Future Of Work: We Can’t All Become Coders

The future of work is changing rapidly. Artificial intelligence is changing the workplace. Slowly it is displacing humans on manual tasks. More importantly, in the next decade, even some knowledge-based jobs will be replaced by innovation. This can leave people feeling unsettled. In today’s workplace, there’s a noticeable feeling of uncertainty. The reason for this unsettled feeling is that we are not all used to change.

Change is inherently scary.

The good news is that change truly makes us better in our life. It is an opportunity to grow and evolve. A lot of us, according to World Economic Forum, more than 30% of us will need to learn new skills so that we can get better jobs.

In 2018, 2019, many coding camps sprung up and everyone wanted to learn to code. According to coursereport, the bootcamp market grew by 49%. Artificial Intelligence is leading the new wave of innovations. People who are currently in jobs ripe for displacement are re-training themselves to become coders.

The truth is that not everyone can be coders and not everyone should be coders.

Programming is a job that requires abstract thinking, logical thinking, and attention to detail. For people who are not used to that mindset, simply learning to code using a book or a course won’t lead to a fulfilling career.

You want to retrain yourself on skills that align with your interests and passions.

In the age of emerging technology: artificial intelligence, big data, virtual reality, and robotics, there are plenty of jobs that will require technical understanding but at the same time involve more human skills. These jobs won’t be replaced by technology any time soon.

As a part of retraining and re-skilling, how about thinking of the alignment of Ikigai. Ikigai is the Japanese concept of finding your reason for being. In the center of passion, mission, vocation, and profession is ikigai. It’s a purpose for living, and a reason for being. Many credits this concept as the blueprint for happiness.

Below image illustrates what it means to find happiness through Ikigai.

In the age of change in the workplace, it’s an opportunity to find your ikigai. Some of us are in jobs we currently love. What if these jobs are going to be replaced, too? That is okay. In the age of innovation, just like our jobs that are transformed, we can transform, too.

The question to ask yourself is: Can you revise your current profession, add, subtract, modify, to create a new job for yourself that will lead to Ikigai in the future of work.

Reliance on the status quo

In change, there’s almost a need to cling onto the status quo. According to psychologists, we have an inherent status quo bias that prevents us from being comfortable in change. Because uncertainty is uncomfortable, you tend to work harder at your current jobs.

But, what you need is to self-reflect on what your ideal profession should be in the future workplace. Through self-reflection, you can figure out an action plan for yourself.

In some ways, embracing new challenges is the cure for our collective future of work problems. Often, it’s not the new challenge that leads to the result of finding your ikigai. It’s the journey along the way that leads to other avenues of exploration that will lead to finding your ikigai.

The journey is never ending. There’s always gonna be growth, improvement, adversity; you just gotta take it all in and do what’s right, continue to grow, continue to live in the moment.

Antonio Brown

Be prepared for a longer and more elaborate journey. The future is complex. The road is winding. Innovation does not happen overnight. Think in terms of years and plan accordingly.

Modifying the status quo

One of the best ways to ease yourself into the future workplace is to modify your existing status quo to integrate technology. Think of yourself as a self-sustaining company. If corporations are integrating technology to automate processes, how can you integrate technology into your life?

Many people learn to code to solve problems in their daily life. If you are an artist, how can you leverage new technology to display your artwork, generate your artwork, and sell your artwork to more customers? If you are a doctor, how can you leverage new technology to automate your workflows in a way that will allow you to focus on the patient? If you are a shop keeper, how can you leverage new technology to help you sell online to a wider customer base? If you are a marketing manager, have you thought about what it would be like to work with a team located across the world serving clients worldwide?

Opportunities Created

Modifying the status quo often leads us to new opportunities created. In surgery, new robotic technology is improving procedures every day and helping doctors to develop less invasive procedures. At the same time, there’s a new type of assistance required in these types of surgeries. Nurses and surgical assistants are learning to load equipment for the robots, monitor their activities while learning to adapt to this new working environment.

There will be manual work that will be completely replaced. But, at the same time, there will be many new industries and jobs opened. If you keep your eyes open while you try your hands at different types of new jobs, then you may find new jobs that are more fulfilling.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conumdrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.

Martin Luther King

If there’s an urgency, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish. Your life may be re-energized because you are learning every day.

Evaluate and use all the skills that you have

Innovation is happening every day. Have you evaluated all the skills that you have? Skills that will not be easily replaced are emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment, critical thinking, etc..

Create a worksheet for yourself where you list out all the skills that you have. Circle the ones that you think you are best at. Then, envision a job that will use all of your best skills.

According to the World Economic Forum, 65% of our children now entering primary school will hold jobs that don’t exist yet. According to McKinsey, by 2030, demand for jobs that require a higher level of cognitive skills such as emotional intelligence, creativity, communication, judgment and critical thinking will rise by 19% and in Europe by 14%.

With new technology, there’s also more of a need for new kinds of service jobs that use a combination of human skills in conjunction with technology skills. This type of service job will involve interacting with an AI-enabled system to come up with solutions.

Learn to be empowered by information and automation

One of the pitfalls of technological innovation is often that we are inundated by information and feel bogged down by automation. In your own daily life, are you using data and technology to help you to become more efficient? Are you learning to deal with a global workforce and a global clientele?

Many traders at investment banks are learning to code so that they can track market movements and build models that will work better.

Many marketing consultants are automating their marketing flow to manage the ever-increasing amounts of newsletters, press releases, and campaigns that they have to run. They are spending more time analyzing customer behavior from data generated by marketing software.

Many parents are hiring babysitters, tutors, and housekeepers to manage their family life better. Many of them are learning to work remotely freeing up time to spend with their children. Some of them are outsourcing parts of their current jobs by using Fiverr and Upwork so that they can also free up time to up-skill in their careers.

Create your own job if one doesn’t exist

If you are like me, you look at your list of skills that you are good at and you are not sure which subsets you want to pursue. You are not sure what job can best use your skills. Then, give yourself time to figure it out. There are many opportunities to find freelance work that will allow you to try out different career paths.

Often, hands-on experience is the best way to learn whether you truly enjoy a certain job. Many entrepreneurs try and fail at many businesses before succeeding in one. Keep trying to move your needle closer to the finish line. It’s almost a requirement to keep trying.

No one gets it right the first time.

As innovation dynamically grows in the marketplace, by trying to create your perfect job, you are also up-skilling your skillsets. You are going with the tide to figure out what job you will truly enjoy in the future workplace.


Future of work can be scary if you are not used to change. But, it’s even more scary if you don’t try. The solution is not to pigeon-hole yourself into jobs that may not fit you just because there are more jobs in that area. Instead, try to use all of your best skills to come up with a job that you are best suited for.

Check out my website.

Jun Wu is a Hybrid Journalist for Technology, AI, Data Science. She has a background in programming and statistics.

Source: Future Of Work: We Can’t All Become Coders

WorkingNation highlights the trend of technology and globalization replacing jobs in diverse industries across the United States.

New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break – Alan Kohll

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Many American employees strive to perform their best in the workplace. They work overtime, agree to take on extra projects and rarely take a step away from their desk. In reality, this “work hard” mentality isn’t effective – and it’s definitely unhealthy. Employees who believe that they must work 24/7 to achieve a good standing in the workplace have the wrong idea. And unfortunately, employees often gain this idea through employers’ attitudes.

Chaining yourself to a desk or scarfing down your lunch in your cubicle isn’t a recipe for success – it’s a recipe for disaster. Without taking adequate breaks from work, employee productivity, mental well-being and overall work performance begin to suffer. Overworked employees often deal with chronic stress that can easily lead to job burnout. While this not only negatively affects employee health and well-being, it negatively affects the bottom line, too.

This is why it’s important that employers start encouraging employees to take breaks throughout the workday – especially lunch breaks. These breaks are essential in helping employees de-stress and re-charge for the rest of the workday. Regular breaks can also help improve overall job satisfaction. A recent survey by Tork shows exactly how important lunch breaks are, along with how rare they are in the North American workplace.

According to the survey:

  • Nearly 20% of North American workers worry their bosses won’t think they are hardworking if they take regular lunch breaks, while 13% worry their co-workers will judge them.
  • 38% of employees don’t feel encouraged to take a lunch break.
  • 22% of North American bosses say that employees who take a regular lunch break are less hardworking.

These statistics are really a shame because regular breaks create better employees. In fact, according to the Tork survey, nearly 90% of North American employees claim that taking a lunch breaks helps them feel refreshed and ready to get back to work. There are many research-backed health, wellness and performance benefits of taking breaks. Here are just a few examples of the benefits of regular breaks:

  • Increased productivity. While taking breaks might sound counterintuitive when it comes to boosting productivity, it’s one of the best ways to do so. Employees gain focus and energy after stepping away from their desks. A lunch break can help prevent an unproductive, mid-afternoon slump.
  • Improved mental well-being. Employees need time to recharge. Stress is incredibly common in the North American workplace, and it has detrimental effects on employees. Taking some time away from the desk to go for a quick walk or enjoy a healthy lunch helps release some of this stress and improves mental well-being.
  • Creativity boost. Taking a break can give employees a fresh perspective on challenging projects. It’s hard for employees to develop new ideas or solutions when they’ve been looking at the same thing all day. A lunch break will most certainly help get those creative juices flowing.
  • More time for healthy habits. Regular breaks, including a lunch break, give employees time to practice healthy habits in the workplace. They can use break times to make a healthy lunch, exercise, meditate, or engage in a self-care activity.

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Besides these awesome benefits of regular breaks, the Tork survey also revealed that employees who take a lunch break on a daily basis feel more valued by their employer, and 81% of employees who take a daily lunch break having a strong desire to be an active member in their company.

North American employees who take a lunch break every day scored higher on a range of engagement metrics, including job satisfaction, likelihood to continue working at the same company and likelihood to recommend their employer to others.

I recently spoke with Jennifer Deal, the Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership and Affiliated Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at University of Southern California (USC). She had this to say about Tork’s research and employee lunch breaks:

“The Tork research shows that employees who take a lunch break are more likely to be satisfied with their job, and say they are as effective and efficient as they would like to be. This is consistent with other research, which shows that taking breaks from work is important for recovery – and adequate recovery is critical for top performance.

Energy isn’t unlimited, and just as athletes have halftime to rest during a game, employees need to rest so they can do their best work. Taking a break in the middle of the day for lunch is a recovery period, allowing employees to come back refreshed and reinvigorated for the second half – as this research clearly shows.”

Both Tork and Jennifer agree: employers will benefit from employees who take breaks. But how can employers change the mentality that “breaks are for slackers” in the workplace? Below are a few tips for encouraging employees to take breaks at your office:

  • Revamp break rooms. Be sure that the office has at least one break room for employees to retreat to whenever they need some time away from their desks. Provide comfortable furniture along with table and chairs for eating lunch. Employees will be more inclined to take breaks and lunch breaks when they have a comfortable space to do so.
  • Provide incentives. As a part of your workplace wellness program, offer employees some sort of incentive for taking regular breaks and a daily lunch break. Try creating a “break challenge” and have employees document their breaks throughout the day. Reward employees for their participation.
  • Discuss the benefits. Many employees aren’t aware of all the health and productivity benefits of regular breaks. Send out an email blast, put up some flyers or have managers give talks about the importance of taking some time away from the desk.
  • Take breaks yourself. Leading by example is always the best route. When employees see that their managers are taking lunch breaks and taking short breaks throughout the day, they’ll feel more encouraged to take breaks, too.

While the act of encouraging breaks is a huge step in the right direction, it’s also important to ensure that these breaks are healthy. For example, employees could potentially use break time for unhealthy habits such as getting fast food, smoking or scrolling through social media. Spending break time practicing poor health habits won’t yield productivity and wellness benefits.

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Although employers can’t necessarily control how employees utilize their break time, they can certainly encourage healthy habits in the workplace. Here are some healthy break ideas:

  • Walking clubs. Team walking clubs are an excellent way to encourage regular breaks and physical activity. Encourage employees to form walking clubs with their colleagues and take two 10-minute walks each workday.
  • Healthy snacking. Stock company kitchens and break rooms with healthy snacking options like fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, and nuts. Encourage employees to take a midday break and do some healthy snacking together
  • Gym time. If employees really don’t want to leave the workplace for lunch, encourage them to use the gym instead. If you have an onsite gym, allow employees 30-minutes of on-the-clock time to use the facility. If you don’t have an onsite gym, consider bringing in a weekly yoga instructor or providing vouchers for gym memberships.
  • Socialize. Quality work relationships improve both mental and physical health. They help reduce stress and boost job satisfaction. Encourage employees to take breaks together by providing a game room or fun weekly team activities.
  • Quiet time. Sometimes break time is best spent as quiet time. Offer employees a quiet area to retreat to when they need to clear their minds and recharge. Employees can use this space to meditate, read or listen to some relaxing music.

Encouraging employees to take regular breaks throughout the day, including lunch breaks, is an easy way for employers to boost employee wellness along with work performance. Employers don’t want overworked employees running their business – it’s terrible for the bottom line. Help your employees feel refreshed and reduce some stress by allowing them to take regular breaks throughout the workday.

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