NANCY’S BLOG: Working For A Living.

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Working for a living.

The conversation on the future of work is raging – I just googled the phrase and got 348,000,000 links (how’s that for a nice even number). While a giant topic to cover, this week Cultural Acupuncture took a closer look at the quality of work in the future (versus the quantity of it).

Let’s start by where work fits into our lives overall? Seems Millennials, once again, have it figured out as they take the lead in defining the American Dream, prioritizing freedom ahead of affluence or owning a home (or driveway) full of possessions. And this isn’t just a youthful indulgence; of all who have made that trade from less work to more freedom, across ages and lifestyles, 86% report being so much happier for it.

While this will clearly have repercussions on our consumer-spending-lead GDP, maybe it’s a good thing that robots will be coming in to rescue us from the drudgery of most of our daily work tasks. PEW recently asked 12,000 folks, experts and ordinary members of the public, what they thought of regarding advancing automation’s impact on work, and as expected, enthusiasm was split with some believing that human interaction will become the ultimate luxury. While the debate continues on whether automation will help or hurt workers worldwide, a new conversation on employee wellbeing is taking hold.

Both Starbuck’s and WalMart have made their scheduling practices more humane — and after an employee walkout at a Chipotle last week, they may be the next up on the reform block. The concern for fair wages, better scheduling, and overall investment in learning and training, is being led by private companies. They are well connected to their communities, and feel liberated to make these choices away from the glare of Wall Street earnings demands.

We wonder, what would happen if it were the other way around? What if public shareholders became more concerned about our collective good and the need to keep neighborhoods strong and skilled workers in the game?

Encouragingly some have awakened to realize that corporations really are the engine to drive the greatest good. We couldn’t agree more with Dr. Lynda Gratton’s conclusion: “Never before have corporations been so large, so wealthy, so powerful, and so rich in human creativity and endeavor. It is critical to our success and to the livelihood of our global population for them to understand that their future is entirely caught up in their ability to find solutions.”

Amen, sista! That’s what we mean by playing big.

xo Nancy

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