You have a 4-year college degree. You’ve got a good job working for a company. You are ascending the corporate ladder. You think your future looks bright.
Here is an inconvenient truth. Your college degree is only the beginning. If you are to be successful in this new and changing economy, you must continue learning new things for the rest of your life. And…you’re on your own.
Our modern Colleges and Universities are busy educating students to work at a job for some type of organization. What happens to you if those jobs are no longer there.
There are two trends under way right now that pose huge challenges to almost every worker in the U. S. Economy.
Number 1: The Rise of Robots and Technology
The current political mantra peddled in the media today is that globalization and foreign trade are causing huge losses in the U. S. Job market.
It isn’t true.
Yes, the U. S. Economy lost manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010. But, studies reveal that 87% of those job losses were due to improvements in productivity generated by technology. ( http://ow.ly/IQTn30cMTh1 )
It gets worse. According to Futurist, Thomas Frey, ( http://ow.ly/Ax3z30cOxnM ), there are 2 billion (yes, that’s Billion) jobs disappearing by the year 2030. That represents 50% of all the jobs on the planet. To be done by robots and new software technology.
Number 2: The Rise of Freelancers
According to Forbes Magazine ( http://ow.ly/zGDB30cOxQi ) there are 53,000,000 freelancers in the U. S. Labor force today. By 2020, 50% of the labor force will be freelancers. 50%!
Even big companies like IBM and NASA are starting to do this today.( http://ow.ly/pNev30cWysR)
Does this mean we’ll all be unemployed?
No! And this is not meant to be a doomsday report. But, it is intended to be a wake-up call. Almost every job holder in America is going to be affected by these trends. Knowing what’s coming gives you an opportunity to be prepared. Fore warned is fore armed.
Here is the good news.
First, Robots will not replace everyone. There will still be plenty of jobs for humans, but they are going to change.
According to a report published by the Pew Research Center (http://ow.ly/poHm30cOz7R ), there is an argument that, “many jobs require uniquely human characteristics such as empathy, creativity, judgment, or critical thinking—and that jobs of this nature will never succumb to widespread automation.”
This is where the new jobs will come from. Those jobs don’t exist today. And…the chances are they will be taken by Freelancers. I believe Freelancing is the career of the future.
How do I do That?
Yes, I know the idea of becoming a Freelancer can be frightening. The first time I went out on my own it was 1983. I was totally unprepared emotionally. I panicked when I realized I was no longer getting a paycheck. The project didn’t go well at all. I eventually went back to working for a big company.
Today it’s different. If you educate yourself and prepare emotionally, you should be fine. Our economy is rapidly becoming a “gig” economy. That means you will be working from one gig to the next.
You should start by educating yourself.
The Advantages of Lifelong Learning.
Let’s start with what you are doing now. I am going to assume you like the job and industry you are in. You have spent years learning about it and you are good at what you do.
What are the aspects of your job or industry segment that could be automated? Think about all the repetitive grunt work that could be done by a robot or a computer software program. Think hard about the people that could be replaced. Get wild with it.
Now, what are the aspects of your job that need human contact? What about judgment? Listening to customers, clients, or other departments? Deciding how to improve the computer programs? What about creativity? Thinking up new ways for the software programs to accomplish new things? Consulting with companies on picking the latest technology to use?
How many people could be displaced?
Make a list.
Go to the Library. Use databases at the library to find research papers.
Go to Amazon. Get books.
Google trade magazines, white papers, and case studies.
Find MOOCs (Massive, Open, On-line, Courses) in your field and take them.
You have to become the expert in how companies in your industry are going to employ the latest technology. Because when the changes start to come, it won’t be just the company you are working for now. It will be every company in your industry. If you are a Freelancer, you can hire out to lots of them. At a very good price.
And…you can’t stop. Freelancers have to be involved in lifelong learning. You have to stay ahead of the curve. You have to keep reading, keep thinking, keep interacting with other Freelancers in your field.
It is estimated now that the entire body of human knowledge is doubling every 13 months ( http://ow.ly/Tg6J30cWD7v ). IBM estimates that in the near future, this doubling will occur every 12 minutes.
It’s All up to you
Here is your challenge. It’s up to you. You have to do this on your own.
You must start today. If you wait, you’ll be one of those out on the street wondering what the hell happened.
You can’t go to school for this. Our education system is woefully behind on these issues. They don’t have classes for jobs that don’t exist today. Creating those classes could be your one of your jobs.
There are huge opportunities here. If you start now, think now, read books and papers now, develop ideas now, you’ll be the one getting the well-paid gigs.
It’s a race. And to the victor belongs the spoils.