Oops, There Goes Your Job!

Jobs are interesting things. Some of them, anyway. There are those show stoppers at dinner parties that leave everyone at a loss for words as to what to say next (test this on your nearest accountant).

Up there with black hole investigators and those who mix paint colours (how many off-white selections can there be, anyway?), are futurists. These are the people who get peppered with liquorice allsorts type of questions. Not every day you meet someone who predicts the future without a crystal ball, after all.

So let me lead you down the rabbit hole to what a futurist might tell you, were you to meet one at a social event. Warning: This will be a sobering sort of discussion. Steer well away from them at wine tastings, if you’re so inclined.

Dude, where’s my job?

Should Thomas Frey be in the room, he’d soon make you choke on your entrée…since he’s predicted that 2 billion jobs, or half the jobs in existence today, will have disappeared by 2030.

What’s bad for you?

Unless you’re a black hole investigator, you might well soon be out of a job title. It does raise the quick question…how valuable is the thing you’re doing every day from 8 to 5, anyway?

What’s in it for you?

His prediction isn’t due to everything from stroking the cat to feeding the baby being replaced by machines. Technology, and the times, they are a’changing, and with that comes new opportunities for those on the lookout. Be one of those, and you’ll be just fine (or even more than, should you create something more addictive than checking friends’ feeds on Facebook).

Press ‘1’ for speech

Of course, while not *everything* will become mechanised, tons will. Robot employment was up by 40% between 2011 and 2012. This being 2015, it won’t be at all surprising if the stats are even more skyward by now. Ultimately, we’re already slaves to our electronics. In future, the manufacturing and service industries will continue to say goodbye to a lot of HR-managed workers as IT takes over care of a companies’ tin workforce.

What’s bad for you?

If it’s cheaper – and more effective – to automate your current job than to continue crunching the numbers on your payslip, then don’t expect to be CC’d on company emails much longer. You might well be on your way to being replaced by R2D2.

What’s in it for you?

If you have children, let them hone their tech skills. A STEM resume is one that won’t easily be overlooked. Someone needs to look after all those robots. If you’re needing to figure out how to feed your kids in the interim, keep up to speed with the latest and greatest in your industry, and get out of the horseshoe business before the corner supermarket starts selling cars. Most won’t. You’ll have an edge.

How do you open this thing?

Anyone who’s ever worked in the education sector would know that if it were up to teenagers, the world would be populated by doctors, lawyers, and rock stars. And not much else. We’re becoming increasingly blinded by our bubble-perceptions of the job market that hard skills will be left in the lurch.

What’s bad for you?

You might have to unclog your own underground pipes soon enough, if the career perceptions of the youth have anything to do with it. Or wait, there’ll probably be a machine for that.

What’s in it for you?

With everyone chasing a limited scope of careers, those who stick around building up their technical skills set will be among the top choices when teams are picked for Armageddon survival when those robots go all Matrix on us.

Grab it by the tail before it slips away

Jobs will come and go. You’d know this, based solely on the fact that you’ve never met a bowling alley pinsetter or a lamplighter. What will never go out of fashion is, stating the obvious, staying current. You’re not a racing horse – wearing blinders is not part of your professional repertoire. Look to the future, and adjust your place in the job market accordingly.