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Is Technology Causing People to Lose Their Jobs?

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You can’t open up your laptop or turn on the TV without reading or hearing something about technological advancements.  We get it.  There are robots and artificial intelligence, and we are just trying to keep up. Oh, and they’re replacing all of our jobs.  Got it. 

Yes, there are major developments and growth projections that are exciting but it’s no big mystery why these advancements and our anxiety levels are rising together.  

Humans versus the Robots 

 It’s tempting to look into a Jetson-like future and just see weird looking white plastic robots doing everything a human used to do: driving you to your local favorite coffee shop, handing you your coffee, dropping you off at work, organizing your schedule and taking your calls for you.  Here it comes with more coffee. 

And that’s best-case scenario in many of our imaginations. We still have our job!  But the fear of being phased out and replaced by artificial intelligence is palpable.  If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve already seen our farming, manufacturing, and railroad industries shrink dramatically in human workers, while still increasing production.  All due to technology. 

A Different Way 

But amidst all the headlines and alarmists running around telling us the sky is falling, we’re here to suggest a different perspective. 

It doesn’t have to be this way at all. 

We think there’s a different way to approach and integrate ourselves into the changing landscape in a way that will result in us becoming more valuable and relevant than we are right now. 

Our biggest asset is our humanity.  Technology is still quite limited and a long way from the intuition, interpersonal skills, and ability to deeply understand data and context that humans do.  It will take a long time to touch that. 

So what can we do now?  How do we stay relevant? 

Tips for Staying Relevant in the Workplace 

With the human advantage in mind, here is our suggested game plan: 

  1. Interpersonal networking 

Relationships can’t be replaced by technology.  Truly listening to another person, sharing and providing feedback are nuanced and powerful.  Strengthening this aspect of your work not only connects you to other people, it can help keep your ear to the ground for coming changes, put you in the line of sight of decision makers and help sharpen your own skills. 

  • Embrace the technology 

Perhaps, the biggest benefit here is the most obvious: you don’t get left behind. Your clients are benefiting from it already and expect that the person they’re working with is part of that progress as well.  When you combine the relationship you have established with them and a proven acclimation to industry changes (especially how it applies to your client), that trust will solidify. 

  • Understand (and meet!) your client’s needs better than anyone else 

Your clients have options so it’s important that you establish yourself as a trusted, efficient expert in your field.  If your industry has been based on gathering and organizing data (bookkeeping, for example), that aspect of your job has been under the threat of new technology that can do that at rapid speeds and with near flawless accuracy. 

That sounds ominous, but there are major advantages to being a human vs a robot.  One of the more impactful distinguishers is your ability to offer your clients counsel.  You have the power to become a trusted advisor. 

  • Get the extra training 

This may require intentionality and some strategy on your part.  In other words, don’t wait on your boss to require this training.  Technology is not great at intuitively looking ahead and coming up with creative solutions, but you can. 

Think about what training may be useful to someone several rungs up the ladder ahead of you (job postings lay this out in detail).  Then go pursue that training.   

“To determine what skills are in demand today, Scudder recommends looking at job postings for positions that are one or two steps above your current role. “It’s like reverse engineering,” says Scudder. “You’re seeing what core competencies and skills employers are looking for.” 

Once you’ve identified the skills that you’re looking to gain, take a targeted approach by seeking out both internal and external training opportunities.” 

(from Monster) 

  • Use social media to your advantage 

We know that social media is here to stay, but what about for business?  How can you use it in your work life to stay ahead of the curve?  It’s actually pretty simple. Social media is all about connection.  In this age, chances are your client base (especially if they’re millennials) are wanting to engage with the companies and brands they are loyal to.   

Again, artificial intelligence can’t replace human engagement, but you can and social media is where your clients are already spending time. 

Conclusion 

We’re not going back to a time before technology changed our world, but we do have advantages that can’t be replicated.  You have abilities and intuition that can’t be programmed.  Use these to your advantage and watch your connections to your clients deepen instead of grow weaker. 

Yes, it requires a new way of thinking, but if the end result is business done faster, with better accuracy AND better connections, that can’t be a bad thing. 

DoughGetters