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The International Writers Magazine- The Future of Careers in 2009

Career Choices in '09
Sam North

Once certain career choices seem to be going out of the window. We are in that transition moment - between the old and the new. Certainties are fragile, some things gone already. Want to work for the LA Times? Chicago Tribune? New York Times? Maybe you do, but will they be there in two or three years? Things are moving fast, the recession is just speeding the change, not the cause of it. Masters of the Universe borrowed fantasitc sums to control everything and now they can't pay and treasured insitutions will fold under the weight of greedy men's debts. But even before they took the money and ran - had they really thought about it - print is dying - high street retail too and as they go, all else will change too- every profession will be transformed by the web and no one is safe. No one.

Unless you already own Google.
TV is affected too. In the UK Channel 4 and Channel 5 who will probably have to merge to stay afloat. You only have to look at the Media section in The Guardian to realise that there are few jobs being advertised and that was once once a very fat section. It's still fat on-line but for how long? Here’s something to chew on: not only are national newspapers at risk in this recession, but those cash cow regional and local papers are doomed as well, as Google consumes everything in its path.

It’s no use thinking they are coming back after all is said and done either. A friend called tonight and said last week you could probably buy Saab for a dollar but now you can throw in Jaguar, Landrover, Chrysler, Volvo, as well. Same dollar. You want it in instalments? Now even in Japan they are beginning to realise 2009 will be a disaster for the whole economy. OK – it’s serious, the world economy is falling off a cliff. As mentioned in my December editorial I have done my bit for the economy and borrowed money for a new car. But this may not be my most sensible decision. I could have waited a couple of months and bought the whole of Fiat for the same price, maybe get Honda thrown in as well.

I can think of some companies that could do with hiring people. My bank for example.
You tried calling your bank recently? So OK a lot of people in India or wherever have jobs answering telephones but oddly enough I want to speak to a human in person. I think a bank that offers real human service will be a winner after the recession, but perhaps I am too old fashioned. I’d like to speak in person to my cellphone provider, energy supplier too. In fact I’d like to junk almost ALL of the ‘improvements’ these big companies have made in getting rid of the customer interface and replacing them with call centres. Sure it has made executives rich, but it hasn’t made life easier or better. Press 4 and hold for ten hours if you think it has.

A student asked me what jobs will go in this recession. I’m still thinking about it. It's not just the recession is it. That's too easy. This is all about the digital revolution. This is much like when horses were replaced at the beginning of the last century and then came phones, radio, mass transit - all of human life was transformed, quickly. But now it is changing again and the recession is just going to speed it all up. We may not like the final result. We may hate it, in fact. What will it look like? Seen the pictures of rioting in Greece lately? Imagine the whole western world like that. It could happen.

You can see the writing on the wall for publishing already, whether news, magazines, non-fiction and even fiction judging from how little my students actually read. So yes, publishing, journalism, editing, design are all going to be squeezed. Kit, our former publisher will attest to that, so many of her friends are out of job as magazines close one after another.

What about advertising? They are putting a brave face on it, but you know they have to be hurting and expect a big hiring freeze in New York, L.A. and London for 2009. Companies still have to advertise but maybe not in print, maybe not on TV, maybe just on Facebook or Google, it might target their market more specifically. Personally I hate seeing ads on-line but kids don’t mind, in fact seem to like it.

Fashion? Charity shops are going to be so cool in ‘09. I wonder if fashion will survive. Everyone needs a party dress apparently but only from Primark I should think. So China surviving is a sure bet. I still buy at Gap - but only ‘cause I hate shopping. It seems I bought at least ten striped sweaters last year. Madness.

Another clue? I got a letter from Bosch telling me the guarantee had run out on my fridge and washer.They want over a £100 per item to continue cover. But it’s Bosch; I bought them cause they will last. If they don’t I’ll buy new, it’s cheaper.
So repairmen are at risk too.

Come to think of it my new Fiat Bravo only needs servicing every 18,000 miles, the car mechanics have priced themselves out of jobs at £75 an hour. Soon be cheaper to buy new than secondhand.

What career would you tell your kids or students to go for? Lawyer? Bet that too goes on-line very soon. After all we have, why not lawyers competing for your business? Cheapest one gets to defend you in court or sue Monsanto for just about everything they do. No win no fee.

Photographer? I don’t think so. Digital cameras have killed the profession and the mobile phone will kill them in turn. In fact the mobile phone will be your bank, your friend, your camera, video recorder, health monitor, entertainer, gamer, personal tracker…. No end of aps right

Sports journalist? You think? It’s all going onto the phone as well. Instant reports by cheap bloggers supported by Google. No one cares about good writing anyway so…duh.

TV? On your phone with shorter programmes for the three minute attention span generation. Like porn, shopping, everything. Lose it and your whole life goes with it.
Bookstores – already dying.
Supermarket check out girls – scan your own will soon replace all. It's already in Tesco.
Retail? I don’t think so buddy.

Teacher? - They are so keen to get you put your lectures on-line so students don’t actually have to come to class, they will soon realise they don’t need buildings, or Universities or Colleges or even school or Teachers. Stay home, watch the computer and deal with your obesity problem pal. So no, long term, teaching is a dead end too.

What the hell is a career choice? What does this 21st Century need? I'm coming up with a list.

Carer – the population is ageing fast. (But wait - the Japanese are investing billions into robots that can care for the old and most likely have more empathy than the people we hired to look after my mom last year.)
Personal Trainer
Security Guard
Health and Safety Nazi
Bureaucrat (You think we’d ever outsouce them – you are an optimist)
Thief (A career op that requires agility and cunning and the police almost never catch any being too interested in catching people driving cars)
Druglord (Big turnover – short life - hot chicks– much bling)
Euthanasia Guidance Councillor *I'm tipping this for a huge growth industry.
Food Tech– someone has to grow some food and spray the chemicals to make it last.
That pretty much takes care of everything I think.
Yep. Welcome to the Recession

© Sam North Jan 1st 2009

Mean Tide by Sam North
'Extraordinary novel about a child's psychic awakening'

Lulu Press - ISBN: 978-1-4092-0354-4
Review: 'An engaging, unusual and completely engrossing read'
- Beverly Birch author of 'Rift'

Sent to live with his spooky Grandma by the river in Greenwich, Oliver (12) discovers a whole world of disturbed people who are probably even crazier than the ones he left behind. When he finds a dog with its throat cut on the beach, everything changes.
Age range 12-16 and all adults

Buy at Amazon

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