Let’s continue discussing Fehu, which in the Elder Futhark represented wealth, or money, or value.
Our Pre-Christian European ancestors believed all things were fated, and that the Gods willed what they willed, and that we lived as subjects within their vast and calculated sphere. Today, the best of us know well it is we that are the architects of our own existence and the actions we take shape our lives. By our own design, we live as free or slave.
If you do not accept fate as the determiner of your life, and if you are the captain of your own ship, then how best to steer your course? Do you have a map? What process are you following? What skills are you sharpening to procure Fehu?
In general terms, the American (or Western) job market can be divided in three ways, and these are collapsing into two.
The first are non-routine high skilled jobs. These are jobs a computer can’t replace or can’t be outsourced cheaper. These jobs involve imagination, reasoning, critical thinking, analytical skills, and often some level of math. They require an ability to read a situation, to assess it, and to create something new. A new product, a new insight, a new service, a new way of doing old things. They usually require a degree and certainly an advanced skill set.
Far from replacing these jobs, globalization and the IT revolution has made them more productive. These workers use google for research, windows for presentations, macs for design, laptops for data crunching, and cell phones to make trades or gather other information. And this type of worker can do these things anywhere, often quickly and cheaply. If you fall into this category, globalization and the IT revolution has likely benefitted you.
The second category are routine, middle skill jobs that involve standardized repetitive tasks. Think factory line assembly work, number crunching, routine reporting, sales calls. Globalization has crushed these jobs in America, and they are not coming back. Manufacturing and large scale production jobs are not coming back. If your job can be automated, you will lose eventually. Probably sooner than later. If you are waiting or dreaming for the return of outsourced jobs, save yourself and learn another skill.
The third category are non-routine low skill jobs. These are done in offices, hospitals, shopping centers or restaurants. These jobs don’t require much critical thinking or an advanced degree. Yet automation can’t replace these jobs, nor can someone in China do them. They will always exist, but how much they make will depend on the supply and demand of the overall economy.
In our current paradigm, non-routine high skill work becomes more lucrative. In our economy, there are two types of workers, creators and servers. Many servers are being replaced by automation and changes in business operations.
Today, the best of us know well it is we that are the architects of our own existence and the actions we take shape our lives. By our own design, we live as creator or servant. You can make a good living doing either, but your ability to be better than average will be crucial, or you will be replaced. You are the master of your fate. Don’t blame, work harder.