If the fear of losing your job to the recession hasn’t given you an ulcer, maybe this will: robots. Yes, robots, man’s modern invention that can work harder, better, faster, stronger, and—more importantly—cheaper. So, does that make technology a bad thing? How do we deal with this phenomenon, or for some of us, this ordeal? We’re only human, after all.
First, let’s take a look at five jobs under the gun.
You’ve probably noticed the self-checkout stands at the grocery store beckoning you from the long line you’re standing in. Today, they cause more headache than help, since shoppers are still figuring out where to collect their receipts. But despite this minor setback, have you noticed that these lines actually move quicker, outperforming their flesh-and-blood compatriots? Okay, so maybe it’s because shoppers in them have fewer items, but machines don’t need health benefits or overtime! All they need are some minor tweaks and repairs.
2. PBX/Phone Operators
Within the past decade, most companies have also turned to using automated telephone operators. The rampant influx of this cost-effective technology makes it difficult to dodge today. Have you called your wireless or cable provider lately? If so, you’ve probably been greeted by a robotic voice reminiscent of Apple’s MacInTalk voice recognition software. These automated machines may not be able to call in sick, but customers are subjected to a hellish, intergalactic labyrinth also known as the directory. You’ll be hard pressed to find a live person on the other end if pressing the number zero doesn’t work.
Retail stores are among the industries hit hardest by the recession. While celebrities, designers, and Anna Wintour scrambled to boost sales via Fashion’s Night Out, it didn’t stop retailers from cutting their staff loose or slashing hours and wages mercilessly. Some of us, however, hardly noticed this career genocide thanks to our digital love for online shopping. Why leave the house, miss another television show, or lift another finger when goods can be directly shipped to you?
4. Bank Tellers
ATMs are no surprise today, but how about online banking and mobile apps for smartphones? What can you not do with online banking and an ATM that a teller can do? Not much. With the help of mobile apps, you’ll also be able to deposit checks using your cell phone. Simply take a photo of both sides of the signed check, send it to your bank using the app, and immediately reap the benefits of the newly deposited funds. Yet another small win for technology around the world.
How to Stay Ahead
Unless you’ve already lost your job to technology, there’s no need to sweat bullets—even then, your solution is easy. Focus on how you can embrace technology so you aren’t reliving eerie scenes from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, in which the distinctions between humans and robots are marginal.
Master the art of communication—it’s one way that machines will never be able to compete. Take classes at a local community college to brush up on technical skills—the cost of tuition is generally pretty affordable. For others who can get their employers to sponsor them, three- to five-day classes are available on a variety of topics, ranging from how to master the Microsoft Office Suite to how to understand the fundamentals of Dreamweaver. College students can also prepare for the future by integrating computer classes into their general education, experience that will prove useful to employers upon graduation.
Originally published on Excelle