Tag Archives: employees

Will technology terminate your job? Save your career with new skills and a second language

Technology, education, training, language, skillHundreds, 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. 

The Stroh Detroit Plant Closing

The following is a portion of Chapter 6, “My Stroh Years,” from my book. Stroh remains an iconic name in Detroit, and I had the good fortune to counsel the brand during its growth years. I highlight this particular selection as I feel it is important that, as a public relations professional, you must stand by your client and the community it serves through thick and thin. For many of you, this will be a revealing look into a lively tale of Detroit’s economic legacy, as well as the “why” and “how” of communicating news on behalf of a company in a responsible manner.

In 1985 the company closed its iconic Stroh brewing facility located in downtown Detroit near Interstate I-75 and Gratiot Avenue. This was a huge blow to the local economy and image of the Detroit community. The old brewing facility built in 1912 with some of the earliest buildings on the site dating to the 1860s was the most expensive brewing facility to operate in the country and was land-locked and could not expand. Our challenges at AMF, Inc. were:

  • To deliver the message that Stroh was not leaving Detroit or Michigan and would remain a major player and employer in Detroit for years to come, even though the plant was closing. The plant had been there since 1912 but the first cellars were located on the site in the early 1850s though the first Stroh brewery, then named Lion, was not completed until 1867 on the site. The brewery had been expanded many times over the years. But the facility had become the least efficient brewing plant of all brewing companies in the country. And the Stroh acquisitions had given them several newer and more efficient brewing facilities and lower production costs.
  • To minimize negative responses from business and government leaders and if possible, have these leaders say something positive about Stroh.
  • To communicate that The Stroh Brewery Company would do everything in its power to help workers find new career paths, if not another job.

In one planning meeting regarding the details of the plant closing, about twenty of us were sitting in the huge boardroom at Stroh with company officers, lawyers, investment counselors, and other senior consultants. I was the least important person in the room—I know I made the least money. They were talking about closing the plant on February 14, 1985. I got up my nerve to say… you can’t close it that day. They all looked at me like I was from outer space. What could this lowly public relations idiot be thinking… we are in charge… I could read this on their faces.

Why? They demanded.

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