Job Search StrategiesHaving a job for life is no longer a reality.  Jobs lifespans are typically shorter than the length of an average worker’s career.  In today’s economy, there are very few people who feel confident that their job will be here tomorrow, but less 10 years from now.

Technology is simply moving too fast – making jobs and even companies (Blockbuster, perhaps?) obsolete.

However, worrying about the stability of your job is not productive.  Here are three tips to help you tell if your  job (or company) is becoming obsolete.

Machines are now doing your job

Do not be naive. If you are doing any type of low-skill work – data entry, order entry, packing and picking – you are living on borrowed time.  At some point, your job will be automated and you will be replaced by a robot.  

For example, the installation of the first commercial elevator created tens of thousands of skilled jobs – the elevator operator.  By the beginning of the 1960’s, this group of workers was mostly gone, made obsolete by automation and push-buttons.

With the advent of robotic automation, some people will still be needed, but a lot less than before.  People still have skills that cannot be replaced easily by a machine.

Company starts outsourcing or offshoring

Today’s hyper connected world has challenged not only blue-collar workers, but white-collar workers too.  Due to increased access to a large overseas pool of cheap labor, many domestic manufacturing jobs have disappeared.

However, that pool has now extended to what the NY Times refers to as a “bigger pool of cheap geniuses”.  Domestic white collar jobs are disappearing too.  So, if you notice your company is starting to “dabble” in hiring overseas workers, especially for your job, it could be time to worry.

Rumors of a layoff or merger or acquisition

Obsolete companies usually die or get purchased.  Whenever either of those things happens, layoffs are not far behind.  The only questions swirl around scope and timing.

Ask someone who you trust to see if you can get a feel about the likelihood of you being impacted.

Take a deep breath, do not panic and prepare….always prepare

You don’t need to worry every single day that you will get the ax.  It is simply not productive, because, in many cases, that is out of your control.  What is in your control is your overall preparation.

Be sure to always network, even when you are happily employed.  Stay up to date with current trends. Keep your resume current, and (if necessary) gather up items you might need for your portfolio.

If you feel that your job (or your company) may become obsolete, one of the best defenses is improving your skills.  One of the best ways to improve your skills is through on-the-job training.  Snelling’s temporary job opportunities are a great way for you to learn new skills and investigate new industries.  If you are interested in expanding your horizons, visit your local office today.

By Christiane Soto,