I am a huge fan of hiring someone to teach me a skill. I learn a lot faster if someone watches me do it and tells me what I’m doing wrong. So, for example, I’ve had a professional show me how to do street photography (thanks, James), I’ve had someone show me how to create tablescapes (thanks, Maria), and I’ve had someone show me how to read specific motivators of someone who gambles (thanks, jackpotcitycasino.com).

Whenever I am not happy with how something turns out, the kids say, “You can hire someone to teach you!” I used to think it was a sign that they’d grow up to be slovenly. But in fact, I think they are growing up to understand that you learn fastest by hiring an expert.

My kids have also gotten a sneak peek at the future job market because I hire so many people who work for themselves doing service-oriented work. In the next decade the service economy will dominate job offerings with a surprising twist:

Customer Service
The workforce is increasingly joining the gig economy, which means everyone works for themselves, and their work is temporary. The drive toward the gig economy is the inflexibility of corporate life. Companies keep talking about creating flexible jobs, but the truth is that someone who wants flexibility cannot compete with someone who can work long, steady hours at the office.

Most jobs in the future will be service-oriented in some way. For example, Fivecast Financial (temporary CFOs) and Countsy (on-demand accountants) rely on people with a service-focused attitude so they give the customer what they want and help the client t0 feel secure relying on an outsider.

The service economy is innovative and it will change how people manage their lives. The on-demand startup world enables people to outsource task-oriented adulting (shopping, laundry, parking, etc.). The online sales industry will shift to a more people-focused high-touch form of selling. HelloSells, for example, published data about how it’s much easier to close a sale if the potential customers can talk to a real person right away.

Manufacturing
Beleaguered democratic candidate Andrew Yang has done one thing very well: raising awareness about robots taking over manufacturing. The point he makes is that we need to retrain people who will lose their jobs. But for kids, Yang points out the bright shiny newness of a career in manufacturing.

The New York Times has a feature story about the emergence of robotics classes in the high school curriculum. The takeaway for homeschool parents is to give manufacturing a chance. As one of the students says, “All the big companies that produce anything now have robots.”

Parenting
New York magazine points out that what robots really do is give us more leisure time. We know from many polls that parents would like to work at jobs that take less time so they can spend more time parenting. These reports are true for both men and women.

So the gig economy will provide the flexible jobs parents have been asking for. And robotic manufacturing will create job-sharing that has eluded the workforce until now because people will share jobs with a robot. And these changes will make time for parents to both support their family and take care of children.

What does this mean for homeschoolers? Stop encouraging your kids to think about jobs as all-consuming. Stop talking about parenting with regret or disdain, or worse, like you’re too good for it. Stop telling kids that the purpose of education is to get a job. Most kids will not have a huge impact personally. Most kids will not be rule-breakers that disrupt the world around them. Most kids will grow up and take care of children for about 50% of their time. Because there won’t be a lot of full-time jobs.

So consider treating your job as a parent like it is fulfilling, meaningful, and a logical place for a smart, educated person to land. Because that’s where your kid is headed, whether you respect parenting as a job or not.

6 replies
  1. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    It would be nice if the government would show respect for the jobs kids will have in the future. The CA legislature recently passed AB5 which would change the status of contractors in the gig economy to employees. The Gov. has endorsed the bill and is expected to sign it. When a state like CA has taken a step like this, many times other states follow suit. I don’t know all the angles and reasons given for micromanaging the gig economy here by the government but as a general rule I’m against it. Actually, I’m more laissez-faire than not for the economy in general. A good recent article on the AB5 bill and the gig economy can be found at https://centerforindividualism.org/in-the-most-entrepreneurially-innovative-state-the-politicians-hate-innovation-so-much-they-are-determined-to-kill-it/ .
    Customer Service paragraph – “The service economy is innovative and it will change how people manage their lives.” Maybe. It will to some extent. Also, it will vary by individual. There will be people like myself who will like to take on certain projects to gain working knowledge, have control over the outcome, and have the satisfaction of doing a job either by myself or with help from friends or experts. Over ten years ago, my brother, a friend, and myself replaced galvanized piping with PVC in the bathrooms, installed a new stationary tub with new fixtures, and tied in the washing machine direct to the main waste line. A year ago, my other brother, an engineer he knows, myself, and two other helpers removed two layers of roofing shingles, did some minor repair, installed new flashing and new shingles. It was hard work that needed to be done and we consumed many liters of gatorade. And I still do the yard work and shovel the snow in the winter. I do see a lot more of the gig economy but there’s still a lot of DIYers out there who are now using the Internet and watching YouTube videos.

    Reply
  2. Kat
    Kat says:

    The point Andrew Yang makes is pretty explicitly not that we should retrain people. The point of his campaign is that we need to establish universal basic income because retraining programs largely do not work. I know it’s not typically productive to nit-pick, but the increased flexibility UBI gives families aligns more clearly with your thesis here.

    Reply
    • jessica
      jessica says:

      UBI is such a flashy term, but it won’t work. What will most likely happen is ‘make good work’….jobs that typically were underpaid changed to earn a living wage, but rather pointless other than keeping humans busy. Humans should not be idle.

      Reply
  3. Vela
    Vela says:

    What about health insurance in this future gig economy? America’s health insurance system is not set up for this gig economy. Most Americans can’t afford the premiums of private health insurance.

    Reply
    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      A really sobering statistic that I read is Biden has 40% of voters over 45 and 5% of voters under 45. What this tells us is that universal health care will get past as soon as younger people can outvote the baby boomers. So it’s coming. It might not come immediately, but I see it as inevitable. To me it’s like gay marriage in that such a wide majority of young people support it that there was no stopping it.

      Reply

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