TCK SUMMIT: Future of Work with Myra Dumapias

Myra Dumapias is a writer, educator and the part time CEO of nonprofit organization TCKid: A Home for Third Culture Kids. 

As the second director of TCKid after founder Brice Royer, Myra launched TCKid TV and TCKid Research Bridge. Daughter of a second generation career diplomat, Myra grew up in China, Malaysia, Philippines, USA, and Germany, spent college years in Bahrain and S. Korea, and as a parent, has lived in Bahrain. Myra created The Last Boarding Call for the globally mobile, on ageing, disability and caregiving. As a Social Work professor, she integrates global awareness into cultural competency standards.

Kicking off the fifth month of our year long summit, we asked Myra to share more about her experiences and the future of work…

Watch the full (15 minute) video here.

Whenever we consider improving work as a global society, we need to understand that value of TCKs perspectives. They (TCKs) often have deeper knowledge of situations behind the impressions of visitors or observers.

For me, TCK identity is a challenge to the status quo of social norms. I grew up being sensitive to labels because labels tend to miss the value of basic human experience when you are free from preexisting experience. As a TCK, I’ve experienced things like stepping out of a hotel in Beijing in China and being surrounded by people who had never seen Philippinos and so on. However, growing up in an international school, I wasn’t limited by people’s expectations.

For me, being a TCK means I acknowledge I may not know everything about a person. Growing up, reality was something I could easily question. It means you can reach out for what you don’t know, which I think explains why so many TCKs are gifted in communication.

The future of work to me will have to include more diversified work environments and cultures that are more inclusive of difference. It is a work environment and the relationships within coworkers will influence the work, There should not be a work culture that favors one leadership type. The future of work should involve minimizing this one atmosphere.

If we are propelling TCKs to the forefront, we need to look to ourselves first and check whether we are allowing for a diversified face of who TCKs are. It is important for TCK leaders to encourage marginalized TCK experiences. We have to question ourselves to see if the work that is prominent in the community involves people who may not have the resources to propel themselves – we have to look at what is not there.

If we are to influence the shape of the future of work, TCKs can be trailblazers in many ways. I talk about globally mobile families in my blog, who are falling through the gap in the retirement process. For example, it is possible that the social status of a diplomat can suddenly plummet after a health crisis. Without adequate retirement systems, this can cause huge complexities. There are questions over who is the caregiver or even where a burial plot will be. I elaborate on these topics in my blog, The Last Boarding Call.

When it comes to cultivating a TCK mindset and enabling individuals to embrace the future of work, TCKs have certain information journalists never will. When a TCK can be involved in planning, design and evaluation, they can make a huge difference. However, there are differences between TCKS, especially as not all TCKs are of equal level of privileges in upbringing.

We need to look internally and ask ourselves whether we are hearing from all TCKs, how does discourse affect our communities. Are there questions we miss asking? Is there something about the expat life that can be more sensitive about areas we marginalize? When it comes to the work we do in the TCK field, have we created a profile of who and what TCKS are that leave out certain experiences? Are there some people that don’t identify as a TCK because they don’t connect with all stories out there? If we can acknowledge that not all stories are on the table yet, then I believe it’s a great place to start propelling ourselves for the future of work and values revolution.