Robots are on route to replace five million jobs by 2020; Robots will replace 50% of human jobs in the next 20 years… Many of these articles are appearing every single day. And in my opinion, many of these articles are just here to scare us, get more readers on the site, and sell more advertisements. Before robots, they scared us with immigrants stealing our jobs, and after robots, I suspect that will scare us with aliens stealing our jobs.
Many professions have already gone extinct, but the people who worked at these professions found new careers in some other field. So is our future as dark as these articles are telling us or will we find another way as we always have before?
Can you believe that before the days when alarm clocks were affordable or even reliable there were people called “knocker-uppers” or “human alarm clocks”? They went about early in the morning to wake the people who hired them to do so. They would scream at the top of their lungs, throw pebbles at windows, or use long poles to knock on the windows of their clients’ houses just to be sure that their customers would get to work on time. You probably never heard about this profession until today.
Antoine Redier was the first to patent an adjustable mechanical alarm clock in 1847. All of these new ideas and inventions changed the world and have flushed such jobs like “knocker-uppers” out. As the world continues to progress we will see even more instances like this occur.
The future is in us and not in what we do; we humans are the ones that made the jobs we do now, and as the human race develops the society changes and our needs and jobs change as well. We are here because our need for improvements dragged us from caves into buildings. Our fascination with flight took us from kite flying in China (5th century BC by Mo Di and Gongshu Ban) to the Wright brothers, who went on the first sustained and powered, heavier-than-air manned flight. And today we have ambitious plans to conquer Mars and other planets.
It makes us humans feel safe when we have a job that we have grown into, one that covers most of our needs. We are in our comfort zone. We have no reason to keep hoping for or working towards better opportunities because we don’t want to rock the boat or take any risks. This is no longer the case. Jobs are dying as new technology is born, and if your job is on the endangered list, I advise you to make some helpful plans to adjust.
“There are more sectors losing jobs than creating jobs. And the general-purpose aspect of software technology means that even the industries and jobs that it creates are not forever.” – Lawrence Summers
Technological unemployment is when people lose their jobs because of labor-saving technological advancements. Looking at it from another perspective again, we are the ones who have hopes and dreams and things we desire to achieve. It is in man’s best interest not to rely on a passing idea and to work on bettering himself. However, if we remain on the side of being reliant on jobs that won’t last or sustain us, it will be disappointing when the worst occurs. I wonder what the people who worked at the telecommunications switch boards, the artisan weavers, or the elevator operators did when their jobs became obsolete. We can only speak for those who have been constantly working on developing themselves. Some would have been ready for greater opportunities, but the others who didn’t expect such bad luck likely had to start all over again.
Jobs are disappearing at the speed of light, and futurists (those who postulate about the future) have predicted that close to two billion jobs will be obsolete by the year 2030. Considering that that makes up about 50% of all the jobs available to us. That’s a pretty scary number, right?
If we pay close attention to past technological revolutions, we can see that though new inventions make life easier for us all, they also take away some of our sources of livelihood. The best way to prevent yourself from falling into such a looming trap is to prepare.
As employees we should be flexible and learn new things because new inventions are constantly opening up new jobs. There is a great benefit to staying ahead of the tides of change; it will do us a lot of good if we develop ourselves as we wait for the jobs that currently do not exist. This quote by Louisa May Alcott says a lot about how we need to go about things. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “flexibility” as the willingness to change or try new things. The only thing that is referred to as constant is change, because it is bound to happen. Things are not the way they were and won’t remain as they are, and the earlier we accept this and prepare the better off we will be. We all should decide not to remain in a comfortable mold and instead break our minds out of that box. Employees should continue to better themselves by learning every day. The new economy of the world will carry along those who are willing to take education seriously.
How do you prepare for jobs that do not yet exist?
First, you have to know that there are jobs that will be extinct soon. These are jobs you should not go to school for and that you should not sit securely with. Some jobs will soon become 100% automated.
Secondly, by learning something new, knowledge empowers and expands the mind, which helps us become better at making decisions. Learning new things helps us meet like-minded people and create new opportunities.
Thirdly, cats won’t be dying of curiosity in the future, so as an employee, a good skill to practice is curiosity. Being curious is different from being obnoxious. This has to do with a deep-seated passion for learning and to know more. It is hard for something new to escape the curious-minded person. He or she will ask questions when confused and seek answers. The Internet is a huge shelf of information about everything, and it is available to all.
Managers also need to add a new role to their portfolio; these people need to become leaders. The authority and influence that managers have over their subordinates should be used to guide, direct, and groom them in preparation for tomorrow.
Everyone keeps working in a system that has no future. When new technology arrives, new jobs become available, but who will take them up when no one is working so as not to be left out when the revolution hits?
Managers should become motivators and leaders, the new generation of workers should know that things change, and employees should be prepared and willing to go through developmental change. They should also work on attributes that will help guarantee the future, which include:
1. Ambition: When a person is ambitious, he already has something that can take him past the horizon into the future. Ambition changes the way we see things. A character that will sell a person to an employer is a palpable ambition. Organizations will hire one who has the hunger to achieve and not a bench warmer, because to have ambition is to have a strong will to excel.
2. Skills: Skill is having what it takes mentally, physically, and socially to procure employment processes that might have formerly been referred to as basic or soft skills. These include the ability to reason fast and offer useful and clear solutions, multitask, and maintain good interpersonal relationships.
3. Know-how: Leaders have to make it known to followers that it is what you have that you can give. To be employable you must have the technical ability that qualifies you. Having the know-how and displaying the values that make solutions come easy is useful in any field as it ensures that you are able to make your presence felt positively in the workplace. This can be developed through the desire to be better and taking constant action. Reading, being able to unlearn and relearn, making every effort count, all of these go beyond the teaching of the classroom. All it takes is a personal decision.
4. Worth: After gathering all the good stuff it helps to have a good sense of self-worth, not in the way that blows you up and makes you come across as cocky but a confidence that helps you present yourself in a good light. When working on yourself to prepare for the future, it should help you to know that those good traits you have been able to imbue are unique to you. This will help you break away from the fears of feeling inadequate, and it will help you trust yourself more.
Should we be scared about the future?
History tells us that technology creates more opportunities and jobs, and the same thing goes for any future jobs. Our work is changing in many ways. Take my profession, for example. A few years ago, we were on phones and print advertisements, and our database was excel spreadsheets. Now we have smart ATS, and we have many other interesting technologies at our disposal. And yes, even in my profession there is a constant fear that we will be replaced by Artificial intelligence (I hope with some really smart one). 🙂 If this happens, our jobs will evolve and we will evolve too. People who are constantly learning new things and investing into their education will be in a better position when this change happens.
Being able to accommodate the new will come in handy. As the world progresses, it will bring with it new technologies and ideas. Constant learning is the key to being prepared for any changes that the future may bring.
The future is always full of surprises, and those who are ready to live and thrive in it must prepare to be unsurprised.