Monthly Archives: July 2021

Crisis and the Future of Work

Crisis and the future of work are now intertwined.

And, the effects of climate change and the pandemic altered the work that we do and hope to do.

During each day, practically everyone in the workforce addresses issues. Often, these are time and place-related included in the job spec. For instance: a marketing manager’s task is in overcoming customer loyalty erosion.

However, in the first seven months of 2021, the work we do became existential.

With fires on the West Coast, and the Covid-19 Delta variant spreading like wildfire, problems and crises reached our job specs and workplaces.

And, to that end, the workplace endures a new crisis: The Great Resignation.

During 2020 and 2021, women dropped out of the workforce, often because they could not secure childcare. And many others quit knowing that a return to the co-location meant also a return of toxicity and incivility.

Perhaps the biggest crisis of all originates with hiring manager who seek to restore workplace life to pre-pandemic conditions.

Accordingly, we must strive for truly intentional workplace practices. Hiring managers must be cognizant of the issues and problems their their hired talent endure on the job so that things don’t turn critical like an out-of-control forest fire.

Also in this episode:

The story of crisis and the future of work is also told through a personal financial frame.

And the way that we handle personal finances affects our opportunities to do the future work of our dreams. People who budget well and intentionally build wealth have more future work choices than those who don’t put in the time. Absent well-tended financial resources, some are left to do work that keeps them afloat, but offers no positive meaning.

Our guest, Angela Anderson, helps people build wealth so that they can live their dreams and do meaningful work.

Full interview begins at 8:25

We must no accept that crisis and the future of work are now intertwined.

About our guest:

Angela Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Spanish from Adams State University. She lives and works in Colorado.

EPISODE DATE: July 30, 2021

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Future Work in Local Food Production

Podcaster Dan Smolen sees future work in local food production.

We have a serious food problem. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, the price of food has jumped 47 percent in the past year.

Our once reliable agricultural model scaled a food pipeline driven on abundant water, millions of acres of rich farmland, a huge supply chain, and cheap labor. However, the pandemic and climate change destroyed that model.

Most of the food that we eat travels long distances to reach our tables. During the long journey, our food loses nutritional value. Instead, growing fresh local food ensures that we are better fed. And that provides us better health outcomes.

To feed the nation and the world, we must pivot to a new model that drives future work in local food production.

Podcast guest Maurice Small is a nationally recognized regenerative farmer and social entrepreneur. He helps people to find and do meaningful work in regenerative farming.

Maurice also helps urban farmers to become instruments of food justice. As a result, people in need gain access to fresh and sustainable protein and produce.

“Food justice means that we all eat, and we all eat well.”

Maurice is leading the charge for future work in local food production.

Full interview starts at 6:37

About our guest:

Maurice Small has cultivated a national following for sustainable agriculture and healthy lifestyles in underserved communities. He collaborates with stakeholders in government, business, academia, and community to help people eat and live well. His company, Small Enterprises, and his farm are located in Atlanta, Georgia.

EPISODE DATE: July 23, 2021

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Healing an Emotionally Distressed Workforce

Future of work podcaster Dan Smolen says that the time has come for healing an emotionally distressed workforce.

Gallup’s latest workforce study is out, and it indicates that workers across the globe are suffering.

And Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, minces no words:

“What if the next global crisis is a mental health pandemic?

It is here now.”

Gallup concludes that the global workforce is enduring a second pandemic.

People who work suffer mental and emotional distress at alarming rates:

  • Nearly half of North American workers (48 percent) worry. More than half of female workers (53 percent) express worry versus 43 percent of male workers, and;
  • 57 percent of North American workers endure stress. Of these, 62 percent of female workers are affected (versus 52 percent of male workers).

What is more, 80 percent of workers worldwide disengaged from the work that they do.

In North America, the share of suffering workers is 66 percent. However, professional talent in the US and Canada expressed disengagement several years before the pandemic happened.

Meantime, SHRM published workplace insights that are equally jarring. All told, SHRM estimates that 64 percent of the workforce suffers from disengagement. And that share of suffering aligns with Gallup’s 66 percent finding.

Stress and worry cause great suffering. And we know that people who mastered work from anywhere reject a return to commuting long hours and distances to the co-location.

Healing an emotionally distressed workforce is in everyone’s best interests.

Work should not make people sick. And hiring managers must embrace new strategies and arrangements that help their team members thrive.

Rowena Hennigan at RoRemote adds important perspective to this topic, here: Ways to integrate mental health awareness into remote working

Also in this episode:

Fostering a civil workplace is key to the future of work. Civility gets people closer to good mental health.

As a self-described Chief Civility Officer, Sejal Thakkar applies her legal expertise and personal experience with discrimination to help civilize workplaces. Civility helps professionals of all backgrounds and cultures feel supported in their work. It also spares companies from lawsuits, low talent retention rates, and billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Full interview with Sejal starts at 8:06

About our guest:

Sejal Thakkar earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University. She is a TEDx speaker focused on bias. Sejal lives and works in the Bay Area of California.

EPISODE DATE: July 16, 2021

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TrainXtra Website

TEDx: The Pain, Power, and Paradox of Bias

Gallup: The State of the Global Workplace in 2021

SHRM Workplace Insight (via David Horning on Medium)

Do Our Best Days Lie Ahead?

Future of work podcaster Dan Smolen asks: do our best days lie ahead?

Lately, some workplace observers have taken me to task for the tagline of this podcast: our best days lie ahead.

With pandemic restrictions eased, we are in the midst of the biggest workforce and workplace disruption in over 100 years. Now, a career professional must come to an understanding of “new normal,” whether they office at home, remotely from another venue, at a traditional co-location, or at a hybrid combination of places.

Hiring managers from Fortune 100 CEOs to small business operators must strive for normality, to get their enterprises humming again.

However, career professionals who advocate for work as part of the day (and not the day); who drive agility and flexibility, and; who lead future of work goals will help all of us achieve better, more productive, and happier lives during work and non-work hours.

Revolutions are never pretty. But when we happy warriors render future of work goals present, then our best days lie ahead.

This, I am certain.

Also in this episode:

As the CEO of Realized Worth, Angela Parker leads an organization that inspires professionals at AT&T, Deloitte, Microsoft, Walmart and other companies with meaningful volunteer program engagements. She believes:

“Volunteering can be a safe and non-threatening space where we encounter our own humanity.”

Eighteen months separated from colleagues, people who work are seeking involvement in meaningful leadership opportunities. Oftentimes, volunteerism gets them there.

In this episode, Angela describes:

  • Realized Worth’s unique value proposition and mission. Starts at 6:36
  • How the pandemic changed volunteerism. Starts at 8:28
  • The role of skill in driving volunteer programs. Starts at 11:28
  • Ways that volunteerism helps to retain workforce members. Starts at 15:17
  • Stakeholder value and how it drives corporate social responsibility. Starts at 21:21

The full podcast interview with Angela starts at 6:36

With Angela Parker and Realized Worth delivering meaningful volunteerism opportunities, our best days lie ahead.

About our guest:

Angela Parker is a nationally recognized thought-leader in corporate volunteerism. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Media Studies from Taylor University and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Studies from IE University. Angela lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

EPISODE DATE: July 9, 2021

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The Future of Work Sherpa

In this episode, Dan discusses becoming the future of work sherpa:

Months ago, I challenged myself to come up with a succinct value statement to explain the scope of my work. I also sought to differentiate myself from other experts in future of work.

And that is how I arrived at the notion that I am the future of work sherpa whose mission it is to help people connect with work that is profound, protects the planet, empowers people and communities, and is fun to do—meaningful work.

Although I have never mountain-climbed, I am a lifelong hiker who loves the adventure of an arduous trek. And, I have always admired the unsung heroes of the Himalayas who help others ascend the world’s highest peaks.

The challenge that people seeking future work have is that their work-journey involves more than job seeking. They must DREAM, EXPLORE, STRATEGIZE and ACT to reach their work and career goals.

Oftentimes, that is too big a lift for career seekers to do on their own. They need the future of work sherpa. And that is where I come in.

Also in this episode, we meet Larysa Kautz. She is the CEO of Melwood, a nonprofit that helps people with disabilities find and do meaningful work. Larysa is not a sherpa, and certainly not a mountain-climber. But she helps her clients summon super-human skill to do the work of their dreams.

Interview begins at 6:16

Larysa Kautz earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Connecticut College and a Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School. Larysa lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

EPISODE DATE: July 2, 2021

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