When you were a child, what did you dream of becoming when you grew up?
A movie star? An astronaut? A fireman? A nurse? A ballerina? An artist? A chef?
I wanted to be a singer, a spy or both (I was quite taken by the idea of travelling around the world performing as a rockstar while moonlighting as a secret agent, Mata Hari style). As it turned out, I got to do both, sort of.
While I cannot claim to be famous, I was selected to represent my country at the international Performing Arts Championships in Los Angeles, cast in a professional musical production, had a (bad, even I admit) music video that played on network TV for a while, and I did get paid to both perform and teach music. All of this should, technically, count as an – albeit short-lived – singing career.
Also, while I am not exactly a real spy, I am, as a professional trend analyst, paid to watch, observe and write reports on people, often without their knowledge. This sounds a lot like spying to me.
While your own childhood dreams may or may not have been as unrealistically grandiose as my own, I am still willing to bet “accountant”, “McDonalds burger chef” and “call centre agent” were not top of your list.
I bet you wanted to do something more fulfilling with your life than a mundane, repetitive, process-driven function.
I also bet that if you are stuck in a soul-destroying robotic role, no matter how well it pays (hi again, accountants), there is a part of you that wishes you could do something more meaningful with the most productive hours and years of your life, that still wants to do what the five-year-old version of yourself wanted to do all those years ago.
The good news is, you may soon be forced to do exactly that.
The robots are coming for your bullsh*t job.
Routine, process-driven jobs are the most at risk of automation. If your job involves processes and repetition – whether you work in a white-collar corner office or a blue collar factory – you are at high risk of being made redundant by a robot or algorithm.
The bad news is, the robots are coming.
Experts expect anywhere between 20% and 50% of jobs worldwide are at some risk of replacement by technology. Of course, technology will also continue to create many new as yet unimaginable jobs (hi social media managers), but the fact remains, many, many people will have to switch careers (often more than once) in order to survive.
The good news is the jobs and job functions most at risk are the jobs hardly anyone actually enjoys doing anyway (this is also probably why someone took the time to automate them – they were tired of doing the job themselves).
The really good news is that the dream job really wanted to do when you were a child is probably still up for grabs.
The world still wants muses, musicians and movie stars.