Preparing Boys for the World of Work

One of our most important jobs as parents is preparing our boys for the world of work.

The work world, though, has changed dramatically over the last few decades. “There’s been a shift from the competitive dog-eat-dog/rat race to a flatter, faster and fairness-focused world of work,” says Ed Frauenheim, co-author of Reinventing Masculinity: The Liberating Power of Compassion and Connection.

Increasingly, organizations want (and need!) employees and leaders who are flexible and eager to learn and collaborate. They need (and want) employees who can admit their own vulnerabilities, who respect the contributions of others. The work world of today is not particularly friendly to what Ed calls “confined masculinity,” or the traditional norms that governed male behavior for millennia.

“In confined masculinity, there are limited roles you can play as a guy: provider and protector,” Ed says. Males are expected to be stoic, self-reliant and competitive. Those traits aren’t bad, but restricting boys and men to those roles and responses is quite limiting and unhealthy. Liberating masculinity does not throw away those traits but rather adds to them. The “5 Cs” of liberating masculinity are:

  • Curiosity
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • Communication
  • Connection

Helping our boys realize that we are in community with others and that it’s okay to follow your heart is one way we can prepare boys for work. “In the work world that’s emerging, what we’re seeing is that the most successful people are givers; they are not takers,” Ed says. “They are the ones that are empathetic and willing to share.”

In this episode, Jen, Janet & Ed discuss:
  • Shifting masculine norms
  • Masculinity & work
  • Liberating masculinity vs. confined masculinity
  • How professional male athletes are modeling liberating masculinity
  • Equipping boys to deal with sexism and racism in the work world
  • Moving beyond stereotypical masculinity in the trades
  • What boys & men should look for a in a place of employment
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Reinventing Masculinity: The Liberating Power of Compassion and ConnectionEd’s new book

Great Place to Work — “the global authority on workplace culture”; includes lists to “best workplaces”

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