Don’t wait for your job extinction

The job market of the future is extremely gloomy.

We have websites that design itself (good bye web designers), we can soon detect cancer and other health issues with just a few drops of blood (adios health lab technicians) and in the near future, computers that would think just like a human being (farewell brains?)

This is progress but progress that might inevitably affect your ability to continue to draw that stable paycheck. And that is what had happened not so long ago in Singapore.

We already seen that happened to our semi-con and HDD manufacturing industry.

Across others we had seen the extinction of bus conductors and driver-less trains. We also witnessed tablets taking over as order takers in restaurants and fully automated robotic cleaners.

I’ve participated in numerous career fairs and if there is a group of people I can’t help, it would be the one that got displaced due to (for lack of a better word) progress.

They carry with them decades of sharpened skill sets and experiences that their modern world no longer appreciate. Know-hows that are obsolete and isn’t needed in an ever evolving economy.

I didn’t have a magic solution for them and neither do I have it now.

But I did ask a few of them what they might have done differently if they had the benefit of foresight. If you happens to be in a dying trade or sunset industries, I hope the following could guide you to a better direction.

  1. Be brave enough to walk away – Many of them didn’t come to know about the demise of their jobs or industries the night before. They probably would have seen and witness the frequent restructuring and retrenchment before it became their turn. But they chose to ignore the red flags as it had been an easier thing to do. If they had chosen to walk away and head into something else, they would be in a better position today.
  2. Evolve with times – Even before one just walk away, there is an opportunity to evolve and move with times. Technology is the best example. There are certain programming languages that are going the way of the dinosaur yet many continue to cling on to the dying art in hope that things would improve. Keeping your finger on the pulse of the market and never resting completely on your laurels would be an ideal strategy to keep yourself “combat fit”.
  3. Start their own thing – A few of them regretted not starting their own business when they had the chance because they were too busy pursuing the riches from a stable job. Many were also enjoying the great perks of flying business around the world. Why give all that up for a work desk in the form of their bedroom? My personal best decision in life was to start my own business because the experience taught me more about everything than I believe a PhD could.

Always be curious, read more and be on a constant lookout for opportunities. This adage will serve you well to guide you away from own job extinction.

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