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This week, everyone got all excited when the Canadian Scholarship Trust posted job descriptions for the careers of the future. The future! Everyone clicked and shared and talked about how cool it would be to work as an urban farmer or a robot counselor. Etsy sellers were quick to point out that they’ve been at the garbage design game for years now and health coaches felt more self-inflated than usual.
But in all the excitement swirling around the social media water cooler, no one seems to realize that a handful of shitty jobs will go hand-in-hand with the cool careers of 2030. After all, you have to work your way up to regional grid director.
Before you jumpstart your aquaponic fish farming business with an aquarium, two ferns, and $1.50 worth of goldfish, let’s tap into reality and discuss the terrible jobs that will sit between you and the top of these awesome new fields.
Simplicity Expert’s Assistant
Simplicity Experts will make their living devising new and efficient ways to run a business. You’re kidding yourself if you think their first order of business won’t be to simplify their own workday, so that means handing off the majority of their workload to their assistants. After all, if a simplicity expert looks busy, that person looks like he or she doesn’t know what he or she is doing–and that translates into a four-hour workweek for him or her and a 96-hour workweek for you.
Rewilding Support Team
Rewilding: The idea of assessing ruined countryside to figure out how to return the land to nature, encourage a wildlife comeback, and just generally do right by Mother Earth. It is a noble idea. The actual details of doing the job? Not so glamorous. That’s where the rewilding support team comes in, scrubber brushes in hand. The rewilders get to walk through the site, analyzing all the ways to give nature back to nature. Then they’ll head out for an early happy hour after handing the to-do list over to their team. Team members get to scrub rocks and haul fence scraps while avoiding tetanus-laced old nails as they try to imagine what a mid-afternoon G&T tastes like.
Neighborhood Drone Technician
Remote controlled planes are hard to fly. Ask anyone. Since Neighborhood Watch officers of the future are going to be outfitted with a team of drones to dispatch around the neighborhood, there will inevitably be a need for a neighborhood drone technician (i.e. a guy with a ladder) to be available at all hours to retrieve wayward drones out of trees, off of roofs, and out of swimming pools. The NDT will have to be well versed in all manners of minor drone repairs, with a special emphasis on detangling. Oh, and discretion is a must. After all, it would be a detriment to community safety if Mrs. Cole knew she was being…um…closely monitored.
Garbage Design Collector
In the future, one man’s trash really will be another man’s treasure, thanks to garbage designers and their less-appreciated underlings, garbage design collectors. GDCs are like regular garbage collectors, but now they’re equipped with a very specific set of things that need to be sorted out of the landfill in the name of upcycling. You’ll hear things like, “I need 65 old toothbrushes, purple, red, or pink only. And I need the bristles to be in decent enough shape that we can use them as bracelet closures. Remember, it’s garbáge! Oh, and don’t forget to clean them up this time.” Dealing with the demands of a stressed designer who is trying to make Derelicte a reality while you dig through trash and probably fight off seagulls from your lunch? No thanks.
Rogue Robot Deactivator
Robot counselors will help families find the right household helper for their needs, but they’ll be completely useless if and when their new technofriend blows a fuse and turns evil. Come on, we’ve all seen enough movies to know as we increase our reliance on–and the intelligence and abilities of–robots, we need to have a plan ready for when shit hits the fan and our electronic helpers turn on us. Enter the rogue robot deactivator. Part bomb-diffuser, part tech-support, and definitely underpaid, this job will require you to be ready to engage (and disengage) a soulless killbot in battle.
Yes, as the aging population grows, medical advances will continue to effectively prolong health and gero-kinesiologists will keep seniors as fit as possible, long into their golden years. With their minds sharp and their bodies fit, it’s safe to assume their raging neuroses and desire to look young will stick around, too. With all these Real Housewives of Boca Raton or wherever running around, there’s going to be high demand for the cosmetology field to step up its game. This job, that of the gero-esthetician, will entail working with 75-year-old women obsessed with looking like they’re still 30. This means delicately handling skin that’s already carrying around two decades’ worth of Botox in its chemically peeled pores. It means twisting and stretching paper-thin skin around reworked features because grandma doesn’t want her fine lines to show. It requires massaging away varicose veins and bleaching liver spots. Yeah. Let that imagery sink in.
As vertical farms spring up in cities and urban farmers revolutionize sustainable production, there’s going to be a major need for a really terrible job. You see, behind every good sustainable farm is a big ol’ compost pile, and since urban farms are going to be housed in city high-rises, that compost pile is going to have to be a compost room. Someone’s going to have to shovel that shit and move it between floors–in enclosed spaces, with lots of worms involved. On the bright side, the compost super’s decidedly unglamorous job will come with a huge perk: he’ll get to live for free in the building. The down side: his place will be next to the compost room.
What a cool idea! Using living technology to enable individual households to spearhead their own greener existence! The biofilm installer has it pretty good–one and done. This person installs the coatings that bind to sewage and wastewater then leaves. But let’s not forget what’s actually sitting underneath that film of life: festering, putrid waste that’s slowly succumbing to natural bacterial processes. When something goes wrong with your biofilm–and something will definitely go wrong with you biofilm–a biofilm plumber will have to go elbows-deep to find and stop the leakage.
Arctic adventure guide sounds like an awesome career. Adventure travel in general sounds like a super cool industry and a growing one at that, and it’s safe to assume future technology will continue to make extreme feats more accessible to deep-pocketed first-worlders around the globe. It’s also safe to assume there’s no way in hell they’re going to want to carry all their heavy things up the mountainside. Just as they do now, sherpas will have to put their own lives on the line (probably on repeated trips) to haul important American snacks up the seven summits and then carry the coddled asses of these bucketlisters back down when the oxygen supply gets a little iffy.
In all likelihood, as college degrees get more and more expensive and less and less useful, relevant industry experience will be the most important thing in the world to the postgrad. This is just another way to say that they’ve got you by the balls. Internships, fellowships, or whatever you want to call them will last longer and be more competitive. Unpaid grunt work, filing, cleaning grout, and any other project no one else in the future office wants to do will fall squarely in your unpaid lap–and you’ll be damn grateful for it, because it still beats going to law school.
On the bright side, by 2030, we all stand a chance at outranking these jobs. It’ll be the future postgrads who are truly screwed. (And the Sherpas. You have to think that even being head sherpa still sucks.) Here’s to keeping down the Class of 2018!