Labor Day: Balancing Jobs, Work and Coal

It’s Labor day, so let’s talk about jobs. Switchboard operator, hot metal typesetter from the early 80s are jobs that do not exist today. Video rental stores are no longer viable businesses. Today we have instagram influencers who make between $30,000 – $60,000 a year, Social media strategist who makes upwards of $80,000 a year. Specialty jobs such as cell phone screen repair and business that started as media rentals, Netflix, creating their own award winning streaming content. The life coaching industry just topped $1 billion.

Can you imagine a move to prevent technology in phones so switchboard operators would not become obsolete, or a boycott of computers because hot metal typesetters would be put out of work? Why is there a debate about coal? Renewable energy sources are now less than gas or coal fuel. Smoke from coal power plants is hazardous to human health. Burning coal for power generates more than 100 million tons of coal ash every year; more than half of that waste ends up in ponds, lakes, landfills, and other sites, where it contaminates waterways and drinking water supplies. For the coal workers, there is black lung disease from inhaling coal dust, due to technology, the increase of black lung is currently on the rise.

Politicians often cite job creation as part of their platform. Maybe this is a new job, the BS caller. Fiscal policies can impact job increase or decrease, confidence in leadership can increase or decrease job creation, legislation can factor in business expansion, but politicians cannot create jobs. Employment can increase or decrease, but we all know those figures can be misleading also, as those numbers are based on those employed versus those actively seeking employment, instead of the employed, want to be employed, underemployed, etc.

Labor changes, labor shifts, job transition and evolved. Will your job exist in 10 years? You probably can’t identify the disrupter, you won’t see it coming. One hour photo development; gone; replaced by digital cameras and self service photo printing. Self check out, cell phones, self driving cars, what’s possible? Podcast Producer, Telemedicne Physician, Uber driver did not exist 10 years ago. Can you think of new jobs of the future? This Labor Day, consider work; how do we as a society maintain a balance of letting go jobs that are no longer viable and embracing new possibilities.


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