Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Endangered species: jobs that are slip sliding away

In the extremely unlikely case that I will be coming up with another career for myself any time soon, thanks to CareerCast and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I’ll know which ones to avoid. That would be the ten jobs on the list that are forecast to experience the greatest declines by the year 2022.

If I’d had my heart set on becoming a tax examiner/collector, well, boo-hoo to me. There will be 4 percent fewer of them out there. Why is that, you might ask? According to the article, this decline will be predicated on federal, state, and local governments coming to their senses and simplifying the tax code. I’m guessing it’s because automated tax preparation applications are catching a lot of the errors that the taxman used to find.

Thanks to Kindle, online everything, and – I’m freelancing here – the general decline in literacy caused by communication in selfies-only - there will be 5 percent fewer printing workers. Which is kind of too bad, as this means a decline in printer’s devils, which has to be one of the best job titles ever.

Sadly, I would probably not be able to find work as a drill-press operator, as their ranks will decrease by 6 percent. Probably just as well. Given my mechanical aptitude, I’d likely drill press my thumb out of existence.

I would say, alas, I will never be a flight attendant (down by 7 percent), but coffee, tea, or me, a plastic smile, and a polyester uni were never going to me anyway. There’ll be fewer stews because there will be fewer airlines and fewer flights. (Fewer flights? Does that mean that they’ll be cramming us in as strap-hangers. Yikes!)

It’s not just the printer’s devil’s job that’s going to hell. Less printing means less demand for paper. So those brawny lads, the lumberjacks, will see their ranks topple by 9 percent. (And if I thought I’d lose a thumb as a drill press operator, I’d likely manage to whack a personal limb off while in the process of whacking an arboreal limb off.)

I’m sure I’ve done so since then, but the last time I actually remember talking to a travel agent was in 1976, when one was explaining the “bicentennial nightly” fare that was some kind of steep discount on the red-eye.  They’ve still managed to hang in there – and will for specialty travel – but we will be saying Bon Voyage to 12 percent of them by 2022.

Since it’s the only job on the top (bottom?) ten list that I actually would have wanted to have, I’m sorry to see newspaper reporter go. But come 2022, there’ll be 13 percent fewer Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lanes, intrepidly asking “Who, What, When, Where, How” for the Daily Planet. (Oh, how I wish this had been my profession, so I could more properly mourn its passing.)

No more meter readers, I’m afraid – down by 19 percent. No great loss – who wants to wait around for the meter reader? – unless, of course, you’re a meter reader. Or someone holding one of the few decently paying blue collar jobs out there. (Will someone tell me what exactly it is that people who used to be meter readers, lumberjacks, and drill press operators are actually going to do?)

Farmer is also going to be a thing of the past, with 19 percent fewer of them. Thank you agri-business! I was actually surprised to see that the median salary for the Old McDonalds of the world was $69K. Then I ran the numbers in my head and figured out that they were probably making about $13 an hour. Not much reward for risk of weather, market fluctuations, pestilence, exposure to chemicals, danger from machines, manure...

The most dire outlook is for mail carrier, with hiring predicted to decline by 28 percent by 2022. Like everyone else, most of my bills and statements now come electronically. Moving forward, I plan to have all of them arrive that way. But in 2022 I still hope to be getting magazines, cards, and the occasional physical object through the USPS. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

But what if there are no appointed rounds to complete?

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