When times are hard, try being soft

I have just returned to Berlin after four months at home in Ireland. According to the current German coronavirus regulations, on entering the country, I had to go directly to my flat for ten days mandatory isolation. This is my fourth spell of quarantine in as many months. I came armed and ready, my suitcase stuffed full of caramel bars and tea, my house already stocked with groceries by a loving friend. I returned humbly. Without expectation.

So imagine… Next to my bath was a box bath bombs. In the kitchen, a chocolate…

Get thee to a post box and show someone you care

As of this month, we’re a year deep in the slow-boiling shit soup of the coronavirus pandemic. Twelve months of hokey-cokeying our way through lockdowns have left many of us isolated, scared, grieving, strung-out, financially vulnerable, disillusioned, angry and just plain bored.

We find connection where we can–in the supermarket, on a video call–but if the encounter isn’t laced with the stress of spreading the virus, then it’s a 2D pretend-a-thon where each caller tries their best not to look like they’d rather eat their computer than look at…

Close that goal-tracking app and embrace the imperfect

I see a pattern; in myself, in my friends. Particularly my female friends. It’s admirable, aspirational. Inspirational! It promotes great qualities like growth, perseverance, adaptability, investment, effort. It fills my Instagram. Books on the topic pepper my Goodreads. It’s the flavour of every hit contestant-driven show of recent years: It’s not enough to just show up and answer a few questions, Caroline, you’ve got to bake, sew, … potter. You’ve got to bake like you’ve never baked before!

I’m talking about the goal-trackin’ cult of self-optimisation.

Lessons from the classroom on growth, motivation and getting the best out of people

In the practice of the Irish Catholic tradition whence I came, let’s start with a confession: I was a very bad Irish student at school. I daydreamed in class and cheated during tests by writing the irregular verbs on a slip of paper and slipping it under the plastic of my Bic (which was very successful by the way).

When I somehow stumbled into a B in my final exam, nobody was more surprised than I was. …

Coming from a council estate isn’t shameful, attitudes towards it are

A few years ago, I was in a team-building event at work. Arranged in an awkward circle, we each had to share something about us nobody else knew. It went thusly:

“I… don’t actually like ice-cream.”

“One time, I used my neighbour’s WI-FI and didn’t tell them.”

“I’m a dog person and a cat person.”

I want you to imagine each person issuing their confession through the locked teeth of a grimace face emoji. Not liking ice-cream! Can you imagine?

My turn:

“When I was a kid me and…

Great content creation doesn’t have one single equation

Corporate storytelling is a fairly mechanical affair. You have a topic you want to push. You dress it up in such a way that your audience makes it from start to finish without falling asleep. What you dress it up with, and indeed the topic itself, you decide by carefully considering the successes and failures of other stories. There is a straight line from A to B. A line guided by data, by process and by practice. A nice, straight line.

Want to read this story later? Save it in Journal.


Maggie Devlin

Content person for fashion and sustainability. Writer. Musician. Loves words, birds and minor thirds.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store