There has been a shift in what it takes to earn a living.
The competition for stable and secure jobs directs masses of applicants from all walks of life. Yet as jobs change and disappear before our eyes we change in order to further our own prospects. Now there are many, many thousands of us worldwide who make, or try to make, their income online.
Jobs with a frown
My experience of unemployment here in the U.K tells me that it is difficult to get a worthwhile job unless you have a set of marketable skills, or you are willing to work in a customer service/satisfaction job. These jobs involve only being on the phone for around eight hours every working day, and to my knowledge don’t offer any personal development and/or satisfaction.
If you’re very lucky you can land a customer-based job in a shop, but even those jobs are being replaced by computers. Shopping as a whole is moving on the internet and via the telephone, and it seems to me that face to face customer service is becoming a thing of the past.
My main worry about the role of a customer service positions is that it doesn’t teach the employee anything. You can learn more from working in a warehouse or a shipyard, simply by being alongside a range of different people with different experience. There is also the opportunity to master a technical or manual skill.
The one skill you can develop in a customer service position is to be utmost polite to people over the phone. I’d like to think we all have that skill to begin with.
I’d also like to mention that a lot of these jobs don’t actually involve learning much about sales techniques: contacting customers you are simply reading from a script. Everyone has to be on the same page, doing the same thing.
The way I see it, the employee is not valued or well looked after in this case.
My brother works in the customer service sector and he has recently been trained to work above and beyond his salary. This is no good as his time and effort is being used, not rewarded. Often this is the case with jobs.
I’d propose, however, that customer service jobs should be re-named. Call them something like “help our company look better than it actually is” position.
This is too wordy, but you get what I mean.
There are occupations that are universally admirable.
We all nod and agree with our friend the plumber (don’t want the house filling up with… things I’d rather not mention).
It is in having such particular skills and a genuine, lengthy experience that is most important. These specialists can strive to earn a living whilst possessing a little nugget of gold in their pocket. Like anything though, you have find ways to turn that shiny metal into as much crisp paper money as you can.
So what other key skills are still useful today? Arguably not a lot has changed but since the arrival of computers in every home our daily tasks tend to circulate around them.
However, some technical and people skills are still needed, and you’d agree that our lives will be hard, unpleasant and smelly if they disappeared completely.
1) Plumber. I better put them at the top, just in case we get a leak. In truth, plumbers do the jobs we can’t bare ourselves to do. It is however a skill that takes patience, a good pair of hands and technical understanding. It also takes a lot of stomach. They earn from £21k to £35k a year.
2) Electrician/mechanic. Again they are skilled persons who can easily solve our first world problems, and more serious electrical faults. Whenever I see an electrician or technician at work I try to stay out of their way. They know what they’re doing whilst I haven’t a clue (something to do with some cables, or something). They earn from £17k to £22k a year.
3) Typist. There has been an increase in administrational jobs in the customer service and medical fields, so being able to type fast is a skill in demand, but not a great earner unless you are so fast you could be inhuman. One advantage for those who have a family to look after is you can work as a part time typist. They earn from £11k to £18k a year.
4) Childcare specialist. The ways in which we and our families’ lives operate has changed. Now there is a real admiration and demand for people who have good experience and knowledge in childcare, women being generally more trusted and experienced. It’s a job that can never die out. You can be an Au Pair or an employee of a family support service, and they’ll always be work since having babies won’t exactly go out of fashion (the act of making them especially). They earn from £18k to £22k a year.
5) Computer engineer/data analyst. If one is to be technically minded then a career involving computer software is the way to go. In some ways it is the only path to take. Computers are our world now so there is not much chance of these jobs disappearing in our lifetime, or even that of our great grandchildren. Their earnings can range from £20k to £50k a year, depending on experience and job title.
6) Writer. This is a skill more in demand than ever. Upwards of 300,000 people earn a living by writing via online blogs or as a freelancer, whilst novelists and scriptwriters are more likely to be poor than rich. There is no mean average as there are such a variety of jobs. Editorial and proofreading services may be charged at around £20 per hour, whilst freelance writing is generally set at slightly higher, up to £50 an hour. The main advantage of being a writer is that although you have to fight to gain opportunities to earn there is, and always will be, work out there.
Other occupations that will always be in demand are with physicians and academics. The difference is that these skills, such as higher education teaching, are acquired over many years of practice and experience.
What are your most marketable skills? Do you feel like you’ve been able to nurture them? Have you lost or changed a job because the demand for your skill plummeted?