Career services is competing with YouTube and influencers

More than 500 million learning-related videos are viewed on the platform every day. These videos are made and shared by a highly-motivated group of creators, such as Linda Raynier, whose videos teach job seekers how to nail an interview or write a resume that gets noticed; or Vanessa Van Edwards, who helps people master soft skills like how to use body language in an interview or communicate a great elevator pitch.

How YouTube can help people develop their careers and grow their businesses

I just came across a job posting for a job in career services supporting online students. Online learning for higher education has grown significantly in the last few years. Inside Higher education reports that in 2017, “The proportion of all students who were enrolled exclusively online grew to 15.4 percent (up from 14.7 percent in 2016), or about one in six students.”

So it’s heartening to see a position that’s dedicated to supporting online learners. It was, however, disheartening to see the job description.

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Is management ok?

More than two-thirds of workers, specifically 64 percent, trust robots more than their managers…

Notably, 45 percent of workers—less than half—said managers are better than robots at understanding their feelings. Thirty-three percent believe managers are better at coaching while 29 percent said they’re better at creating work culture. However, 26 percent believe robots are better at providing unbiased information and 29 percent said they were better at problem-solving.

Conflicting Views on When Employees Trust AI, Managers

I don’t even know what to write about this survey and really I just feel like typing WTF over and over again. I didn’t dive into the report to see the methodology or question phrasing, so I’m taking everything surface value here. But I’m still floored.

What the hell is happening with management? I mean I’ve worked for some absolutely terrible managers. In a previous job I had a manager who stole my work and passed it off as hers, bad mouthed me to make herself look good, made my coworkers cry on the regular, and threatened to take away all the best parts of a job unless I did her pet project. She caused me all kinds of stress. And even then I didn’t wish to be managed by algorithm. I’m also firmly in the camp that AI will make managers worse.

It’s common knowledge that people leave their jobs because of bad bosses. Bad management is everywhere. But algorithms aren’t much better as bosses. Just ask the Uber and DoorDash workers how they feel about algorithms as managers. So why do so many workers think that algorithms > managers? That’s hella depressing news for managers in general.

I’m also curious who is working for robots that understand feelings. Is there some kind of virtual reality manager that’s more compassionate than a human?

Clearly I need to read the full report.

Imagine yourself in five years: Will your boss become an algorithm?

I don’t have an answer to that. But workers in low wage jobs are seeing an increase in management by algorithm. From Axios:

Even the most vigilant supervisor can only watch over a few workers at one time. But now, increasingly cheap AI systems can monitor every employee in a store, at a call center or on a factory floor, flagging their failures in real time and learning from their triumphs to optimize an entire workforce.

Automating humans with AI

First, the phrase “optimize an entire workforce” should strike fear into employees across workplaces. Workers are human, they aren’t designed to be optimized. They need breaks, moments to reflect, engage, connect, and encouragement from humans. They need to be human. Optimizing strips human needs from humans. The term “optimizing” masks the brutality of it.

We’ve seen what’s happened to those working in the world’s most optimized workforce, Amazon, especially people working in warehouses and as delivery drivers. We don’t need more of it.

And yet leadership is proceeding ahead as if optimization is the holy grail of the workplace. Again from Axios:

How often is an employee going out to smoke a cigarette? How long a lunch are they taking? How long are they sitting in the lunchroom?” These are the questions clients want answered with AI software, says Kim Hartman, CEO of Surveillance Secure, a D.C.-area company that installs security systems.

Hartman says his company has put in video analytics for several area retailers and restaurants that wanted to monitor their employees’ productivity.

Employee surveillance isn’t just used to keep tabs on employees – it can also be used to discipline employees. This all happens first with low-wage workers because they have less power, and less ability to push back. It’s harder to fight the system when you can’t miss a paycheck. Once these automated systems are tested, integrated, tweaked and finessed – and they’ve collected enough data – leadership will move onto automating middle-wage jobs.

I wonder what’s going to happen to all the middle managers who oversee these workforces. Where will they go? Will they be laid off? Retrained to use AI software to manage their workforce? What is a middle manager to do at this point?

At every discussion of automating workers, I wonder why we never talk automating leadership. Here’s my proposal to push back: Automate the c-suite.

How to get a remote job (without freelancing or starting your own business)

The secret is out. Remote work is a damn good setup for workers. I’m on my third remote job. And I love it.

Remote work is all the rage right now for a simple reason: it makes the chaos of every day life a little more manageable.

It’s also good for your career.

It’s good for reducing stress.

It’s good for spending more time with people you care about.

I’m not the only one that thinks this. In the annual State of Remote Work survey, Buffer found that remote workers overwhelmingly were a content bunch:

In its State of Remote Work survey, social media management company Buffer found that 99 percent of remote workers would like to continue working remotely at least part of the time for the rest of their careers, and 95 percent would recommend it to others.

While headlines about robots taking our jobs dominate the future of work narrative, remote and flexible work is the future of work. Digital communication platforms, technology-savvy leadership, and new business models have created the infrastructure for remote work cultures and we’re not going back.

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Artificial intelligence, your career, and the job search

tl;dr: I dumped out all my thoughts on artificial intelligence, the future of work, and AI in the job search on Mac’s list career podcast.

We are living in the glory days of podcast content. I don’t even care that New York Times thinks we are at peak podcast, I am loving the variety and niche topics that podcast creators are delivering on a daily basis. There isn’t enough time in the day to listen to all the podcasts in my feed.

Right now I’m totally into season four of ZigZag podcast. The theme of redefining success resonates with me.

I’m late to this podcast series party, but I’m obsessed with Caliphate and the behind the scenes action of investigative journalism.

Having just wrote a quasi-self help book, I absolutely loved Unladylike’s How to Self Help Yourself episode, as well as How to Own your Talent with Ashely Nicole Black, as well as the hip hop Spotify playlist as a compliment to the episode, How to Be Da Baddest Bitch in Hip Hop.

And Innovation Hub shared a new perspective on how meritocracy is damaging our economy.

While I’ve been busy consuming all the podcasts, I’ve also been hosting my own tiny-but-mighty podcast for career changers and am busy guesting around on others. Most recently I jumped on the fabulous career podcast from the Pacific Northwest, Mac’s List.

I covered artificial intelligence in the job search and how new technology is reshaping our careers. I also tell you why the robots aren’t exactly taking over our jobs.

Give it a listen.

The big, disturbing AI experiment in the classroom

“These classrooms are laboratories for future generations… just how this all works out won’t be apparent until they become adult citizens.”

China’s capacity to implement and integrate new AI technology into their society never fails to shock me. The video below on all the ways China is using AI in the classroom is no different.

Watching it reminded me of a term I just learned, parental anxiety management. The term comes from the article, The Case Against Spying on Your Kids With Apps, which does an excellent job of showing off the creepy ways parents can track their kids alongside reasons why they shouldn’t. The takeaway is that surveillance tech markets themselves as the solution to parents’ collective anxiety about their kids safety and health.

While China’s government certainly plays a massive role in the expansion of AI, the cultural acceptance of new technology that supposedly benefits our kids isn’t limited to China. Watch the Chinese parents share why they think it’s a good idea to use artificial intelligence in the classroom, and you’ll see little difference between those parents and US parents who just want what’s best for their kids.

I can only hope that our government steps up and puts huge limits on AI in the classroom so our kids don’t end up monitored, tracked, and shamed as they go through the education system.

I wrote a career change book thanks to #NaNoWriMo

Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) to kickstart the process of writing a nonfiction book. In November 2018, I wrote just over 35,000 words!

Fast forward 11 months and I just got the final cover for my book that helps career changers navigate the #futureofwork.

Career change book
A new book for career changers and the future of work with a bit of a twist

While NaNoWriMo is geared towards fiction writers, I found the community, tips, and single focus on writing for volume super helpful to beat procrastination and make writing a priority.

But here’s the fun part: my nonfiction career change book has a touch of fiction in it. I put a dystopian choose your own adventure type story in it.

Putting a fictional interactive story in a nonfiction career change book isn’t traditional. But the #futureofwork isn’t traditional. And in truth some of the things happening in the workplace look quite dystopian.

I aim to help workers navigate it all. So this isn’t your average career change book. The word of work has changed and so too should the career advice.

Curious? Join my virtual book release party.

And if you’re thinking of writing your own book, check out NaNoWriMo:

And see how to get started writing your first draft.
https://lnkd.in/gU9Askk

This call is being monitored (and used to discipline call center workers)

The premise of using affect as a job-performance metric would be problematic enough if the process were accurate. But the machinic systems that claim to objectively analyze emotion rely on data sets rife with systemic prejudice, which affects search engine results, law enforcement profiling, and hiring, among many other areas. For vocal tone analysis systems, the biased data set is customers’ voices themselves. How pleasant or desirable a particular voice is found to be is influenced by listener prejudices; call-center agents perceived as nonwhite, women or feminine, queer or trans, or “non- American” are at an entrenched disadvantage, which the datafication process will only serve to reproduce while lending it a pretense of objectivity.

Recorded for Quality Assurance

All of us are used to hearing the familiar phrase “This call is being monitored for quality assurance” when we contact customer service.

Most of us don’t give a second thought to what happens to the recording after our problem is solved.

The article above takes us in the new world of call center work, where your voice is monitored, scored by AI, and used to discipline workers.

“Reps from companies claim their systems allow agents to be more empathetic, but in practice, they offer emotional surveillance suitable for disciplining workers and manipulating customers. Your awkward pauses, over-talking, and unnatural pace will be used against them.

The more I read about workplace surveillance, the more dystopian the future of work looks. Is this really what we want? Is this what managers and leadership want?

What if we used the voice analysis on leadership. Why aren’t we monitoring and analyzing how leadership speaks to their subordinates or peers in meetings? Grant it, I don’t think that’d actually produce a healthy work environment but it only seems like a fair deal for leadership who implement and use these algorithms in their organizations.

On a related note, there’s a collection of papers out from Data & Society that seek to “understand how automated, algorithmic, AI, or otherwise data-driven technologies are being integrated into organizational contexts and processes.” The collection, titled Algorithms on the shop floor: Data driven technologies in organizational contexts, shows off the range of contexts in which new technology is fundamentally reshaping our workforce.

With companies racing to implement automated platforms and AI technology in the workplace, we need so much more of this research.


Workaholics, burnout and the false promise of following your passion

Everyone in my generation has been raised with the idea that all we needed to do was follow our passion and everything would work out just fine in our careers. Finding your passion is the ultimate end goal in the quest for a career (that and paying off student loans).

In all this talk of passion, nobody mentions burnout. Or the fact that jobs come is many different crappy, boring flavors.

If you’re nodding along to the sentence above, watch this video. You’ll appreciate the honesty about careers, and get a small does of history about how we as a society shifted from the notion that a job is a job, to the idea that a job is a career and it should be a calling!

It time for a new career narrative, one that’s more honest and aligns with our new world of work. In my book I write about how telling people to follow their passion is unhelpful. We’re not longer working life long careers. Our passions, interests, needs all shift over the course of a lifetime. So the idea that we will follow a single passion until our dying day is simply outdated. The advice keeps people stuck, especially career changers.

Instead, people need to follow their curiosity, exploring different jobs and paths that align with their needs and interests as they grow.

Looking for a career change? There’s a podcast for that.

Figuring out how to make a career change is a big barrier for many. After all, we were all sold on the idea that we simply needed a college degree and the right major and we’d be set for life. Nobody teaches us how to change careers. But the career ladder is dead, and the world of work has changed. This isn’t your dad’s workplace anymore.

We all need a bit of help when it comes to finding a new career. From how to pick a career path, to learning new skills, to starting a new job, switching careers is a daunting task for many.

How to Change Careers by Podcast

I launched the podcast 50 Conversations to help people change careers. Can you actually learn how to change careers by podcast? Maybe. But you can certainly get a lot of good advice on how to find a new career. The podcast offers 50 stories from people who have changed careers. They cover everything from how they knew it was time to change, how they found a new career path, to how they learned skills to make the jump. And at the end of each episode they give advice to future career changers like you.

Career paths, bootcamps, and career changes in your 30s, oh my

Career changes comes in many shapes and sizes. In my podcast for career changers, you’ll hear stories about people who took many different paths. You’ll hear about people who went back to school in their 30s and 40s. Listen to others explain how they choose a digital bootcamp or why they opted to go to community college. Hear stories from people who were burnt out and started their own business. You’ll also get to hear from people who have changed over and over again, always curious about the next opportunity. With 50 conversations, you’ll hear a variety of career paths, so expected and some less so.

“I need a career change but don’t know what to do”

If that phrase has escaped your mouth recently, the 50 Conversations podcast is definitely for you. The beginning of a career change doesn’t start with having a plan; it starts with exploring your options, commitment free. Listening to a podcast about how to change careers is an excellent start to the career change exploration process.

Free career advice in your pocket

Look, career coaches are fabulously helpful for helping you make a career change but they’re expensive. So consider this podcast for career changers a career coach in your pocket. You’ll learn how to make a career change in many different ways. Plus, I interview other career coaches to get their take on how they’re reshaping their careers.

Curious? Good!

Find 50 Conversations on iTunes, Stitcher, and direct at www.50conversations.com.