Author Topic: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed  (Read 1171 times)

danakado

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Although most people in my organization are in denial, it seems clear to me that my position (and those of my colleagues) will phase out.  I work in Finance at a large company and am a CPA.  Loads of our forecasting/analysis work is starting to be done using advanced analytics by our overseas headquarters team.  Although I raise this all the time, nobody seems that concerned.  I think the next downturn will see many of us laid off. 

I have about 8 more years until I hope to retire and I love where I work.  It's flexible, I work reduced hours so I can manage family needs and the pay is great.  So I'm not that keen to jump ship early. 

What I'm not sure about is when to start updating my skills for work outside the company or if I try to better position myself within the company.  Also not sure if I try and ride it out and see what happens?  We are currently very profitable. 
I could certainly set up to do CPA work (although I've only ever worked for large companies), but it seems like a lot work for a fraction of the pay.  I would love to learn more about advanced analytics but with 8 years of career left and lots of younger talent I'm not sure if that is viable.  In general I love to learn to new things but I've never been very entrepreneurial. 

Thoughts/ideas? 

TexasRunner

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2019, 09:59:52 AM »
Organizational changes are (almost ALWAYS) SLoooooooowwww.  If you see it being a reality in 4 years, it will probably take 8.  If you see it 10 years down the road, it'll probably be 20.  The only thing that can spur (immediate) innovation is an immediate and massive downturn that forces the market's hand into higher levels of efficiency.  And even then its a 'get more efficient or die' option that, not surprisingly, some large corporations will choose the latter.  That process could take decades (Example: Sears).  Basically, I wouldn't assume that automation is 'destined' to happen.

Also, I'm a firm believer that innovation spurs higher levels of employment, not job-elimination.  As a net effect, there are a similar number of jobs but at a higher level of skill (usually).  A great example of this is at the end of "Hidden Figures".  (Great movie and true story, BTW).  In other words, learn and step up into a higher level of work in either (1) interpreting / managing the automation or (2) maintaining / creating the automation.

Overall, I don't think the automation will happen as quickly as you think.  And if it does, just be prepared to enter a role that exists to support the automation.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2019, 10:55:04 AM »
Following up on TexasRunner's comments, I would mention "Amara's Law" that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/amaras-law/

mschaus

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2019, 10:56:35 AM »
I agree with the other posters that guessing the timing of such big changes is tough, so I would consider following pretty standard career advice appropriate for almost anyone:

-   Keep your resume up to date and know your accomplishments
-   Continue to build your professional network (on internet and real life)
-   Learn about what jobs are out there and what you might want to do next
-   Take your colleagues (from said network, at various companies) out for coffee and learn what skills they think are valuable and what advice they’d have for you
-   Help your colleagues with anything they have questions on
-   Keep learning those valuable skills and find ways to put them to use in your current position
-   Do all this long before the layoffs come. You’ll learn what’s valued today and in the near future, thereby avoiding the robots.

Actively managing a career with a framework like that (based on growth and abundance mentalities with a position of strength) will keep you ready for anything when it’s time to jump ship.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 11:45:14 AM »
Office robots are already here, and expanding rapidly.

It's one of, if not THE fastest growing markets in Enterprise Software right now.

If you are worried about it, I would suggest learning about the technology and becoming someone who will represent your functional area in a future where digital colleagues are working side by side with humans.

TexasRunner

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 12:34:28 PM »
Following up on TexasRunner's comments, I would mention "Amara's Law" that we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.
http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/amaras-law/

I had never actually studied this before.  Thanks for the link!  I've got a few more afternoon's worth of reading lined out now, lol

marty998

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2019, 01:43:40 PM »
Chiming in to add to this. My team was restructured in 2012, specifically to make it easier for us to be automatable over the following couple of years.

It didn't work - we now have more people in the team.


MrThatsDifferent

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2019, 01:55:49 PM »
I swear people invent things to panic about! Shift that nervous energy into something more beneficial for yourself of your family outside of work.

danakado

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 08:48:49 AM »
Thanks for the perspectives!  My current role is probably a higher risk for eventual elimination but I've started considering other roles within the company where my skill set  will still be needed.  I will work on updating those skills. 

Poundwise

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2019, 10:45:31 AM »
If you are worried about it, I would suggest learning about the technology and becoming someone who will represent your functional area in a future where digital colleagues are working side by side with humans.

+1
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Can you train to be a liaison with the overseas group or learn how to use the software?

mozar

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2019, 03:03:38 PM »
Since you already have a CPA and a job you love I wouldn't worry about it. But I would discourage people who are starting their careers to go into accounting/ finance. I read a few years ago that one of the big 4 accounting firms would be decreasing hiring over 50% by 2020. Solutions exist to automate accounting but some companies are further ahead than others.

Viiksikarva

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Re: It's clear the robot will take over my job- preparation advice needed
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2019, 01:32:42 AM »
I don't really know that much about work in finance, but I can share my experience from own field of work. I work as a simulation engineer, and I see automation only as a positive thing; I try to automate everything I can, because that frees up time (from those boring repetitive tasks) that I can then spend on something more complex/interesting. So, my advice (coming from my own experience, not sure how relatable that is to your profession) for increasing automation would be to take advantage of the time it frees up. This should make you more valuable in the eyes of your employer.

On a longer time scale, I believe that automation will reduce the need for human work. But that should be a good thing, since many of us involved at FIRE community anyway seek a career that is ~30 years shorter than "normal". And shorter workdays (hopefully involving interesting non-repetitive tasks!) will increase overall happiness.