Dances With Words: “Your position is no longer available”

Nick Wolochatiuk ~ Dances With Words
Dances With Words: “Your position is no longer available”
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA… – …but gone in our neck of the woods. Patent leather, suede and a disposable fashion mentality have all but eliminated the ‘shoe-shine boy’ from our workforce. (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)

Just imagine the hundreds of trades, occupations and professions that no longer exist. There they are, the workers who are now redundant. Let’s go talk with a few of them.

“What did you do for a living?”

“As soon as travellers hopped off the cab or the bus at the station or terminal, people used to look for me to carry their suitcases. Then some wise guy put wheels on them and I was out of a job.”

“And what about you?”

“My two buddies and I used to be the third, fourth and fifth members of the flight crew. I monitored and controlled the engines and the hydraulics. He pored over maps and shot with a sextant. The other guy worked the radios. Now there’s just the pilot and co-pilot up front. They do everything.”

“And what about you, Ma’am?”

“I was the one who checked the copy submitted by the reporters. None of them knew the difference between ‘its and it’s’, or what product names had to be capitalized. They hadn’t discovered the importance of punctuation or paragraphing. Then came Spell Check, auto-correct, on-line thesaurus and Wiki.”
Let’s talk with that glum guy sitting over there: “What did you do?”

“Well, it was boring, but I sure got to say hello to a lot of people every day. Most had the right change, because I got to see them five days a week. It was the tourists who had to fumble for the right amount. Some held up the flow by asking how far is it to the next washroom or campsite. Now the regulars have a SpeedPass. The others just swipe their credit cards.”

There’s someone over there who says he’s done a lot of travelling. “So tell us about your travels.”

“I had a rail car all to myself at the end of the train. Whenever we had to switch onto a siding in the yard, or deal with a car with a hot bearing, I was the man. These days, it’s all acronyms. I’ve been replaced by an ETD, also called an EOT and a FRED, an SBU and an HTD, nicknamed ‘Wilma’. Just put those terms in your search engine to find out what they mean. You must know what a search ‘engine’ is! It’s not steam, nor diesel or electric.

I could go on and on. There are so many occupations out there that no longer exist. How sure are you that the work you’re doing today won’t be done by a machine?

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