The End of Work?

We’ve all seen it. These processes have been facts of life ever since the Industrial Revolution began. One could argue that it all started with agriculture and domestication. We were doomed as soon as we developed language and harnessed fire. It happens over and over again. Some group of bright sparks somewhere invents processes to, save money, increase productivity, create whole new industries and destroy old ones.

Some have predicted that eventually this will result in the end of labor but, I don’t agree. What’s really happening is even scarier. It means endless retraining throughout our lives as laborers. This is scary because educational methods and pedagogy stink and are often very expensive.

Today I am a computer technician and webmaster, but it is certain I won’t be forever. I am forced to keep my rates low, because, in some cases, I compete with folks in Argentina, India or China. And you know Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia and many others are moving mountains to make web administration as easy as word processing. I specialize in accessible web design, but eventually the production and authoring tools will get good enough to assure minimal levels of compliance without making the author think about it. The point is, I am constantly aware that my job isn’t safe and that whatever profits I make, I must save and invest, save and invest, save and invest.

So far, I’ve managed to scrape along but I still haven’t made enough to get back on health insurance. I still haven’t made enough to have money for toys and fun. I still haven’t made enough to start saving for disasters again. This I see as my fault. I really should be pushing myself harder than I am. I’ve been mucking about these last four years, more than I should have. There is no denying that I’ve learned a lot of things and done a lot of things these last four years, but I am still not disiplined enough to really work the system.

I’ll cut myself a little slack though. Ten years ago, I would have never imagined myself owning my own business. Necessity dictates invention.

Hmm. I’ve wandered far off topic. I orginally wanted to rant about automation, outsourcing and the global economy but, instead it’s become rather personal. Hmm. Well, maybe I’ll print up some business cards today.

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