The Future Is (Almost) Now

Words by Cory Kibler • 04/09/2018

Six jobs so innovative, you'll have to invent them.

The world is changing fast. Really fast. 

Some experts theorize that the world is advancing exponentially. Major technological leaps used to take centuries. Now they take months. 

One astounding consequence of this: By 2030, 85% of jobs will be ones that don't exist yet

That sounds crackers, but the evidence is all around us. A mere decade-and-a-half ago, hardly anyone had a cell phone, and social media wasn't a thing. Now, anyone who doesn't have a (stunningly powerful!) smartphone is basically a hermit, and there are entire industries built around social networking. In my day-to-day job, I get paid to promote Tweets for maximum SEO and impressions... which is a statement that would have been gibberish not too long ago. But here we are, and Tweets are lucrative. What kind of person could have predicted that? 

Are you that person? Not about Tweets, but about something that hasn't happened yet? Gaze with me into the future, whoever you are, and let us take a look at six careers that don't exist (yet). 

1. Productivity Officer. Most companies do things the way they've always done them. Sometimes it's the best way, and usually it's not. That's where a Productivity Officer will come in. This person will take a look at the big picture and identify which processes are working well, which need tweaks, and which need to be overhauled. Some consultants sort of do this now, but they're almost always temporary, working with companies for a month or so before moving on. The world is changing quickly, and soon, companies will need full-time, long-term employees who challenge the status-quo.

2. Robot Counselor. I know what you're thinking, and I agree: I would LOVE to be a summer-camp counselor for robots one day. But despite its misleading name, this one's more of a matchmaker/trainer/programmer type of career. As robots and AI become more specialized, we'll need people to make sure the robots are up to the task. A medical robot might need to be programmed in physical therapy, while a service robot will have to know how to prepare meals and clean. Do you want to train and assign robot-helpers? (If so, this rendering of a groundbreaking prototype may help!) 

3. Simplicity Expert. This one's the other side of the coin from Productivity Officer. Instead of trying to figure out how to do more things better and faster, a Simplicity Expert will help their company pare down the unnecessary tasks and processes—not to replace them with better ones, but to improve work-life balance for all involved. In 2018, and especially in America, we're obsessed with working. It's who we are! But lately, we've been taking a cue from European countries like Spain and Italy by asking how we can work to live, not the other way around. Imagine a world with fewer unnecessary meetings, and just try not to get emotional. 

4. Re-Wilder. This is another fantastic name for an even cooler career. In this case, it's exactly what it sounds like: Someone who reverts blighted and abandoned structures back to lush, natural ecosystems. Machines are getting smaller and more powerful; people are working from home instead of going into the office; and certain industries are slowly ebbing. All this will mean a lot of unnecessary and unused buildings, and what better way to heal the world than by turning an old K-Mart into an endangered animal sanctuary? OK, maybe it's more about reforestation, but I think we'd all like to see a K-Mart covered in ivy and filled with kangaroos. 

5. Personal Web Manager. I try to be grateful for the good things in my life, and the fact that social media didn't exist during my college years is a big one. Every day, it seems, another politician or CEO has their digital skeletons yanked out of the closet for all to see, and it's only going to get worse. In a few years, BuzzFeed will post articles about presidential nominees, along with their angst-ridden LiveJournal blogs, written during their awkward years. That is, unless they've hired a Personal Web Manager, whose job it will be to make sure their clients' online activity won't cost them the race. (Good luck!) 

6. Nostalgist. Memories are powerful. They have the capacity to harm and heal in unimaginable ways, and we're just beginning to figure out how to use this to our advantage. Soon, Nostalgists—therapists with an emphasis on home decor—will work with patients to create living spaces that reflect days gone by. If someone's aching for the shag carpeting and glittery styles of the '70s, they can turn their den into a disco lounge. It can get really specific, too. One day, I will be able to hire a Nostalgist to turn my adult bedroom into the bedroom of my teens. I might have them skip the Jenny McCarthy posters, though. Yes, I said "posters." 

About the Author

Cory Kibler

Director of Communications at a nonprofit based in Denver. I make music, fiction, art, jokes; I enjoy forests, reading, coffee, music, cemeteries, and murder-mysteries; I love my wife, family, animals, and buddies. I am unhealthily into sunsets and Paul Rudd.