Here are some industries where jobs are disappearing very quickly: Newspapers, car assembly lines and coal mining. It’s important to keep track of jobs that are disappearing, because it gives us a glimpse of where new jobs are emerging. In order to understand where the workforce is heading, you need to understand why parts of it are dying.
The value in seeing these new openings in the workforce is deciding which is maybe the right next step for you. And that is a more effective way to steer your career than obsessing about the jobs that you want to exist that are not there yet. You’ll need to practice this way of thinking. I know because I do it all the time for my own career, checking a wide range of fields. So start practicing—here are several jobs that I’ll bet you haven’t noticed are gone, and what’s being filling the vacancies.
There is not enough money in blog advertising for lone individuals to make a living from it. There used to be. But today, if you want to sell content, you need multiple people blogging on one site. And if there’s just one blogger, you need to use your blog to sell something else (like career tools, in Ramit’s case, or a company, in mine). My favorite example of this is Guy Kawasaki. He built his blog traffic up to a respectable mountain and then realized that the ad revenue from blogging stinks, especially in comparison to his bestselling books. So he used his blog to launch a new company, and get another book deal, and then he shut down his blog,
Here’s his new book: Enchantment. And here’s something that the current workforce favors more than anything else: being enchanting. Kawasaki shows how enchanting is a combination of being full of smart ideas and being nice. I love his book because it’s actually a book about how to get a job, how to save a marriage, how to get funding. It’s all the how-to’s wrapped up into one book. Because if you are enchanting, you can always find the right someone to help you get to your next, right, spot. If you are enchanting, it doesn’t matter what jobs are gone. You’ll always find one.
2. Porn Star.
I really can’t say enough great things about New York Magazine. It’s like the Atlantic for people who are not snobs. This week’s issue is about porn, and I challenge any of you to read the issue and not learn a ton about the topic. One thing I learned is that porn stars are not making as much money anymore because people like making their own movies for free. It’s kind of like why bloggers don’t get paid, actually. People just like putting their stuff out there and getting feedback.
So the result is that you can’t make a living as a porn star, but in every single industry, where one career path disappears, another opens up, and porn is no exception. Marc Randazza, First Amendment lawyer who represents porn companies, said about porn: “Honestly, the gay side’s where all the money is. There might be 30 straights guys who can make a living at it, but if you’re willing to get fucked in the ass, I can get you five grand right now.”
3. Graffiti Artist.
I know you’re thinking that this wasn’t a job anyway. But look, Keith Haring made a truckload of money. And so did Banksy and Cope2. But the problem is that the art that used to be subversive has become mainstream. The advice in the wikiHow article How to Become a Graffiti Artist gives the same advice that I’d give for how to become an investment banker: Learn the skills, get connected, and do a lot of research to see where you’ll fit. (Sidenote about graffiti art laws in NYC: It’s against the law, of course, to spray paint something you do not personally own. In NYC you can be arrested for holding a can of spray paint with the intent of using it to break the law. This reminds me of Jewish law where the law is to “not boil a young goat in it’s mother’s milk”, but the Jews who keep Kosher, in order to make sure they do not break that law, do not eat dairy for six hours after eating meat.)
Anyway, back to the graffiti: it’s outdated. Not cool in the art scene. Which means you won’t get gallery representation, which is the equivalent of having a job as an artist.
Probably the death knell for graffiti art was in when IBM paid graffiti artists to do ads on the sidewalk. But Art News reports in their January issue that, while graffiti remains the chosen term to describe spray-can tagging, “post-graffiti” is the term to describe all the other sorts of street art. If I’ve completely lost you in this paragraph, maybe you should check out the book, Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art.
I love that term: uncommissioned art. People like Faile (a duo) earn up to $60,000 for putting paint and posters on wood in junkyards. But if you’re earning money to put art on the street then it’s probably not illegal. Faile says, “It’s a blur between street art and public art and public intervention.”
But look, here’s a key to coping with the reality that the job you want to do is actually disappearing from the workforce. Take a look at what is replacing it. And see where you fit in. The Wooster Collective is a fun blog about post-graffiti street art. And for you artists looking for a job, the drop-down menu on the side bar of the blog is like a career search tool with terms like Chalk, Billboard Liberations, Guerilla Gardening.
You are dying to know what those things are, right? Here are some photos I found on the Wooster Collective blog.
And here’s hoping the next step in each of our careers will be as fun, innovative and visually stimulating as these.