How to Prepare for the Exciting Prospect of a Future without Jobs

Most of us have at least a subconscious awareness that employment is changing, but many people are unaware of how imminent and extensive some of those changes will be.

It might feel scary to some, but the truth is that we’re at an exciting point in history, getting to witness truly inspiring shifts in the way humanity approaches work.

5 Ways the Employment Landscape is Changing Quickly

As machines get smarter, more streamlined, and more involved in pretty much every area of life, humans no longer need to fill cog positions. Our role is becoming more meaningful and more uniquely human.

1. Soft skills are becoming more important.

In some ways it’s difficult to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, but we can gain understanding of the types of skills that will rise to the top and be proactive about growing in those.

As our tools improve, technology magnifies our leverage and increases the importance of our expertise, our judgment, and our creativity.

David Autor

Many hard skills have more potential to be replaced by machines eventually, whereas soft skills will take a much longer time for machines to “get”, if ever. (See more about hard and soft skills here.)

But even the most in-demand soft skills are shifting, as illustrated by this list
of the top 10 job skills from World Economic Forum.

top 10 skills needed for the jobs of the future

Other useful resources are the monthly hiring and skills trend report that LinkedIn puts together, and their yearly emerging jobs report.

Speaking of hard skills being replaced by machines…

2. The 5 most common US job types are being phased out by AI.

Administrative/clerical work, retail/sales, food service/prep, truck driving/transportation, and manufacturing, which equal about half of all American jobs, will be increasingly replaced by machines.

It’s predicted that these jobs will be almost completely phased out by AI by 2029.

Initially, that sounds kinda scary – what will almost half of the American workforce do?!

Historically, tech creates more jobs than it destroys, however.

Take, for example, what Automated Teller Machines did for bank teller jobs.

In the approximately first 45 years after the introduction of ATMs, the number of bank teller jobs roughly doubled. (?!) Although the number of tellers per branch fell by about a third, banks discovered it was cheaper to open new branches, increasing the number of branches by about 40% with a net result of more tellers.

Another example of how jobs getting destroyed by automation turned out to be a good thing was with the farming industry. As work became more automated, agricultural employment dropped from 40% of all jobs in 1900 to only 2%. This helped to spur the “high school movement”, causing many more young people to stay in school longer in preparation for a different sort of work.₁

And that brings us to the third change to consider.

3. It’s predicted that as much as 85% of the jobs that will make up the market in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet.₂

The landscape of society is changing all around, as much of what we do shifts more and more online or becomes more and more technology-based in general.

“As automation frees our time and increases the scope of what is possible, we invent new products, new ideas, new services that command our attention, occupy our time, and spur consumption.”₁

Take some of the work that’s been created and facilitated just through the rise of smartphones.

  • app development
  • social media influencer – Instagram and YouTube in particular
  • Uber/Lyft driver
  • Postmate and other delivery service jobs
  • Wag for dog walking
  • etc. etc.

It’s so cool how humanity continues to discover new work, and much of it is related to increasing standards of living, as you can see supported by the examples above.

Humanity has an ingrained pull to continue to find new ways to improve our lifestyle, which relates to the fourth change we’re creating in our work.

4. Work is increasingly something you do, not somewhere you go.

It’s more important than ever before to take responsibility for your own development and skillset. Not only are there more opportunities than ever to create your own business, but the potential for working from home will also only continue to grow.

This opens up all sorts of cool potential for living a more customized lifestyle in a location (or locations!) you most want to live.

David and I have lived a location independent lifestyle since 2012, which has included a lot of travel between our home base in the Midwest, where my parents live in Mexico, where he grew up in Costa Rica, and where his parents live in the southern US, among many other shorter trips. (We’ve captured a lot of it on our YouTube channel, like our 9-week road trip around the US, for example.)

5. More and more people are choosing meaningful work and a simpler life.

Apparently, in 2015 the average worker would only have had to work 17 weeks out of the year to afford the standard of living people had in 1915!₁

Most people certainly didn’t work less, however!

david autor quote

But the rise of minimalism, tiny houses, and living in renovated campers and customized vans indicates more people are starting to recognize there are different ways to do things that increase their ability to be more selective in what they do with their time.

Our family definitely chooses a lower standard of living, materially, for a higher standard of “life” that allows us to be more flexible and have more time with our kids.

a future without jobs | standard of living quote

People are less and less willing to do jobs for just a paycheck, prioritizing work that they find meaning in.

Humanity is No Longer Interested in Jobs…

The world is shifting toward a future where each person is able to fulfill their true purpose as opposed to just exchanging time for money to survive.

Recommended reading: Jobs: The Necessary Evil That Will Soon be Uncecessary

Jobs will go to the machines, but make no mistake, humanity will always find new work to do.

We are creators, and creators can’t not create.

Our story is expansive, and we’ve barely gotten started.

It’s time to start dreaming bigger…


david autor quote
5 ways the employment landscape is changing quickly
humanity are creators quote
fulfill your true purpose quote
be prepared for the changes in employment
how to prepare for the exciting prospect of a future without jobs
About the communicator
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Tico & Tina

David & Christina are recovering "lack" addicts who share tidbits of their minimalist, digital nomadic life at The Liberation Collective.