Deciding what job you want is an important decision, perhaps one of the most important decision you’ll make. In some cases, you’ll need to secure appropriate licenses, gain valuable job experience and get a relevant educational degree. With this kind of time and financial investment, it’s important that you pick the right career.
You want to think about what you love to do and what you’re good at, but you also want to think about what pays well. After all, you’ll need to make a living off of it and take care of yourself. However, not all jobs are as prevalent anymore and some have become obsolete.
In the future, technology and new processes will make some of the jobs of the day unnecessary. This means that you shouldn’t waste your time trying to prepare for a job that’s not going to be there anymore. Some of the jobs that will become useless in the future might be more surprising than you think.
Here are 25 jobs that will be rendered useless in the future.
25. Newspaper Journalist
Because of the internet, online publications and blogs, the newspaper industry is slowly disappearing. Nobody wants to pay to read content anymore when they can get the information for free somewhere online. Combine this with the fact that printing costs are rising and advertisers are finding different ways to reach consumers instead of placing newspaper ads, and soon there won’t be a need for newspaper journalists anymore. As a result, many universities no longer even offer newspaper journalism as a major because the schools recognize that graduates won’t be able to secure a long term job anywhere with their journalism degree.
24. Fast Food Cook
As fast food workers petition, protest and march for $15 an hour, leadership teams at the major fast food restaurant chains are working hard to find ways to replace these employees with machines that won’t protest for higher wages and will be a more cost-effective solution for the long term. The fast food chains know that customers will only pay so much for their fast food cheeseburgers, tacos and fried chicken. If the fast food restaurants want to stay profitable, the companies will have to find a way to keep wages low, raise food prices without losing customers, or replace the employees with technology. Some restaurant chains, like McDonald’s and Wendy’s, are already testing out ways to replace human employees with computers.
23. Insurance Underwriter
When you apply for a new insurance policy for your home, life or car, an insurance underwriter evaluates your application and determines what type of risk you present. If you’re a dangerous driver or have a terminal illness, you’re more likely to need a payout than a safe driver or a healthier person. It is in their best interest to not allow you to participate in their insurance program. Traditionally, insurance underwriters determine eligibility. However, more insurance companies are using computer algorithms instead of people to calculate this decision and in some cases this process has become automated. Insurance underwriters are often not needed.
22. Sewing Machine Operator
Think about a sweat shop in the garment district and you’ll imagine rows and rows of desks with sewing machines run by operators. However, for many clothing factories, this is no longer the case. Sewing machine operators have largely been replaced by larger textile machines that can churn out more clothing pieces per hour with less human error. Much of the American manufacturing industry has been sent overseas for cheaper labor that reflect in lower final prices for cost-sensitive customers. For the comparatively few factories that still hire sewing machine operators, it is unlikely that they’ll continue to hire in the future.
21. Mail Sorter
At one time, you could get your first job in the mail room of the U.S. Post Office or a large corporation sorting mail. Technology has replaced many of these jobs with machines that can sort mail by weight or destination. Human mail sorters are no longer needed to process mail. Even for machines that must be operated by humans or that otherwise need oversight, very few employees are needed to sort mail effectively using a machine. If this is your career aspiration or your “in” to work your way up in a company, think of a different career path because this one won’t be around much longer.
Fishing is dangerous business and has been this way for centuries. Fishermen going out on short or long fishing trips on open, and often turbulent seas. As environmental policies and a general uneasiness about the sustainability of fishing on fish populations become more popular, fish farms will become the more popular way to get fish for human consumption. This will leave fewer and fewer opportunities available for fishermen to make a full time living from open water fishing. Fishing for recreation will still be a fun hobby, though. This likely provides no consolation to professional fishermen who were often compensated well for taking the risk.
19. Agricultural Manager
As an industry, agriculture has been impacted significantly by the introduction of technology. With fewer laborers and technicians needed to produce crops and raise cattle due to advancing agricultural technology, even fewer managers will be needed to supervise crowds of employees. Within the industry, becoming an agricultural manager used to be a great career goal to work toward achieving. However, soon enough, these roles will become non-existent within the agricultural industry. Existing agricultural managers should find other industries where their management skills may be transferrable. Non-management employees within the agricultural industry may want to train for a new position in a different industry.
Cashiers accept payment for products that you buy in stores. For many high school kids, becoming a cashier was an entry way into their first paid job. Unfortunately, technology, through smartphone payment options and self checkout kiosks, are slowly making cashiering jobs obsolete. For retail and grocery stores, self checkout kiosks enable customers to process their own transactions by scanning item UPC codes with a scanner, bagging up their own purchases, and processing payment through the same screens customers would use with a normal cashier-staffed point of sale system. Customers are becoming more comfortable using self checkout kiosks and some customers even prefer them to the long waits for a human cashier.
17. Newspaper Delivery
As the newspaper industry slowly becomes obsolete because of the internet, there won’t be much of a need for newspaper delivery boys. Even for publications that survive the digital transition, customers will gain access to these publications through digital subscription services through their tablets and laptops. There will not be a need for newspaper delivery staff to hand deliver each newspaper to every subscriber every week or morning. This used to be a side gig for adults or a first time job for high school students who didn’t mind waking up extra early to deliver the daily or weekly newspapers.
16. Newspaper Printer
Just as there won’t be a need to newspaper journalists and newspaper delivery boys in the future, the decline in the newspaper industry means that newspaper printers also won’t be needed to print out daily or weekly editions of publications for distribution. Because of the high cost associated with printing out physical copies of a newspaper, the diminishing numbers of newspaper subscribers, and the advancement of technology readers can use to view publications on, newspaper printers aren’t in demand like they were. For newspaper printers that are still in business, they’re printing out less copies of smaller newspapers that have fewer pages.
15. Switchboard Operator
For many women in the middle of the 20th century, working as a switchboard operator for telephone companies was one of the ways that they got involved with the growing workforce. Believe it or not, there are still some switchboard operator positions that exist in the United States and some other developing countries. As more people dump their home phone lines in favor of more robust and available smartphone cellular plans, these positions are becoming more obsolete because of digital technology. These factors make the switchboard operator positions obsolete in the future. New employees shouldn’t waste their time applying for these positions.
When personal and business computers first came to prominence, many companies employed typists to type up dictated or handwritten notes into a computer or, before that, with a type writer and paper. Now that most people are taught to type as part of their school education and people own computers at home, there’s really no reason to pay someone else to type for you. For people that need to type faster than they can move their fingers or who have physical impairments, such as arm or hand amputations, there are still more cost-effective solutions available than hiring a typist. Purchasable dictation software has come a long way and can making typing faster and easier for most people.
13. Street Vendor
Despite the growing popularity of food trucks, traditional street vendors are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Grabbing food from a street vendors cart is one of the easiest and fastest ways to grab a quick bite, especially in big cities such as New York and Chicago. In many ways, it is iconic to eat from one of these street vendors. However, food trucks, fast food restaurants, affordable food delivery services, and quick service restaurants such as Pei Wei and Panera have intensified the competition for these street vendors. Additionally, some people want to eat healthier and question the quality and/or safety of food that comes from a street vendor. This may be why you see less of them on the street.
12. Flight Attendant
In the early days of commercial airlines, becoming a flight attendant was a status symbol for women who wanted to travel the world, dress up in fine clothes, and join the workforce. It became a highly coveted position with fierce competition. As standards for flight attendants became more relaxed, general expectations about flying on commercial airlines did, too. Ultra economy airlines such as Spirit and Allegiant Air divided up different normally-included aspects of commercial flying. Now customers have to pay for snacks and baggage fees, or have to go with out. Many customers now bring their own snacks, so a flight attendant isn’t required to disburse them.
11. Floral Designer
Floral designers created beautiful flower displays for special occasions, especially for weddings. This might include standalone large vases that lined the wedding aisle at a church and the personal flowers bridesmaids carried. Now grocery stores and big box warehouse stores offer floral packages for weddings that come at a fraction of the cost of hiring a floral designer. Online services enable brides to design the floral displays that they want without having to leave home. These factors have made it more difficult to eek out a full time living as a floral designer already. Who will want to be one in the future?
10. Travel Agent
The last time you made travel arrangements, did you make them for yourself online or did you pay a travel agent an extra fee to make those online travel arrangements before? The invention of the internet deeply hurt travel agents, who used to make their living booking hotels, cruises, tours, and other travel for clients. However, clients no longer need travel agents to make these kind of travel arrangements for them. It’s cheaper and faster to do it yourself online. Even travel agents who specialize in corporate travel are impacted, as executive assistants now book travel on behalf of their superiors.
9. Door-to-Door Sales
Door-to-Door sales used to be a lucrative way to sell consumer-facing products such as vacuum cleaners and encyclopedia sets. Salesmen made it more convenient for buyers, making it so that they didn’t need to leave their house to make a purchase they didn’t know they needed. The door-to-door salesman could give thorough demonstrations of the product to potential customers and answer any questions that they might have. Unfortunately, consumers don’t want strangers knocking on their doors and it’s very convenient to buy products online or in big box stores such as Wal-mart and Target. Door-to-door salesmen are not needed anymore.
It’s hard to imagine a world without the public library systems. Hopefully, we’ll never have to find out what that looks like. However, librarians who re-shelve books and loan out books won’t be needed much longer. For library systems with physical library locations, self serve checkout kiosks mean that librarians don’t have to handle the checkout for books on loan. Plus, most library systems now heavily invest in their online resources so patrons can rent an e-book or audiobook that they want to enjoy at home. Even movies and music volumes can now be rented online without having to drive to the library.
Companies used to hire telemarketers to pitch their products and services to consumers and other businesses because it was a model that proved to work. If telemarketers could only keep prospects on the phone for a certain amount of time, it was likely that they’d be able to educate the customer, increase brand awareness, and maybe make a sale. Caller ID systems mean customers don’t have to answer the phone for strangers because they feared they’d miss out on a personal call. Smartphone apps like Mr. Number will identify a number, whether telemarketer or malicious spam call. Because of low success rates and high costs of human telemarketers, some companies have already turned to robo-dialers as an alternative.
6. Truck Driver
Truck drivers provide an importance service to society. They transport the goods we want to buy regularly from all corners of the United States using highway systems. However, the truck driving industry is steeped in controversy. Long hours and long cross-country driving shifts have caused some terrible accidents as truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel and hit other drivers. Although some people feel truck drivers are compensated fairly, many believe that they deserve more compensation for being away from their family so much. As a result, alternative modes of freight are being explored as a better option.
5. Bus Driver
There are two types of bus drivers: school bus drivers that transport students to and from school and public transportation bus drivers who make scheduled stops on scheduled routes for the general public. In most places, the current public transportation systems are too limited and unreliable for people to do without cars. Also, the growth of ride sharing services such as Lyft and Uber mean that private transportation is more affordable and convenient than ever before. For students, online classes mean that fewer students may actually go to a classroom. There won’t be a need for bus drivers to drive them.
4. Radio Show Host
When was the last time you actually listened to a radio show? With mp3s, podcasts, and music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, there’s really no reason to turn on the radio. Some countries have disabled their AM radio services and others are starting to get rid of FM radio. Over time, these will become antiquated ways to distribute and listen to music and talk shows. Unbelievably, there are still schools around that teach students how to broadcast on these ancient platforms and to become a radio show host. Don’t waste your time or money learning to become a radio show host. If you must, start a podcast. You most likely won’t make any money from it, but it could become a fun hobby.
3. Disc Jockey
When music was expensive to own or when it was difficult to shuffle through songs in an agreeable order, disc jockeys, or DJs, provided a valuable service by curating events and radio shows. Now, people don’t want to pay DJs to play music at their prom or wedding. They can instead rent sound equipment and play carefully selected (and often free) playlists of their choosing. This is a much more affordable option for people who need DJ services and customers don’t have to worry that the DJ will go off and do their own thing with music choices or, in a worst case scenario, not show up at all.
Small businesses relied on bookkeepers to maintain their accounting books for tax purposes and to send out payroll. Maybe small business owners still need accountants for heavy duty accounting needs. However, inexpensive online and app-based payroll systems, like WAVE Accounting, Tax Bot, and QuickBooks online take care of bookkeeping tasks at a fraction of the cost of a bookkeeper. If small business owners need additional bookkeeping support, they could get a virtual assistant on a per project basis. This will limit the number of bookkeeping jobs in the future because these other options remains much more affordable for small businesses that want to operate leanly.
Long before the invention of translation apps, translators helped people who speak or read in different languages from one another communicate. With the invention of translation software and smartphone apps, people can translate verbal or written language from a language they don’t understand to one that they do in real time. Each year, these software programs become more and more accurate. This means that translators may soon be out of a job permanently because of new technology that made their job obsolete. Some users may even think that it’s less awkward to use technology software over having to wait for a translator’s help in person.
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