Afraid of Losing Your Job to Robots? Upgrade Your Knowledge to Make Friends with the Machine

I’m not afraid of a robot replacing me tomorrow, but here is how I choose to see things: I want to make friends with the machine; to make sure I’m knowledgeable enough to tell it what to do and get the best business outcomes.

Have you ever had to compete against a machine in doing your job? I have – once or twice – and I can testify that it’s a strange feeling.

 

I started working as a writer back in 2006, so I got to witness the rise of grammar-checking/editing apps with the same fearful surprise that I would imagine a lifelong postman experienced when learning about emails for the first time.

Don’t get me wrong, I am convinced a tool like Grammarly can make your life easier. It’s great for proofreading and makes your writing more concise. But it won’t turn an average copy into a bloody brilliant one. It can’t replace wit or zest. For that, at least for the predictable future, you still need a human.
In other words, using Hemingway the app won’t turn you into Hemingway the writer.

Personally, I’m not afraid of a robot replacing me tomorrow, but here is how I choose to see things: I want to make friends with the machine; to make sure I’m knowledgeable enough to tell it what to do and get the best business outcomes.

As Yuval Noah Harari put it in his book Homo Deus:

‘The crucial problem isn’t creating new jobs. The crucial problem is creating new jobs that humans perform better than algorithms.”

Great. So how do we achieve that? With change happening at breakneck speed, you have to consistently dedicate time to learning to stay on top of your game. But this is nothing new, Bill Gates said it far better than I ever could.

Following Mr. Gates’ and my good friend Gili’s advice, I decided to return to school a few months ago. Needless to say, school has changed since I last went to class carrying my backpack, sat down, and witnessed my teacher writing on the chalkboard.

This time, school came to me via an integrated platform online, with the teachers speaking through interactive videos, webinars, forums, and groups. My colleagues – hundreds of them – were professionals and executives from all over the world. I connected with many of them via LinkedIn or FB, but I never met them in person.

After completing the course, I started to think about the key ingredients that make a great school great nowadays. This is what I would focus on:

a. Is it relevant in today’s context? Does it inform you on the latest technology, tools, and best practices? My background is in Digital Marketing & Communications, so I tend to believe learning works best when anchored in what is happening in this very agile industry.

b. Is it relevant to you in terms of seniority level? If it’s a perfect match for you, the knowledge you get should boost your expertise and help you take the next step in your career.

c. Is it provided by a prestigious institution? Are the trainers and teachers well-known, respected members of the professional community?

Apart from the criteria above, of course, there are many others that play an important role in choosing a course. Is it fully online or does it require presence on campus? How much does it cost and – at the end of the day – does it provide the best return for your investment?
The best approach I can think of is to take your time in choosing and gather as much information as you can before deciding. Ask your peers and mentors.

Also, it’s really easy to find other professionals on LinkedIn who have completed the courses you are looking at. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask their opinion. From my experience, people are happy to share valuable insights and make a recommendation. Last but not least, reach out to the faculty or provider and ask for more information.

These could be great options to start your search:

  • EMERITUS Institute of Management. They partner with Ivy League academic institutions and deliver top-notch fully online classes for professionals and executives. Take a look but be careful: this might really make you thirsty for knowledge!
  • Squared Online is an award-winning global digital marketing qualification developed with Google. Amazing for digital marketing leaders of tomorrow and, quite possibly, next of my learning map.
  • The Chartered Institute of Marketing. One of the best choices for marketers. The CIM diploma is prestigious and acknowledged by worldwide organizations as a guarantee of solid knowledge and expertise.

Reach out and fire away if you have questions. Share your experience. I love talking to other humans. Where are you going next?

ELENA CONSTANTINESCU is a marketing & communications professional with 12+ years of experience. She has a proven record of successfully integrating storytelling with business strategies and marketing technologies to deliver results and bring people together.

To see more of Elena’s experience, check her LinkedIn profile.

 

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