Automation is about to do away with millions of jobs. A business psychologist claims he has at least some of the answers
The good news is that the job you hate is about to be automated. The bad news is that you’re about to be out of work.
“Jobs that cannot be automated are on a very short list,” says Robert Pasick, PhD, an executive coach and organizational psychologist who also teaches at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. “If you are afraid to leave the job you hate, it may be about to leave you.”
Journalists fear computers that are already writing news stories. Truck drivers fear self-driving trucks, already carrying freight in controlled experiments. Accounting, lawyering, health care, package delivery, even Uber driver jobs are on the verge of automation.
“In part, this is because the economy is too dynamic,” Dr Pasick reports. “Big companies are seeking technology-enabled gains for stakeholder profits. Leading companies are finding opportunities to reduce their US workforce by as much as 90 percent.
“In part, this is because the economy is not dynamic enough. There are less than half the new companies creating new jobs than there were 37 years ago.
“In all this chaos,” Dr Pasick says “we must focus on what we can control. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are the keys to any individual’s future success.”
There is no arguing with the medical data. Depression causes overall body aches, low energy and poor job performance. Anxiety creates awkward movements from stiff muscles, jaw pain and headaches. Both increase the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
It is hard to look good in a job interview when you have one or more of these symptoms.
“Start by attending to your own well-being,” Pasick says. “Only when you understand and manage yourself can you influence the world around you. This is why I have written Self-Aware: A Guide for Success in Work and Life. I wanted to draw on everything I have learned in 45 years as a practicing psychologist and professor to help people develop themselves, understand their relationships, set goals, and meet them.”
Co-authored with Dunrie Greiling, who holds a doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the 139-page book reveals life as a balancing act.
“We can look at each of the things that define our life and affect our health: Friends and community, work, self, family, health, and integrity. This is our personal ecosystem. If any of the connections are strained or have a problem, we experience tension and stress, and we begin to die, both as an organism and in the job market,” says Pasick.
With accessible and transparent language, the book Self-Aware offers lessons with analytical exercises to identify and isolate the problem areas in anyone’s personal and professional life and how to work to successfully solve them.
“Almost anything can be resolved if you isolate the problem and set a course of action. Acting will make you feel better immediately. But if you remain in denial and do nothing, chances are the problem will eat away at you,” Dr Pasick says.
Growing up in the shadow of the Great Depression, a young Rob Pasick was taught by his parents that any unhappiness they experienced came from a lack of money. Yet in a distinguished career as a practicing psychologist and professor following his PhD at Harvard, Pasick has learned that is not true for many people.
“Research on happiness shows that beyond a minimum amount of money to keep us fed and housed, additional money does not make us any happier. Yet we still operate under the myth that making a lot of money will be the key to happiness.
“In a social and cultural environment that is changing almost at the speed of light, I wanted to write a book that will help men and women of all ages, adapt, thrive financially and physically, and be happy,” Dr Pasick says.
“Self-awareness is never wholly about ourselves. We mostly learn about ourselves in relation to others,” Dr Pasick says.
“It is our relationships with others that will lead us to new companies where productive human relationships out-perform any automated machine.”