The End of Work

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A few of my co-workers and I have concluded that if current trends persist, we will be replaced by robots, or an app. Where the Help works, what used to be his area was paired down and consolidated and there are fewer employees dedicated to their specialized subject. Slowly I have seen rungs below me on my not-too-linear career ladder disappear due to changes in laws, rules, operations and technology.

In the Truxton Circle history project, there are plenty of now non-existent jobs residents held. Where are the laundresses and day laborers? Dead, mostly. Their jobs replaced by washing machines, laundromats and construction equipment. Lucky C. Young, the former chauffeur, turned driver for the Army, turned taxi driver, would his job be replaced by driverless cars? Doesn't matter, Mr. Young died in the 60s. In the 1920s New Jersey Avenue was the home of many clerks. No one clerks, we have office jobs with cryptic titles. The grocers are gone, they moved and their shops stayed in the area. Ray M would tell you later those shops were turned into burning shells in the '68 riots.

Jobs disappear. Needs change, techonology and methods shake things up. But not immediately. The invention of the washing machine did not make the laundresses go away the next day, or the next year. In grad school I compared the agricultural US South to South Africa. Greater use of the tractor and other farming equipment removed the need for people like my grandfather, a sharecropper, as well as the labor of his children. Like the rural sharecropper, the 20th Century city laborer has been replaced by equipment. It seems there are fewer people needed to throw up a building. Not only do I see jobs in the past slowly fading away in the past, it's happening in the present. Let's hope that our skills are transferrable to the new careers that come. 

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