Will Technology Lead to Job Loss?

While sitting in my home office one Monday afternoon, I heard the trash truck doing its normal pick up. For some reason, I decided to look up from my notes when the truck stopped in front of our house. I noticed that the guy who normally runs along with the truck was not with the truck. In fact, the truck had a different structure from the ones I was used to seeing. Instead of loading from the back, this truck was loading the trash from the side. My trash company by changing the configuration of its trucks, had just eliminated the long standing jobs of the drivers assistant.

Did the assistants see this coming? I don't know. But it set me thinking "what could they have done to remain relevant and valuable to the company?"

This question of the influence of technology on jobs is one that has a lot of people concerned. I can understand, nobody wants to lose their job but the truth is that times have changed and will continue to change. The key question to answer is "how do you remain relevant and valuable to the people you serve?"

Many jobs will be eliminated because of technology, but I also believe that many jobs will be created as well. The key to staying relevant and valuable is to keep ahead of the curve, and constantly reinvent yourself.  Once you have your talent in place, you have to keep looking for new ways to provide value with what you do well.

A good example is the ongoing conflict between traditional cab companies and ride share companies like Uber. This is one battle that has only one ending; the traditional cabs will lose. Why? Because Uber users prefer Uber (or whichever rideshare service they use.) Commuters will ultimately decide the winner, and I’m yet to meet a rideshare service user who thinks traditional cabs are better. In many countries, the traditional cab groups are trying to hold sway over their elected officials. This is a losing strategy. Once politicians see that the masses are in favor of rideshare services, traditional cabs will be forced to deal with the new reality. They need to adapt or die. Instead of fighting it, they'd be better off joining the trend, eliminating the cost of buying a medallion, and investing in an Uber-like technology. Heck, it’s a no-brainer, and will reduce their operating costs.

To remain relevant:

  • Discover and develop your talents
  • Stay abreast of emerging trends and technology changes in your field
  • Keep learning new and better ways to stay relevant to your field
  • If your job will be eliminated, change the use of your talents ahead of time.

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