Dear Kay: I Just Lost My Tech Job … To A Robot. Help!


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Dear Kay: I was laid off from my tech job, and now I can’t find any new employment because my job can be done by a robot! What am I supposed to do? This is all I know how to do: I’ve had the same job since graduating from college! — Sincerely, Pointless Human.

Dear Pointless,

First, you’re not pointless. God put you here for a reason. So you have that going for you, at least. I completely understand why you’re concerned about your future, but I’m going to give you some good ole’ fashioned parenting your mummy and daddy clearly skipped. I’m not trying to make you feel badly about yourself — I’m trying to inspire you to see your life and career from a fresh, honest perspective.

No matter who you are or what you do, you are always replaceable. It’s not just robots that can replace you. If any of us died today, most of our bosses would fill our roles by the following Monday.

While I understand from your longer message that your identity is closely tied to your career — a trend I’ve witnessed in a majority of city-dwelling Americans — you’re failing yourself by not becoming a whole person outside of your arbitrary employment title. Now is your perfect opportunity to grow up and out of the lie that your value is tied to your career.

Take some time for yourself. If you’ve not managed your finances well enough for an event like this, then you should probably get a part-time job or something flexible like ride-sharing or food delivery to tide you over. I hate to say it, but you’re not hitting rock bottom. You hit that when you decided not to plan for your future. Losing your job is God’s way of redirecting your life path.

The upside is you can now do anything you want. You’re probably going to struggle for awhile, but with hard work and determination, you’ll be fine eventually.

If the power grid fails, every piece of technology, all of our data and knowledge, will disappear forever, so your career had no long-term purpose, anyway. Aside from your own personal growth, just remember our position on this planet is inherently vulnerable.

You may have been replaced by a robot today, but if we do not sustain our current levels of development and sociological change, we won’t even have electricity in the future, because we’ll have descended into chaos through broken supply chains and the collapse of global governance.

I’m not saying your previous career was pointless: that’s just what happens with human development. The only three things that stand the test of time are art, literature and architecture, so unless you’re employed in one of those fields, the work we do is inconsequential to our longevity as a species. Take a chill pill and realize a robot isn’t replacing you, it’s giving you your entire day back to do whatever you want.

Robots might end up replacing us, but they could also free up our time to live without having to work. I go back and forth on my fears of robots replacing us. Sometimes I go full tin-foil hat and think the global government is trying to depopulate the planet and turn us all into robots. Other times, I’m more optimistic.

What if our robot replacements manage to do all the jobs we don’t want to do, allowing us to become almost fully self-sufficient in our homesteads and rendering traditional employment a thing lost to history? In this utopian landscape, the only people who’d need to work would be those building the robots and controlling their purpose… (RELATED: Facebook’s AI ChatBot Thinks Mark Zuckerberg Is ‘Creepy And Manipulative’)

Which is how we land right back in tin-foil hat dystopia land. However, we don’t have to wait around to see whether the robots are a good thing or a bad thing. We can choose the answer to that right now.

Why don’t you just figure out how to do your previous career better than the robots, or work for one of the companies creating the robots that replaced you? Robots aren’t natural phenomena. They only exist because of human development, so if you must work in tech, become one of the people innovating the changes that hurt you in the past. Duh.