The Future of Jobs

And the Jobs with no Future, or Who Will Work That?

As an HR, I’ve attended not one or two conferences where the future of jobs was discussed. Not only that, but I’ve also watched the news and read some articles of interests in various media that also dealt with how work and employment will develop and change in the near future.
First of all, most repetitive and monotonous jobs will be filled in by robots. We don’t imagine complicated androids with dreamy eyes, perfect skin and the ability to discern between good and evil, in addition, to express emotions and empathy. We have to imagine simple non-humanoid machines which execute operations and manipulations that don’t often need creativeness and intuition.

That leaves open the question of what will people do when they can’t execute such jobs. The answer: people will do other jobs. What other jobs? Answer: programming and maintaining the said robots.

We get to understand that there will not be people on cooking, cleaning, data entry, accounting, payroll, and other similar positions. Machines will be doing that. The people who are taking these jobs at present will be re-qualified to maintain the new workers. That notion poses several questions at least. Let’s start somewhere.

First, the educational systems and food industry are continuously producing half-witted adults, semi-intelligent at best. Children finish school hardly literate, they eat junk food and synthetic drugs are their best pals since early teenage. That may be a good thing if we aim at producing idiots who are easy to rule, control and kept in submission. Their addictions to good life, easiness and love of sensation make them an easy target. New adults are lesser and lesser human beings, much to the disappointment of thinkers of old.

Second, these future jobs although they sound cool because there is the word “robotics” in them, sound to me maintenance thing. The majority of these new positions will be simple repairing and adjustment stuff, not higher level coding, programming, design or creative projects. There will be creative jobs, naturally, but I don’t expect them to be so many. The rest? Instead of cooks and cleaners, the rest will be maintenance staff for robots. This doesn’t sound prestigious, for sure. Plus, when so many people do this, there is hardly a reason to consider the jobs anything exclusive or special.

Third, I don’t believe all people will be able to do jobs such as those described above. There is a reason some people end up as cleaners. I know, some law graduates choose that profession for themselves, but the majority of cleaners do it for lack of better options. And for lack of patience and study skills. That is one group – those with lower intellectual abilities. How will they do the engineering jobs? The other group are people of artistic inclinations – poets, musicians, artists, various performers, athletes. How can we expect the artistic mind to bend around mechanic and engineering thinking and action?

Thinking of all that, conclusions are hard to draw. Thinking of all that, I wonder what the future holds. Not that I’m personally curious. It’s just… that human thing I’m thinking about.

Small stone for 2nd January

I seem to remember having identical thoughts on the second day of the year. I usually check the weather, which is still fine; I try to come back to my regular sleeping habits, and I also think about having to go back to work on the following day. Here is my small stone for today:
~~
Slowly falling in
daily orderly routine.
No sleep or too much.

~~

Бавно се връщам
към ежедневието.
Сънят е проблем.
~~

A River of Stones, January 2019

Years ago, I followed a blog challenge, A River of Stones, where I tried to contemplate and write one small piece each day in January. Although the stream was interrupted and the original blogger discontinued the tradition, over the years, I have seen many of my poetry friends do the same every January. After the very first time, 2012, I have had many fresh new beginnings, with each New Year dawning, but I, too, discontinue very easily.

This year, I will write small stones for as many days as I find them. No promises, no tears lost. Here is the first stone in this 2019 January River:
~~
Без сняг пред портата –
поле от сивота
и сухи съчки.

~~
No snow –
the field is brown and grey.
Just windy.

Mindful Monday, or How I Scored on My New Year Resolutions

I am posting this only to share how well I did on my last New Year’s Resolutions and to formulate the new ones. To refresh your memory in detail, I can refer you to my blog post from last year.

In short, I’ll report on each of my resolutions:
1. I wanted to make the “Devastation of the Soul” chapbook. Checked. That is ready, but not submitted anywhere. I didn’t finish it by the end of February as I’d planned, but at the end of September or mid-October. – KEPT!
2. I intended to translate 13 horror stories from English to Bulgarian – one each month plus an additional one. I completely forgot about this, and never even started it. – FAILED!
3. I wanted to write a poem every day in April and November but didn’t keep my April part of the promise. Honestly, I don’t even remember this resolution. Anyway, I’m nearly ready with the November Poem-a-Day challenge. That is, all the poems are written in their first draft and need to be edited and the ones for the final chapbook selected. OK, that’s a new plan. – HALF-KEPT!

4. Regarding this project, I won an artist on my side. She thought about it, started drawing, and then, in September, forgot about it. I’ll give it a try next year, perhaps. – HALF-KEPT!
5. Yoga once a week – sometimes, I managed, other times I couldn’t. We’ll consider this as FAILED!
6. Dieting with a journal – definitely not with a journal, and not the whole year through. So, we’ll say it’s FAILED!
7. Five new theatrical pieces and 3 new operas – I saw 3 plays and 2 more for children, so this part of the resolution can be considered kept. As for operas – I saw one new musical, and that’s all. I planned to see 3 operas, I almost bought the tickets, but for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to attend. So – HALF-KEPT!
8. Blogging once a week – actually, I didn’t until August. Then, I made an editorial calendar and started preparing my blog posts earlier, so that I have time to think and polish the content. Well, since August, blogging has been quite fine. Let’s say this resolution is KEPT!

Above, I can count 2 KEPT, 3 FAILED and 3 HALF-KEPT resolutions. I’ll consider this a successful year.
Happy New Year, everyone!

Frivolous Fridays: Happy Newtonmas!

Happy Newtonmas and Reason’s Greetings!

For my last post of 2018, I was looking for a fun topic to share with you within the #FrivolousFridays tag. I’m really happy with my finding – although it’s not so new, I’ve discovered Newtonmas, the alternative Christmas. Accidentally, Newton was also born on 25 Dec, so the community of science geeks and atheists in the world introduced the celebration of scientific achievements as an alternative to the Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Very curious that Sir Isaak Newton was born on that particular date! That is his old-style birthday, while the new-style date is on 4th Jan. This difference puts him in a different year, of course, but I am sure this is not that important from the perspective of the time elapsed.
To make the long story short, the Skeptics Society needed a name for its X-mas party, and in 2011, they came up with the bright idea of “Newtonmas”. Other names for the same celebration are Gravmas along with its spelling variants “Gravmass” and “Grav-mass” that derive from “gravitational mass”.

So, what do we do for this day? Or, we can make it a week-long period of festivity. It can also take all the days between the two birth dates of Sir Isaak Newton – starting on 25th Dec, we can go on celebrating by a different science-related activity each day to 4th Jan.

– Cards – Send out cards saying “Reason’s Greetings” instead of “Season’s Greetings”.
– Gifts – When choosing the special presents for the people we love, need to make sure they are science-related. Encourage children to pursue an interest in the sciences. There are plenty of children-friendly microscopes, telescopes, experiment kits and observatories. Bookshops are full of encyclopediae for the young readers with awesome visuals and catching way of presenting science.
– Games – Board games that are intellectual, such as math or word puzzles, are especially encouraged. Why not also design and build something useful or science-related? You may use scale models, too.
– Food and drinks – Oh, that is up to you. Atheists observe no dogmas regarding food, apart from their personal dietary preferences and peculiarities.

Here’s a thought – when you decorate your X-mas tree think planets and stars instead of ordinary balls and snowflakes! Think galaxies and nebulae instead of garlands and colourful bands – and you’ll have the greatest and warmest of the reason’s holidays!

Share your thoughts, I’m curious to hear them. Did you know about this special celebration?

Mindful Monday: Tao Te King 24

For today’s #MindfulMonday topic I chose to write about Chapter 24 of Tao Te King. I don’t apply any system when choosing the verse. Let’s say I picked this chapter because it’s the 24th day of the month.

Here is the text:

He who stands on tiptoe
doesn’t stand firm.
He who rushes ahead
doesn’t go far.
He who tries to shine
dims his own light.
He who defines himself
can’t know who he really is.
He who has power over others
can’t empower himself.
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.

If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.

This must be one of my favourite chapters, focusing on a quality I value highly – humbleness, which is not soliciting recognition. The verse states it all – you need to focus on doing what you are supposed to do without burdening your work with any secret hopes for recognition or praise. In my view, this is one of the hardest things for a person to do. We all want to be recognised for our contribution, even if we speak differently. Frequently, we expect to receive the praise we deserve, especially when and because we keep silent about it, in an attempt to be humble.

Let’s Talk Introversion, Part 2

If you need to refresh your memory about this series, Savage Saturdays where I will write about psychology, motivation, inclusion and similar things, you can check this post about some widely-spread introvert myths. And here we go with one of the most interesting things about introverts, the “introverted hangover”.

This is a great term. Even though it’s not new, I met it this March for the first time. I recognised what it stands for immediately. How could I have not? When you have too much to drink, you can get a hangover and feel down, so down that you think you aren’t getting up soon. My very first hangover was a terrible experience, and I have no doubt yours were the same as mine. You just lie there, head spinning, at times pounding and the moment you try to lift it, that sickness in your chest and your stomach starts crawling up. Sometimes, the sickness finds its way up, of course. One of my favourite “drunk” jokes is this:

“The salad was sitting peacefully in one man’s stomach when something cold poured over it.

– What are you? – asked the salad.

– Vodka – answered the liquid.

– Who sends you? – asked the salad.

– John. And the salad quieted for a while.

Then the same thing happened again and again, when, after the third “John” answer, the salad said:

– Why don’t I just climb up there to see who this John person is?”

Fortunately, “introvert hangover” doesn’t have this particular effect on your body. Still, the physical sickness apart, you have this feeling of being wiped out. You are done for, you can’t stand on your feet, very often even literally. Another thing you can’t do is talk to people. Just like when you’re hungover, you can’t drink alcohol and you get sick by only looking at it, in the state of introvert hangover, you can’t take any more talk. After all, you’ve had too much of it already.

You get into this state as a result of too intensive socialising. The best cure is prevention, so you’ll do great to not bring this on yourself, but we don’t always have control over each minute of our daily lives. Imagine you are a teacher at a school camp, or an office coordinator, or an event manager, well, you name it. You can do this, mind you, even as an introvert. Not all people who work such jobs are extroverted. Another thing to keep in mind is, you can get introvert hangover even if you’re an ambivert.

So, let’s get back to our school camp or business event. You are in the middle of this week-long thing and a great number of people turn to you for a great number of things – from advice to simple questions of direction and agenda. You may be enjoying all these interactions – you are needed, you are useful, you see how people’s faces glow when you help. You may also have fun with all the games or entertainment. Yet, inevitably, you’ll be drained at the end and when it’s over, you will find yourself experiencing the introvert hangover.

The cure? Stay in the dark, keep away from the noise. You may read, write, draw or make music – whatever artistic preference you have. Go for a lonely walk in nature. Sit on the beach, look at the sea and breathe. Go to the forest, sit with your back against a tree, look at the greenery around you and breathe. Breathe in peace, breathe out calamity. Take in relaxation, take out soiled emotions.

Yuletide – Wednesday Wishes

Yule, Saturnalia, or just the Winter Solstice
It’s this time of the year again. The winter solstice marks the longest night and shortest day. It is the official start of the winter season and though the sun begins to come back to our days, the temperatures will get lower yet, because the real harsh cold weather is still to come. Both Yule and Saturnalia are similar to Christmas, and as you’ll see, they have influenced it a lot in different parts of the world.
Why is the winter solstice important to people? I think it’s because of nature and because of what it says about nature. Darkness is at its deepest. It seems the world will not come back to the sun, but just then, things turn and days start to get longer. It is a time for relaxation, enjoying the fruits of your work during the active seasons, giving gratitude to nature for her richness and celebrating the turn of seasons. The turn of seasons is what breathing and pulse are to the human life. All life consists of cycles. After darkness comes sunshine, after cold comes warmth. Nature, like life, will not stay in the same position forever. Evergreen trees are a natural choice for most of the rituals during Yule. They reflect the permanent character of life – even though most greenery is lost, it never goes away entirely. Besides that, the evergreen pines and firs make for a particularly cheerful view amidst the otherwise barren landscape.

If we turn to Saturnalia, we’ll see a slightly different picture. After all, ancient Rome didn’t know winter at its harshest. We can’t really speak of desolate darkness or cold, or even barrenness of the land. During these festivities, dedicated to Saturn – the god of agriculture, the highlight is on celebrating the fruits of the land, enjoying the results of the people’s work in the fields and the gratitude of the population for a good year without hunger and poverty. During the Saturnalia, which lasted for a week, the lower in status became the most honoured. Sometimes slaves would sit at the head of the table, while their masters served them. That time was by far the noisiest festival of the whole year.
Much like during the modern X-mas holidays, schools and businesses in ancient Rome would close inviting all the population to participate in the celebrations.
In all three winter-solstice-related traditions, a focus is put on giving: people would give small presents to their friends and family as well as complete strangers. The suffering of weaker members of the community is usually sought to be relieved by donations, charity or giving them a break as is the case of slaves in Rome.

When I hear strong opinions about the nature and origin of Christmas, I wonder if it is really wise to try and separate holidays and festive traditions between the various beliefs, when we know that people have been living together over all these centuries.
No matter which holiday you honour, do it according to your beliefs, eat and drink enjoying the work of your hands and hearts!

Daylight Saving Time – Time to End It

Today is time for a #ThoughtfulTuesday post. As we changed time again quite recently, I decided to write about this peculiar tradition and the idea that it will soon be discontinued.

The discussion has been on since the last time we changed to DST, a.k.a. summer time, in end-March. I strongly support the idea that we should stop switching back and fro, as the cost-efficiency of this process is not valid any longer. I doubt there’s any saving going on, and that was the main argument in favour of the switching between times. Yet, I understand that the majority of EU citizens would have the summer time stay constantly. How their vote was registered, I don’t know. I suppose there was some sort of survey which I missed. Let’s assume they represent a good enough sample to make the result valid. What does their choice show about them?

First of all, let me remind you what the DST is. It means darker mornings, lighter evenings. Or, in other words – it gets light later in the morning and it gets dark later in the evening. I have several acquaintances who support the same notion – that we should stick to summer time. Their reasoning: you have more light after work and school. You can go for walks and, generally, you will not feel so oppressed by the winter mood if that’s the case. Surely, 1 hour won’t make much of a difference. Yet, people speak of it with a lot of ardour.

Why don’t they argue for lighter mornings, when we have to get up and start our days? I feel particularly despondent if it’s still dark outside when I get up. I start my day with the feeling that getting off bed is a torture, a punishment – in general, something to loathe. And, as most of us would agree, getting up doesn’t need any more negative associations to go with. It’s pretty unpleasant as it is.

So, to go back to my original point of wondering: what their choice speaks about these people. Obviously, they care more about the time after work than about the start of the day. Perhaps they don’t get up very early, so it doesn’t matter to them if the sky is dark. They can get up a little before noon, work in the afternoon, go for a walk in the early evening, and then party until the small hours. This and repeat. What are they? Not farm workers, for sure. Not medical workers either. Neither do they work at school. I have just mentioned three of the important professional fields on whose experts we depend to a large extent during our entire lives. Excluding school, perhaps.

And before this turns into a criticising post, I’ll share my true reason to side with the standard time, a.k.a. “normal” or “winter” time. I want to stick to this time because it’s the correct one from a scientific point of view. It’s the normal time, and I deeply believe we must embrace our normalcy.

Does your country change between normal and summer time? Which time do you support?

Monday Mentions: Sojourner Truth

My #MondayMention post today is dedicated to an extraordinary lady.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
We celebrate her life and legacy on 26 November, the day of her death, only because we aren’t sure about the date of her birth. Not even about the year. No wonder, as we are speaking the 18th century.

Sojourner is not her real name, of course. She accepted is as a symbol and a message. But let me start at the beginning. She was born in slavery in the state of New York, her real name was Isabella Baumfree and her first language was Dutch. The region where she lived used to be the property of Dutch settlers, which is why that was the everyday language.

She was just 9 years old when she was sold after her owner’s death, and over the next 2 years, she changed hands twice more. Around that time, Bella started to learn the English language. In 1826, she escaped to freedom with her youngest daughter. Her master had promised to emancipate her but didn’t, so Bella ran away. She had two other children who stayed behind. That happened only a year before slavery was abolished in New York.
She learned that her 5-year son was sold in Alabama, which was illegal since he was to be emancipated in New York. Isabella had the courage to start a court suit. That case was the first one where a black woman got a victory over a white man. Then she converted to Christianity and worked as a housekeeper with two priests successively. Curiously, the latter one was accused of killing the first one in order to appropriate his fortune. Isabella Baumfree was implicated for the murder. This case also received huge public attention, and she was successful once again.

In 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth by which she grew popular. She spent her life advocating abolition, women’s rights, and suffrage. Her views were radical even for her fellow-abolitionists. Sojourner Truth’s main concern was that freedom and equal rights are sought only for black men, but not women. She worried that after slavery is abolished, the movement and activists would decrease the pressure they put on political figures and law-makers and would be satisfied with the partial victory. That way, women would remain without basic rights still.
In truth, the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, the one regulating women’s right to vote, wasn’t voted until 40 years after Sojourner Truth’s death.
Still, she set the beat, right?