The Story of Work


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2. He tried to open some curtains and instead made a man fall from a ladder.

And why? Tap the power of your BrandStory for authentic connection and sales.

These are the work-life stories you read and shared the most this year.

Stand out with the freshest language and truth possible. It's possible. Start with Belief. End with Passion. Brands are a living experience — what experience, not merely a promise, does your brand deliver?

Figuring out the future of work: What’s missing from the story?

Never Lie Who truly owns your brand? Along with the impending gloom is a glimmer of utopian dreams. But in much of the efforts to date, the future of work field has systematically ignored or minimized the importance of two crucial facts.

And those oversights threaten to lead us all to the wrong conclusions about what the future might look like, and how we might act today to brighten our prospects. Indeed, the skills, adaptability, and grit of future workers will have far more to do with mothering than with schooling.

11 horror stories that happened to people at work that will make you want to work from home

In most societies, mothers bear the primary responsibility for caring for babies, getting the kids fed and to school every day, and nursing them when they fall ill. From a societal perspective, all of that is an investment in the future labor force. Most discussions of the future of work assume that future workers — or those who will be displaced and have to turn into future entrepreneurs — are materializing out of thin air.

The earliest sighting of a future worker in most future of work reports is in primary school, where we are told they learn old facts in old ways and will end up unprepared for the labor market a decade or more from now.

Picking Up Straw Bales - Work on a field - Tractor Story - Zbieranie bel słomy - Bajki Traktory

At best and too rarely , a future of work exercise will tackle childcare , but I have yet to see one that starts with actions to make moms and young children healthier, safer, and more secure today. At any given moment, women are concentrated in different occupations than men. Women are more likely to work part-time, and enter and leave employment as demands at home change.

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Women end up doing informal work more than men because they value flexibility and have fewer opportunities for formal employment. Chris yearned to adopt a healthier lifestyle, find a new sense of purpose at work, and build stronger relationships with his family members. Making this change required choosing which elements of his story to bring forward and which to let go of.

Chris reaffirmed his commitment to high performance and continuous learning, and to using his strong analytical, communication, and leadership skills.


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Retaining these narrative elements provided a solid foundation for his new story. He added a commitment to doing meaningful work that had a positive social impact. He decided to let go of the parts of his story that equated professional commitment with working at an unsustainable intensity. Chris pursued options for the next step in his career: either a customized role at his firm or a leadership role at a nonprofit. Chris worried about how others in his firm would react to his decision to leave.

In coaching, Chris reflected on other life stories that had shaped his identity. For example, his immigrant parents had always placed great value on family closeness; like them, Chris believed that the family as a unit was far more important than any organization. This provided a root system to support the development of his new career narrative.

It strengthened his conviction to define himself in his own terms and enabled him to disentangle himself from the shared alpha male narrative. When Chris told his new story with confidence, it helped his boss and others to see him in a new light and understand that his decision sprang from deeply held values.

1. He served his manager cleaning acid instead of coffee.

Once we realize that our behavior stems from stories we construct and repeat until they seem fixed in stone, we become more capable of authoring liberating stories. Reconstituting our stories so that they help us move in the direction we want to go is a process of choice and intentional sense-making.


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Any leader can begin to develop this powerful skill by learning to recognize the stories you live by — individually and collectively as a team or organization — examining their effects, and refining them to emphasize empowering elements. Monique Valcour is an executive coach, keynote speaker, and management professor. She helps clients create and sustain fulfilling and high-performance jobs, careers, workplaces, and lives.

The Story of Work The Story of Work
The Story of Work The Story of Work
The Story of Work The Story of Work
The Story of Work The Story of Work
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