August 27, 2020
Interview - "I aspire to a simpler and more responsible way of life"
Karen is Turningpoint's youngest employee. At 22 years old, she is very committed to environmental issues. A graduate of Sciences Po Paris, after a one-year work-study program at Turningpoint, she is starting out as a freelancer. Today, she sheds light on her own generation, Gen Z, who are shaking up the workplace.
What values guide you professionally?
The values that I hold most dear, on a professional level, are freedom and a work/life balance. Why should we feel pressured to accept the "metro-work-sleep" routine, by presenteeism or by the 9.30am-7:30pm workday? Personally, I refuse, because I aspire to a more "nomadic" life consistent with my principles, namely a life of travel, adventure and encounters with a minimal ecological footprint. Because I believe that this way of life is possible, certainly simpler, and more frugal.
As soon as I finish my work-study program in September, I will test a new way of life, with a simpler pace. I am not looking to make a profit. I am well aware I may encounter practical difficulties, such as a good wifi connection. I often asked myself if this lifestyle will be compatible with a professional activity and if I can continue to develop new skills. Today, however, I am more confident, notably thanks to the Covid pandemic. Working remotely has become the way of life for everyone, across the board, and we are now moving towards new ways of working.
What is your hope for businesses?
While looking for a work-study program last year, I signed the "Manifesto for an ecological awakening". It was an online petition by students promoting ecological transition commitment by choosing committed employers.
Like many others of my generation, I believe that all companies today should be aware of their responsibility and their impact on society. Sustainable development objectives must be integrated into strategies, decision-making, investments and politics, in order to face the current ecological crisis.
How was your commitment at Turningpoint consistent with your principles?
The fact that Turningpoint is certified by B-Corp and Ecovadis Gold, only reinforced my choice to do my work-study program at Turningpoint and was a determining factor. The ethical dimension and human ecology are anchored in Turningpoint's DNA. During my time at Turningpoint, I was able to renew the Ecovadis certification, and thus enhance the CSR actions within Turningpoint: notably the quality of life of employees, work-life balance, charity donations, skills sponsorship, etc.
How do these principles influence your personal life?
My ecological convictions lead me to rethink my lifestyle. This applies to my travel, my consumption patterns, the way I eat and dress... I am therefore moving towards more sustainable and responsible consumption habits.
Take my way of travelling, this winter, I travelled to Rome from Paris. The easiest way would have been to fly with my family. Wishing to avoid travel method, I asked my manager if it was possible to work remotely and take the train on the Friday. With her agreement, I was able to stop in Southern France, sleep at a friend's house, then take the train the next day to Rome and arrive in time to meet my family. Finally, it was easy, one adapts and finds alternatives! Obviously, it is longer, but personally I don't see it as a constraint, on the contrary. It creates unique opportunities to meet new people and to simply take the time.
This way of travelling is called Slow Travel. I can continue to travel, but taking my time and paying attention to the impact of my journey. I try to limit air travel without going to extremes. Coming from Reunion Island, it is still difficult for me to decide not to fly there at all. To go see my family, I am contemplating other means of transport to change continent. One day maybe I will go there by cargo ship or hitchhiking, who knows? Even if it might take several months, it represents new potential adventures.
These are some of the ways I'm projecting myself towards a simpler and slower way of life. I have always been very inspired by Gandhi's famous quote "Be the change you want to see in the world". I make these choices primarily for myself and hope that it will help the people around me in the best possible way.
I am also sensitive to a person's ecology and spiritual dimension. I believe in the importance of our individual responsibility and in the impact of our words, gestures, actions, and actions.
I want to embody these convictions through my professional activity, which I have launched and already have two clients. My objective is to put my skills (organization, management, human resources, project management, creativity, etc.) at the service of projects with a positive impact. I am convinced that the more I believe in the projects I am working on, the more impact I will have.