We’ve all heard the news reports about the rise of machines in the workplace. In the past, robots did manual labor; today they do professional work. Stock analysts, nurses, telemarketers, even journalists are now being handed their pink slips thanks to some pushy machine.
So, what should a Career Activist do?
The experts suggest that you avoid routine jobs. Machines thrive where work can be organized into a series of repetitive tasks, whether those tasks involve turning screws on an assembly line or sifting through thousands of previous court cases looking for legal precedents or taking your deposits and even making loans at your local bank or selling you an airline ticket and processing your boarding pass for a business trip or entering new customer data into a computer for an insurance company.
So, thanks for the suggestion, but in reality, there isn’t a job in today’s workplace that doesn’t have at least some routine some of the time. Unless, of course, you’d like to be a poet. But then again, that’s probably not an especially good alternative, at least if you want to feed your family. Which brings us to the hard truth: there is no job today that is inherently safe from automation. The only way to achieve security, therefore, is to work differently at whatever job you have.
What does that mean?
Refuse to let your employer, your position description or your boss force you to act like a machine. Despite the examples above, the world will always need assembly line workers, lawyers, bankers, airline customer service reps and data entry people, but the humans who do that work must do it with imagination, insight and wisdom. In short, they must be poets on-the-job.
Poets use their talent – their inherent capacity for excellence – to do what machines can’t:
• Be creative – think up new and original ways that your employer could make higher quality products or operate more productively;
• Think ahead – look at how your employer’s industry or business is evolving and suggest ways for it to leverage those changes to its advantage;
• Connect the dots – find new and more effective ways for your employer to connect coworkers, business units, or suppliers and vendors.
Thankfully, machines are pedestrian thinkers. They don’t have a single inspired wire in their boxes. So, to be secure in today’s increasingly automated world, don’t imitate them. Be yourself – tap the Shakespeare who lives within.
Thanks for reading,