haven’t worked in an office for almost ten years, but the power of your words had my heart pounding, thumping again, remembering the stress of it all. Thankfully I work and parent and everything else from home, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Thank you for sharing your heart xxx

  4. Murielle Marie

    I absolutely love this post. And oh dear yes you created that chaos for me at the start of this post, I was feeling it! What an experience, and a life I used to live as well… the second part of the post is so peaceful, and gives that perfect contrast between how the glorification of busy can be as opposed to a life lived mindfully. Loved reading it, thank you for sharing it. If only we could all wake up to the present moment, to our lives… the world would be such a different place.

  5. Ainslie Young

    What a beautifully crafted and written article. These words remind me of why I stepped away from the sustained stress I had created in my life.

    “Smile. Breathe. Go Slowly.” Such a beautiful mantra and reiterates my new ethos of ‘slow success.’

    Thank you for the reminder. It was a great read!
    Ainslie x

  6. Erin

    I could feel the chaos. Charlotte, your word evoke so much. I felt the stress and then with four words a sense of relief washed over me. “Smile. Breathe. Go Slowly” – oh, I love it so much. Thank you for the reminder and thank you Jarka for sharing Charlotte’s lovely article.

  7. Charlotte Brady

    Thank you. Believe it or not, I’m a little speechless.

  8. Elizabeth Murphy

    What a great read, thank you Charlotte. Like others, I certainly felt the chaos and it reminded me why I left the corporate world. Thank you for such a thoughtful, considered and beautifully written piece. Elizabeth xxx


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