How to Pacify Fears that Automation Could Replace Your Job

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Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have talked about it. It’s in the news almost dally: Robots are not only coming, they’re already here, so the question is how will they impact you and your job?

According to a new poll conducted by Monster, “Do you worry that automation could replace your job,” only 22 percent said yes compared to a majority, 78 percent, who said no.

While I’m surprised the 78 isn’t significantly lower since we should all be slightly concerned and at a minimum aware, the point of the matter is this: we should always keep a job search active and in motion.

Worrying won’t help you sleep at night and it certainly won’t help to robot-proof your job, but the following tips can help ease your mind:

1. Build a new skill set. Always wanted to learn how to code html? Great! Go online and take a course. Feel like your public speaking skills get you weak in the knees and queasy in the stomach? Perfect! That means you should attend a few Toastmaster’s meetings to practice your game. Whatever it is that you’ve been avoiding, it’s in your best interest to develop new skill sets, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. They’ll make you more marketable and simultaneously diversify your skill set if you decide to not only pursue a new job but explore a new career path overall.

2. Strengthen your relationship skills. Robots can certainly automate things but what they can’t do is build relationships with people as effectively as, you know, people. Reach out to a former boss and take him or her out to dinner. Call your colleague on their birthday if they’re working remotely (same applies to friends you only seem to connect with lately on Facebook instead of real time). Get into the habit of connecting with people offline to bolster relationships.

3. Become indispensable at the office. Who’s the one person people go to when the printer’s broken? When the group needs a pick me up, who’s the person who’s liked the most and gossips the least? Yeah, aim to be that person. Sure, when an entire department is downsized, offshored or in this case, automated, you may not exactly be left standing but in other cases, you might be the only one left standing because someone is still needed to manage and communicate on site. Become that person, build your soft skills, demonstrate a can-do attitude, be positive and flex an impeccable work ethic. You’ll be remarkable and most definitely memorable.

Above all, the mindset shouldn't be one of panic or losing sleep at night, but should be more a cause of concern to remain top of your game at all times.

Robots or not, always ask yourself how you can stay sharp, alert and employable. Set up job alerts, look for new opportunities and pursue new paths if it seems like your industry and/or role is particularly prone to automation in the near future. Update your resume fairly regularly to reflect your new skills and capabilities, continue networking and be in a state of action, not fear. Stay woke.