By June Ramli

Disclaimer: Before you start reading this article, this is not a piece to vindicate my previous employer, but instead it’s an article to spot the signs that your job is about to be taken over by a robot.

About me, I’ve been a journalist for many years and so I thought I was pretty safe from becoming a casualty of her job being rescinded and worse, only to be replaced by not another hot woman, but a robot! I mean, I thought those who were likely to be a casualty of technology replacements would be those working in the tech sector, but boy was I wrong.

So wrong, that I swore that I have begun to take steps to mitigate this from recurring in the future. To be honest, I could see the logic behind the company wanting to automate the role, however I felt that being what it is, the timing that it chose to do this “exercise” was absolutely appalling. They could have picked a better time, or at least let us finish our contracts before putting us out in the deep end. After all, the company that I was associated with is a billion dollar company. The founder and his wife are known for philanthropy work, wanting to give his money away to charity and not his kids, but at the same time he has so many people being employed in precarious situations in a company that he founded years ago. Really, if you wanna do charity, it should begin at home, among all your employees (former included).

However, it was not meant to be. We were told about the axing of our jobs a month before we had to formally leave and that too in the midst of a pandemic. How did it all start?

Have you ever watched The Jetsons? It’s a 1962 animation series that depicts the lives of humans alongside robots. I watched it as a kid and loved it alongside the Flintstones. But I prefer The Jetsons more. I loved the fact that they had flying cars and who can forget Rosy the Robot.

The Jetsons (Children) 1962-Present | TV Passport
Do you remember The Jetsons series back in the ’60s where robots were living alongside ‘humans’? Well, welcome to the Jetsons of 2020. – Image from Wikipedia.

Ahh, which brings me to my next point. Do you remember how much robots were featured in The Jetsons cartoon working side by side with some even taking the roles of humans, like the housekeeper role for instance. Yes, it might have been a great thing to watch back then, but now it is slowly becoming a reality. Jobs are being lost on a daily basis, not to other humans, but to robots themselves, which some of you refer to them as Artificial Intelligence (AIs).

Tell-Tale Signs

So, what can you do about it? There is nothing that you can do about it actually, but this article aims to give you the tell tale signs that your role is about to be automated and that you are going to be let go from your job soon, unless the organisation is kind enough to place you somewhere else within the organisation, but if you are not as lucky then, how do you mitigate this possible job loss?

First things first, accept the situation as it is. After all, in this day and age, there is no such thing as job security at all. So, this article is about to give you the tell tale signs on how to make sure you can go through the shock of losing your job to a robot. Your job is basically gone when you notice your section is constantly being automated. When your job is about to be automated, the tell tale signs are pretty obvious, as you will know when most of your sections are being taken over by (ro)bots, i.e everything is automated and your work day gets pretty easy.

You will notice this bit by bit. The company won’t be absolutely truthful with you at first because they need you to do all the dirty work for them, by helping in the automation process. Basically, your gut will start telling you things, like your job might be in jeopardy. Ask your boss on whether your role is going to be taken over. If the boss still comes out and blatantly tells you a ‘no’ but you notice all these automation and changes, then it’s most definitely a “yes”.

The reason why the line manager might not be so truthful is because he isn’t allowed by his superiors to break the news to you yet. This is the time when you should start updating your resume and looking for new jobs ASAP.

In my case, we were told that our jobs were “safe” but we noticed that as days went by, more sections around the website were being automated and human editors were tasked to correct the wrongs that all the robots were doing in a specially created spreadsheet.

This was the big red flag that should have made us all panicked and forced us all to update our resumes and look for jobs right away, but most of us didn’t because the higher ups gave us no indications that our roles were in jeopardy, despite us asking them numerous times.

We were only informed at the very end, and for some gaining employment in the middle of the pandemic has been a struggle since. In other times, finding another job wouldn’t have been so hard, but finding one now, while coronavirus is still at its peak, is seriously appalling.

In the meantime, while I wait for new employment, I’ve decided to revisit my Batik lingerie line and finish writing my novel, a project that has been on the backburner for over seven years! Let’s see how things go, eh. This being 2021, perhaps I will engage robots to help me with my novel and the lingerie line. You never know! – New Malaysia Herald.

About the writer: June Ramli is a former journalist and news editor who has worked in both Malaysia and Australia.

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