At the end of the year, I often heard the following sentence: “Next year can only be better”. Unfortunately, we have to realize that the last few years have shown us again and again that this is not really the case. At least that’s my personal view. Of course, in Germany in general and in my personal case, this might be still complaining at a high level. But as we all know, everything is relative. Just after we had survived the coronavirus pandemic, there was a big sigh of relief at the beginning of 2022 and a lot of optimism had spread again. Then Putin invaded the Ukraine shortly afterwards. My personal review 2023 is also very much based on mixed feelings and it is becoming increasingly difficult to look ahead with optimism.
The global political situation is becoming increasingly unstable
The war in Ukraine continues unabated with no prospect of a long-term peace solution that all sides could live with. In addition, the conflict in Israel has escalated to an extent not seen for decades, with the risk of further escalation throughout the region. And these are just the conflicts that are reported daily in the news. In addition, there are countless other wars that have been completely forgotten because they are either far away or because they are not about natural resources, raw materials or other strategic interests of the so-called Western world. In general, the entire global political situation is more unstable than ever before. Even during the Cold War, the situation was much more stable in retrospect. The position of the USA in the world has changed fundamentally and things are anything but calm there in terms of domestic politics. On the other side is a Russian dictator who is once again dreaming of the Soviet Union and a ruler in China who is very firmly in the saddle and is pursuing his geostrategic interests more intensively than ever before.
Things are not looking much better domestically
Politics in Germany has been characterized by chaos in the current government for months now. The interests of the political parties and the egos of individual members of government continue to take the center stage, although it is always being preached that “the well-being of the country and its citizens comes first”. In any company, a supervisory board would have sacked the entire management long ago if it worked and behaved in the same way as our current government. Applied to politics, new elections would be necessary then. The problem here, however, is that even new elections would very likely plunge the republic from one chaos to the next, if you believe in current polls. It would probably all come down to a three-party coalition again, though with even more conflicting interests. The only alternative would be a coalition between the CDU and the AfD. However, nobody can really want this solution. So, unfortunately, it all looks like a classic deadlock right now.
My 2023 also had its lowlights – but its highlights too
The year 2023 got off to a difficult start for me. At the turn of the year and in January, I had to experience weeks of wavering between hope and fear as the life of a close family member hung by a thread. I experienced first-hand the stress that doctors and nursing staff in hospitals have to work under on a daily basis and yet always take the necessary time for patients and relatives. It also showed me very clearly how important immigration of qualified workers is. Without it, good hospital care could no longer be guaranteed. In February, I enthusiastically founded a software development outsourcing company together with a former colleague. And just as we were in the starting blocks, my business partner passed away completely unexpected. That was not only a huge personal loss, but also set everything back to square one. At the end of March, I then accepted a contract with a start-up that develops and sells solutions for the digitalization in the areas of education and care. Over the months, this mandate has developed into a trustful collaboration and we have achieved a lot together to position the company for the future and further growth. I call this a “successful transformation at a strategic inflection point”. And for this project I was honored with the Interim Management Excellence Award during the congress of the DDIM (German Interim Management Association) in November. I was very pleased about this, especially as this award is an “honest” award based on strict criteria and is not on financial contributions like many others that I also got offered repeatedly.
What will the year 2024 bring?
Still you can hear the phrase here and there that 2024 can only get better. But I hear it much less than in previous years. When I spoke to friends and colleagues in the last few weeks of the year, I couldn’t really sense much optimism. The last three to four years seem to have left their mark and there is an increasing sense of hopelessness and a slightly depressive mood. At least that’s my impression. As an individual, you feel powerless to have any real influence on major challenges such as the climate change or the general global political situation. But everyone can make a positive change in their own environment, be it at work or in their private lives. Like every year, this is also my resolution for 2024. My collaboration with the already mentioned start-up company will most likely enter a second, even more intensive phase at the beginning of the year. We will continue our software development company in the spirit of my late business partner. The course has already been set and we are optimistic that we will be able to celebrate our first successes in 2024. I also have some concrete private plans for next year. Despite everything, all of this makes me look positively towards 2024.