TEDxSMU – Work/Life Mastery Imperative

When I read that a local version of TED was coming to Dallas via SMU,  I applied for one of the coveted participant slots.  This began my involvement with the most noteworthy thought leadership organization in the world!

The application is a wonderful exercise. You have to distill what is important to you and what you might offer such a robust forum.

Here’s an excerpt of my entry:

Seeing Texas thrive and playing a role in its future/growth is what drives me. Another area of passion is the education realm — preparing our young people for a world that is radically different than what we have experienced.

The world of womb-to-tomb employment is dead. The security of retirement/pensions/medical benefits is waning. Dr. Helen Harkness, a top futurist and career advisor, calls it the YOYO syndrome. You’re On Your Own. We all have to create our own job security and financial stability. How are our young people being taught the new work/life skills they will need to survive? This is a critical piece of the economic puzzle.

In my work in executive search, I always queried candidates about their families and early lives. And I identified an interesting trend. Probably 7 out of 10 men go into a similar line of work as their fathers. Women tend to find their vocational path on their own.

But this poses a serious question. How do young men forge a career path in families where the father is absent? Pretty scary. And a way to understand the cycle of economic dysfunction in the underclass, a sector that came to light broadly in the Katrina/New Orleans aftermath.

A possible solution? Educate the matriarchs who are raising multi-generations of children. The grandmas!

How should they encourage the young ones, particularly the males? Young people have to learn how to identify and leverage their strengths, how to look for work, how to merchandise their capabilities, how to develop their basic skill sets and how to get an education and gain financial savvy for themselves. An emphasis on reading and the economic benefit that can ensue. If you can read, you can teach yourself what you need to know to advance yourself, your family, your career.

Is any of this being taught in the churches and schools? Is it in the purview of the guidance counselors? Or should it be core classroom curricula? Or new PTA initiative? Or public/private sector synergy movement?

Not to be political, but a Work/Life Mastery imperative could be a win/win addition to any party platform, don’t you think?

Would love to hear from educators — or even politicians — on this!

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One Comment

  1. Hi Nancy! I enjoyed reading this post! The trend 7/10 men follow the work of their fathers was pretty interesting to me. That of course created your question"How do young men forge a career path in families where the father is absent?"… & one of your solutions was to teach the matriarch of the family. But what happens when that figure is absent as well? For most young minds & children, most of their education comes from whatever their school system is, TV & sometimes an overload of mis-guided information from mis-guided educators. When the process of this education is created & being developed & the question becomes " …how to develop their BASIC SKILL SETS and how to get an education and gain…", I feel that the most basic skill sets are not being taught in the first place from the very beginning. This is scary to me. Those skills are simply eating (REAL Foods), movement (REAL Exercise) & creating (REAL Thinking). All of your initiatives are GREAT (churches, schools, PTA etc.) & are wonderful places to put what I offer as one of your solutions & call R.E.A.L (Real Eating And Living) I believe a Live/Life Mastery IS a win/win addition to any party platform. Make it a great day & in good health!

Copyright © 2012 Nancy Keene