THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOUR CAREER DISAPPEARS

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THINGS TO DO… BEFORE YOUR CAREER DISAPPEARS
How Globalisation, Computerisation, Robotisation, and the deadly competition among companies and countries, are affecting your career… and your world

DEDICATION

TABLE OF CONTENT

This book is dedicated to my 4,331 „best friends‟ on Facebook, to Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind that made it all possible, and all those who love to gaze into the future. It is also dedicated to the African continent. Where else?

Acknowledgement Page 5
PREFACE Page 7
INTRODUCTION Page 12
Life in 3D Page 18
CHAPTER 1 INNOVATION; FRIEND OR FOE? – HOW ROBOTS AND COMPUTERS TAKE YOUR JOB page 20
CHAPTER 2 THE SOCIAL MEDIA MONSTER, ALONE page 37
CHAPTER 3 ALL THE CAREERS AND PROFESSIONS IN JEOPARDY page 45
CHAPTER 4 THE MALTHUSIAN REALITY page 75
CHAPTER 5 THE UNWARY CONTINENT AND THE COMING GLOBAL SHOWDOWN page 103
CHAPTER 6 WHAT ECONOMETRICS WILL TEACH YOU page 121
CHAPTER 7 BEFORE YOUR CAREER DISAPPEARS – WHAT YOU MUST DO NOW page 135
CHAPTER 8 THE COLOUR BLACK page 183
CHAPTER 9 HOW TO DEVELOP A PEOPLE page 191
CONCLUSION IS IT ALL A RUSE? Page 203
Bibliography Page 208

PREFACE

Yet again, saddled with the onerous task of writing another book. But certainly a book that NEEDS to be written, not a mere flight of fancy or an attempt to self aggrandize. Not even an opportunity to make money or become famous. Just a calling. A book needs to be written, no one seems to be writing it, so here I go.
Oftentimes, I wonder why I bother with these issues. I wish I could tuck myself away in my little corner. I wish I could busy myself with the equally difficult task of getting by. But I have since come to the conclusion that this is what gives me happiness. Sharing. Yes, sharing with others my conviction. I have been accused in the past of never minding my own business; of always trying to convince people to my own position. It‟s not something I do consciously; it‟s perhaps inborn for me to so do. So here I go again, trying to convince the world, and my immediate constituency in Africa and beyond, of something I see as impending doom. By Jove, it‟s a doom that has already caught up with us…
In this preface I will try and answer only one question: why does this book have to be written? In other words, why bother write about the endangered careers of peoples of the world? In yet other words, why should anyone believe me, why should anyone care that their
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careers may soon disappear? If I could, in a few words, nail this issue and convince readers of the urgency of the subject – an urgency which precipitates writing a book on it – then I could devote the rest of the book to painting scenarios of how and why this phenomenon has caught up with us, and to advising readers what they could do to avoid the worst effects, as we project into the future.
The singular reason that comes to mind in writing this book, is based on a mere survey of our societies. In fact, the urgency of this issue occurred to me a few months ago, after reading an article in the US-based Foreign Policy Magazine1, which treated the issue of „robotization and computerization‟. I started relating the issue to my local economy, and to Africa at large, and I found that we were already boxed into an impossible corner, that no matter the rhetoric from our political, religious, cultural, business and other leaders, as far as the eye could see, unemployment and poverty had become a permanent feature for us, indeed that we would be described by those phenomena, among other things bad.
I became more alarmed when I juxtaposed the global problem with the local choices we make in Africa – government and individuals – and realized that we were actually frittering away the futures of our children, as fast we could probably manage!
I realized that there was a need to call the attention of individuals, households, business and governments to the subtle issues that they may have taken for granted from time immemorial; subtle issues which have succeeded in emasculating their capacities for growth and self-fulfillment, especially in Africa. No one was
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going to offer these candid advises if he/she did not have a stake in the subject. So the burden became mine. I have watched my continent – for as many years since I attained the ability to discern – villianise its heroes and worship its traducers. I have seen as socalled intellectuals with hardly-veiled „racist‟ posturing are invited at the expense of the continent, to come and offer advice which land us into even deeper crisis.
Consider Africa today. From the coasts of Egypt through to Algeria and Tunisia, what we see is uncertainty. Economies that once had their carefully carved out niches now totter like toddlers, falling after every two or three tentative steps they take. Libya, oh Libya, once the best country in Africa as per the UN- sanctioned Human Development Index, which measures livability, income equality and quality of life, has been bombed (with the active support of almost every African) back into the Dark Ages! The leader who achieved that feat for Libya and who tried to rally the voices of Africans to stand up for themselves, was killed on the advise of global hegemons, like a dog, and sodomised on the streets in broad daylight! Mali, hitherto regarded as desertland, came tumbling after. We hear it is a country rich in resources.
Sierra Leone and Liberia are living through what may be the peace of the graveyard. A trip to those countries reveal the drawn faces of men whose spirit have been broken. Permanently. That is aside from the number of physically-challenged people on the roads, begging for money. Many of these are victims of war. Niger is at best a base for US drones. Nigeria, self-styled giant of Africa, has shown that apart from being a giant with feet of clay, it even has an innate capacity for self-destruction. Togo, Benin Republic, Senegal, the
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Gambias, those ones are small and weak economies, at best playground for the rich and famous. Cote D‟Ivoire, once very promising, now in turmoil, the end of which is not in sight. Global media may not report it, but there is still a challenge with the loyalists of La Professeur Lauren Gbagbo. Central Africa is a hotbed of confusion, the Congos are both no-go-areas. Toward the East of Africa, we find the problems in Somalia, Eritrea, the Sudans and even parts of Kenya.
The whole of Africa is in trouble. Tribal trouble. Ethnic trouble. Socio-economic trouble. Religious trouble.
But this book is not for only those who live in Africa. Yes it is for the downtrodden, especially for such people to prepare themselves for eventualities. Yes it should hopefully be a good read for the African „downtrodden‟ but also for the downtrodden from wherever they may be from.
Perhaps it is even more needed, and would be better understood by that fragile category of society which we know as „middle-class‟, but who are merely living on borrowed time, barely managing to hold down jobs that are fast-disappearing, weighed down by debts, and living an illusion of abundance. This category of people we have found out, are most likely to die and live huge debts for their children to pick up. The wakeup calls in this book are meant really, to assist the middle-class all over the world. For it is a trite fact, that we now live in a globalized world, wherein what affects one person easily affects others irrespective of geographical location. It needs to also be stated, that the lower one‟s income and estate is, the faster global events affect one, and among the lot, the middleclass, who don‟t have any access to subsistence
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farming and have no buffer savings to protect themselves, are the most vulnerable…
The perspective of this book covers the following:
– The individual – The household – The society – The company – The government – Countries, tribes, groups of peoples
These are the categories of people that must think hard as they read this book. They must figure out how the issues discussed herein affect them, or how they will affect them. They must project and find out what factors are omitted in this book that may still affect them. They must also find out whatever implications that I may have left out in this book or any wrong analysis that I may make, or any wrong conclusions I may reach. I do not intend to write a perfect book. I only intend to sound the bugle, to let people know that its time to wake up from their slumbers.
From the list above, every human being, especially of reasoning age, falls into one or more category of my audience. We are in this together.
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INTRODUCTION
The dispensability of human beings in today‟s workplace is only a symptom. We created this scenario together, one way or another. The world evolved while no one was looking. Could we say it was a bad thing that we all embraced innovation? Companies become profitable on the back of innovation. Innovation is exciting. Everyone wants the latest inventions, the latest gizmos. It‟s all about making lives easier and sweeter to live.
Someone figured out a few decades ago, that the best way to make real money was to continually improve on what people used. Whoever it was reckoned that people will always want to pay for those improvements. People enjoyed convenience, even in the most innocuous of things. I recall my righteous anger the first day I came in contact with an air-conditioner that came with a remote control! Why would anyone need a remote control to operate an air-conditioner? I asked myself. But today, it is hard to imagine buying an airconditioner that does not have a remote control.
The television is another good example. As someone living in one of the consumer nations, I recall growing up getting used to televisions with round knobs which you had to keep twisting in order to get some service. The picture quality was awful, but hey, it was better than the best then. How glad were we that we were
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able to connect with the world and see new images in our remote towns and villages; images of a great new world out there. But a lot has changed since then. The world has changed in tsunamic proportions, and we didn‟t even notice. We just take it for granted.
So the television moved from jerky pictures, to stable black and white pictures. Then someone thought ‗it would be a nice idea if we could capture some of the colours so that the TV looks like reality‘. Then the experiment began, and soon, from just two colour capabilities, the TV evolved into multicolour. Then came the remote control. Because someone figured out that people would want to sit some distance from the TV and want to switch channels. Some say the world has grown fatter for that, but today it is hard to imagine a TV without a remote. In fact, most of us can no longer operate the TV except we had a remote control in hand. Today, we have companies selling the idea of one remote control for all the appliances in our houses. And just today, I read somewhere that there will soon come a time when, using our mobile phones, we would be able to control any appliance in our house, or even outside of it!
Imagine what it took to place a call from one corner of the world just 30 years ago, to another! Imagine the difficulty, the time expended, the number of human beings involved in the process. There was a time when every such call had to go through a phone operator, who made the connection and called you back. I recall making trips to the national telecommunications company in my home country, less than two decades ago, to make such calls or to send fax messages, even within the country. There was a time only that national telecoms company could make a call out of my
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country. No other entity had the capability, or the temerity! But today, every street sweeper carries a mobile phone which has the capability to call and connect to every part of the world – even if in error. All it takes is for the right codes to be pressed. Most phones today come with speed-dials which even relieves you of the trouble of having to dial all the numbers or even searching for the name of those you intend to call. The result is that your phone makes the call on its own and yes, it does connect!
Hurrah!! Our lives have become easier, but millions of jobs have disappeared, in every country! Those who have brought innovations have cashed in on our quest for easier lives, but many have dropped through the cracks, now earning much less than they would, or being unemployed for longer than necessary, or stuck with jobs they detest. Where do we – do they – go from here? That is the essence of this book. I intend to look at the plight of these people who didn‟t know what hit them, and to suggest solutions for the future.
It is not only individuals. Like I said above, pioneering companies and innovators are cashing in on the quest for convenience, ease of living, need to communicate, to love, to give feedback, to express ourselves, to entertain, to be more mobile, to self-actualise and other such needs of men, and women and of course our youth and children. But how many companies are pioneering? Where are they based? What are the conditions prevailing which has ensured that those who are innovators today will also be the innovators tomorrow? How can fledgling companies from lessinspiring regions of the world also get a piece of the action? How can they – for the life of them – ensure they also get on the innovation bandwagon?

Just as individuals are losing their jobs to the power of innovation, to computers and robots, to applications „apps‟, all powered by capitalism, so also are companies losing their shirts entirely, just because they are unable to compete in today‟s hyperactive global markets. Any company that intends to survive into the medium to long run, must know that its niche is now under attack in a globalized world where any keen company can reach into any market. There is a reason why it is easier for example for an American or European company to get business in any part of the world, compared to some company from say Nigeria. What are those reasons? Track record, for starters. And the fact that a lot of what we term as „development‟ today, actually came from that region – Europe and America. In spite of this, what does a Nigerian or Ghanaian company need to do, to maintain its career, to continue to survive despite the odds? Those are the questions being tackled hopefully methodically, and sometimes dramatically, in the next few chapters. Yes, not only individuals, but whole companies are losing their jobs; their careers.
The government! There are good ones, there are bad ones. There are those that think for their people. There are those who sell their people down the river. George Orwell it was who said ―a people sleep peaceably in their beds at night, only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf‖. But in many countries in the developing world today, those who have been appointed or elected as rough men, or those who installed themselves in the position of rough men, who should actually support their own people and defend their own people, are the same ones who do violence – in more ways than one – against their own peoples! Some of them are actively working for
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countries that have positioned themselves for greatness. Others don‟t just have a clue what they are doing. But whether knowingly or unknowingly, governments also do lose their careers.

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