Hundreds, perhaps thousands of kinds jobs have been eliminated by advancing technology and changing times. This will continue into the future and forever. Will yours be one of the jobs to be eliminated in the near future? If so, what are you doing now, or will do in the future, to prepare yourself for a changing career landscape?
To illustrate, here are but a few of the jobs that are already gone or have changed dramatically in recent years:
- Almost anything to do with typewriters and paper
- Radio and newspaper reporters
- Video (store employees and owners, videographers, distributors, manufacturers, movie studios)
- Cashiers and bank tellers
- Call center staffs
- Receptionists, secretaries and administrative professionals
- Draftsmen, “desktop publishers” and typesetters
- Postal employees
- Travel agents
- Fighter pilots
We can all add names to this list. Even top executives and corporate or organizational leaders face uncertainty, as companies buy and sell each other, sacrificing one CEO’s or president’s position for efficiency’s sake as there is almost never a need for two. So what are we supposed to do as we move through our careers trying to make a good living for ourselves and our families?
Ongoing education, new language skills are essential
One thing is certain. The last class we attended, whether it was in trade school or for our doctorate, should not be the final. We must all continue to learn to keep up with the demands of society. In the United States, we need to take this very seriously as the rest of the world is ahead of us in the important subjects, such as math, science and technology, writing and reading. This is true with our students of all ages, including adults.
Can Americans keep up? Absolutely. But, we will need to refocus on the important subjects within our own professions. I know we can learn new things. Take fantasy sports, for example, which js a serious, multi-million dollar business. We are likely the global leader of the fantasy sports industry, especially football. But what if one day, out of nowhere, the rabid sports fans of some foreign geopolitical power came along and began to beat us at our own game. Would we take it? Certainly, we’d work harder to draft better players, make smarter trades, and reclaim our championship position. At least I’d like to think we would. We have yet to reclaim the world’s lead in science and engineering…
The passion many of us have for fantasy sports is exact kind of fervor we need to face global competition for future jobs. What if we were told we could only compete in fantasy sports in another language, like Hindi, Japanese or Mandarin? Would we stop playing? Again, I’d like to think we’d pick up a second or third language. Think of all the computer programmers in the world that learned English so that they could code. Most all PC code is English, yet there are millions of programmers all over the world. For them, learning English was a matter of career survival.
So let’s master those languages now. (Especially Spanish! After all, approximately 40 million people in the United States speak Spanish today, and that number is projected to grow.) Also, we must recognize the urgency to first “get equal” with the rest of the world and then reclaim the passion to “get ahead.”
The jobs of the future will be occupied by those with the best educations and command of the most relevant languages. Make technology a mark of empowerment, not a measure of excuse.