At night, after the younger kids go to sleep, my wife and I will sit in bed and watch a TV show of some sorts. It’s a tradition as far back as I can remember. (We have recently added a third member in ole Pablo The Dog. )
As we were getting set up for whatever show we’re now watching, I noticed my wife calling in a prescription to be refilled. She had the phone on speaker so I was able to hear the “dialogue” and was amazed at how much better the Artificial Intelligence which took her call has become over the past few years.
Charlotte was able to complete her refill order in about 2 minutes time, at 9:30 pm, with NO human being on the other end of the order. Think about how much money CVS saved by not having to pay someone to take that call.
This is just one more example of how AI is changing the landscape for labor. We’ve all known about call centers being outsourced to India. And we’ve all known about self-serving kiosks in McDonalds. We’ve even heard of robots that can harvest crops and kill weeds too on the farm.
Think a bit ahead, though, and you can’t help but assume every, single WHITE collar job could be outsourced or automated at some point. Just think about the jobs you had in your careers. Think most of those can’t be done cheaper or more efficiently overseas or ultimately by AI?
And this brings me to the point of this article:
Having a college degree is NOT a skill!
Going to college does not remove you from the probability of your line of work being outsourced or automated. In fact, I’d argue your college degree, which trains you for a white collar job, has a higher probability of being outsourced than many other career choices which do not require a college degree.
What are the jobs likely to require your labor? Well, ANYTHING that needs to be created, built, fixed, serviced and sold on location.
The house you will be living in most likely will not be built by robots anytime soon. That house also can’t be built by people in India or Vietnam. Obviously there are pre–built homes, done in a warehouse and transported by truck to a location to be put up, but no one is going to buy a home, built by overseas labor and then SHIPPED to the US to be delivered to Atlanta.
The kind of labor that will remain in demand for many years to come will be SKILLED labor. Not just guys who can roof a home, which is still going to be an in-demand skill set, but anything that requires knowledge on how to do things that can only be done on location.
This knowledge will require some level of learning. Some of it might be done in a university, indeed. But not the kind of university classes which teach gender studies et al. Those days are over, other than for the truly elite who can afford to waste their time and money in meaningless enterprises.
But the way I see it, the best kind of learning for young people starting out is on-the-job training, the type where you are getting paid to learn a skill. Not the kind where you are PAYING, via huge debt, to learn nothing, the way we’ve been told is needed for the last 40 years.
Thus, what I’m telling my kids is to consider joining the Navy as a SeaBee.
An 18 year-old kid thinking of going to college with no idea what to study or do, and yet pay THOUSANDS of dollars vs. going into the Navy and learning the skills above, WITH PAY?
Is this even a debate? Who will have better career prospects in the future, never mind just good know-how? And the Navy will even pay YOU thousands to join and learn!
Once you’ve completed your enlistment, you will also have access to the insane GI Bill benefits if you want to pursue a college degree. But why? Why not start your own fabricating company? Being your own boss as an electrician? Etc. If you want to use the GI Bill to take some accounting classes at night, more power to you but why not use your skills to earn a GREAT living, as your own boss with a skill-set that is in HUGE demand?
I need a generator installed. I don’t know how to do it so I’m going to hire that out to someone who has the skills to get it done.
I would like a gas line installed into my grill to be able to use my natural gas connection instead of having my Blue Rhino’s go dead when I’m half-way through grilling. Again, I know not how to do it, and am not going to learn it. It scares me to try. So, I’m going to hire that out too.
These are just a few of the skill sets that will NEVER be automated or outsourced. And I’d be willing to pay decent money to get this done.
In fact, if you go to Amazon, you can see the huge amount of resources the Naval Education and Training Center offers.
Yeah, if you follow this military learning route to open your own business, you’re going to need some marketing know-how. I don’t challenge that. But do you think you’re going to get that at college???
I interviewed Jessica Stansberry last year for my podcast. Jessica has a Youtube Channel where she shows you how to become an entrepreneur. She actually took marketing while at college and the funny thing is they offered not one single course on on-line marketing.
It was all old techniques and classes that were from antiquated business school syllabi. And yet the university is holding itself out as offering business/marketing courses…for a huge fee of course! This is crazy!
Look, I love economics. And am very glad I studied it in college. But the facts are the economics programs are still teaching nonsense from the last century. The Phillips Curve comes to mind. Keynesian theory, Marxism, heck even monetarist policy. None of these things actually worked in the real world consistently.
You want to learn this stuff? Good for you. You can go here or here or a million other places online..for free! By the way, those two links are from George Mason and MIT. Both quite prestigious institutions in their own right, and again, both FREE!
Lastly, I also need to point out the benefits of going into the military as a young adult. For men, in particular, you are still quite immature, relative to the ladies of your age. The military gives you the time to develop as a young man with the guardrails the military provides.
Upon your honorable discharge you will forever be part of a small group of Americans who have served their country. You will have a unique experience relative to the vast majority of Americans and this will give you confidence. Not just because of what you learned while enlisted, but what you’ve actually accomplished.
I think a bit of real self-esteem for young adults in the US is incredibly valuable. Not the silly “self-esteem” of participation trophies and grade inflation, but the kind that only comes from accomplishing something difficult.
And America needs more quiet yet confident young folks who have actual skills. These people will ALWAYS be in demand. We have more than enough flamboyant, loudmouths who’ve done nothing except develop tweeting skills. Yeah, good luck with that when the robots come.