Are you one of those brilliant people who scrimp and save so they can retire at 30 with a million bucks in the bank? I am filled with admiration for you. Unlike me, you have denied your basic desires for chocolate, sushi, travel, opera, and smartphones. Unlike me, you have rejected living in a vibrant, exciting, endlessly fascinating but pricey locale in favor of the affordable charms of Bend, Oregon. Unlike me, you buy in bulk, prepare your own meals 3 times a day, and never pop into the corner bodega to buy a tiny tube of toothpaste for the same price as a large tub of the stuff from Costco.
Alas, I have not heeded the siren call of early retirement. If I had, perhaps I could have gone from eating sandwiches in Bend Oregon for a few years to living on a sailboat in Tahiti for the rest of my life. Is there even opera in Tahiti? No matter. The point is that I will be a working stiff for the rest of this century, and my gut tells me you’re in the same boat. Hint: it’s not the boat docked in Tahiti.
There’s a problem, though. Rapid automation and a changing workforce means you may need to retrain for tomorrow’s job. Are you still using carbon paper? Writing checks on paper? Carding wool? You, my friend, are not ready for the future.
Most people, when they think about their next job, try to play to their strengths and their affinities. Do you like sports? Maybe you can work for a baseball team! Good with people? Try sales! This is not the right approach. Your strengths are only as good as the other person who is also applying for the same job. Strengths and interests come and go. No. Play to what makes you unique – your most annoying qualities. Those will last forever! Leverage them, and you will be employed until you can retire comfortably at age 132 to a houseboat floating over what used to be Florida. I’m sure advances in genetic engineering will make 132 feel as spry as an 80-year-old with new hips. Here are some ideas to get you going.
Do you enjoy telling people what to do? Does everyone around you think of you as irritatingly bossy, uncompromising about unimportant details, impatient and demanding to a fault? Do you immediately begin to mutter under your breath when the person in front of you in the bank line says “nice weather we’re having!” to the teller before getting down to brass tacks? Please consider a career in Operations Management. You’ll be surrounded by a team of harried, nervous subordinates as you pop another high-blood-pressure med and try to figure out what’s gone wrong THIS time. Whether you’re turning a 5000-cabin cruise ship around in 8 hours, settling world-ending financial trades on Wall Street, keeping the power grid up and running in California, or making sure an entire company doesn’t lose all its customers, Ops is the place for you.
Are you of a curious, inquisitive nature? Does the word bochinchera spring to the lips of your Dominican friends? Do you rabidly devour every meme on social media about that nasty breakup of Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus? You’re going to love being a couples
therapist! The last thing your clients want is someone like me, who would fall into a gentle snooze upon hearing about the latest betrayal of the current lover, or the potential perfections of the next jerk who comes along. Your clients will be gratified as you hang on every word and delve into every nuance of each relationship, real or imaginary. Make big bucks, too. Added plus: I don’t think an AI bot could totally replace you for at least another decade.
Do you have skin as thick and strong as reinforced concrete? Are you a relentless force of nature? Do you smile with pleasure when your sister screams “never in hell you insufferable nudge!!” Do people cross the street before you can ask them for yet another favor? When you hear words such as “maybe next time” or “well I’m not sure it’s right for me” or “go away please”, do you understand them to mean “we can still make a deal here!” instead of “no” ? Run, don’t walk, to the nearest large corporate insurance sales staff office and present yourself for your first day on the job. You’re hired!
Are you a sly, manipulative sort of person? Do you believe it is always better to gently maneuver people into doing your bidding via trickery and guilt rather than just coming right out and asking for what you want? Have you mastered the fine art of making people feel a reluctant, misplaced pity for your many troubles, or of somehow wrong-footing them no
matter what they do? Most people – those lacking your subtle methods – don’t even know what hit them. They think it was THEIR fault! Fools; you alone are in control. Welcome to the high-stakes world of relationship management. Your skills are, perhaps fortunately, difficult to find in the general population. If you are bordering on the sociopathic and able to use tactics such as gas lighting, misplaced empathy, easy charm, understated flattery, and prevarication (“it’s not a lie if you look at it in another context”), you can easily make your annual salary in the first three months of any year.