Jobbed out

Confessions of A Job Destroyer.

I am also a job destroyer. I help to automate things that need automating, sometimes directly*, sometimes indirectly**.

I’ve helped eliminate somewhere around 500 jobs, give or take a hundred either way.

It’s an old, old joke in the tech world, but it is amazing how many jobs can truly be replaced by a small shell script. And of course the people who depend on those jobs go with it.

If we had a better social safety net and any sort of egalitarian society, I wouldn’t feel bad about it all, as the field I am in I’ve walked into an untold number of offices where a great number of people are doing nearly no work all day (perhaps 10-20 minutes of work), collecting a paycheck, going home, and doing this for years. It’s a strange field, what I do.

Surely that’s not the most productive use of anyone’s time, and by “productive” I don’t mean “capitalism productive.” No, what I mean for these people it’d be far more productive to give them 30 grand a year to sit their asses at home and do nothing.

Anyway, this is an irreversible trend, and if only the rich weren’t stealing everything, it’d be a good trend — with our productivity levels, nearly everyone could live at 1950 GDP levels and work 5-10 hours a week.

Really.

But that’s not likely to happen, because even though it won’t be stopped (except perhaps by calamitous effects of global warming), when most people are out of a job and over 40 or 50 in the US, that’s it for them.

And as much as it sucks to lose a job, it also is a bit distressing to walk into a building and everyone is afraid to talk to you because they are terrified that you will fire them (even though you have nothing at all to do with hiring or firing decisions in any way).

That’s the climate of fear that our lack of a safety net and our larcenous plutocrats have instilled in us, and I truly hate that.

*By writing a small shell script that replaces someone.

**By putting in the infrastructure so that a programmer can write something that replaces dozens of people.