We never see it coming



When your job becomes obsolete, you don't see it coming. The last time I saw a horse was close to 6 years ago. Two police officers were saddled on their horses while children admired the majestic animals in the parade. These horses were a showcase, not a mean of transportation.

When the car was invented, people weren't worried that their horses will no longer be needed. They didn't even connect the dots until the stable was transformed into a gas station. The horse went from being the de facto mean of transportation, to a luxury animal enjoyed by the very rich. Or a novelty in a parade.

The paperboy was not replaced by a bigger and faster automated android boy. The change first came when wages stagnated and grown-ups were forced to take those jobs. Labor laws also killed the tradition of underage kids delivering paper. Now these grown-ups have seen their paper route taken away by the ruthless robot that threatens to take all jobs away. The Email.

Today, J. Crew, a giant in retail with 450 stores in the U.S., has filed for bankruptcy. A great number of people will lose their jobs. But where is the faster horse replacing brick and mortar stores? It's right there on your phone. In your inbox. You order your clothe online, and you get a nice email to confirm your order.

A friend of mine worked in medical billing. She went to business school, and got a certificate in medical billing. She got a stable job in her field until one morning they added a new software to their stack. It collected bills from all agents, and sent a nicely formatted email at the end of the job. She lost her job.

The jobs that disappear are not the easy and repetitive one. For one thing, a pandemic has showed us that the a grocery bagger is more essential than a parking enforcement officer. The jobs that become obsolete are the ones you went to school for. The one you once thought was your calling. It's the one that feels important.

It's time to decouple ourselves from our jobs. The years to come will call us to be more flexible in our careers.