Archive | October, 2017

Jobs You Wouldn’t Expect to be Threatened by Technology That Are

Posted on 24 October 2017 by sam

Automation creates opportunities for efficiency, but businesses who embrace it may be shrinking employment opportunities in their industries.

Increased productivity and revenue for some companies may mean layoffs for lower level employees. According to studies, automation will effectively eliminate almost 6% of all U.S. jobs within a period of five years.

Robots in the Workforce

Automation threatens the job security of not only lower waged workers, but the jobs of knowledge based and highly skilled employees as well. Accounting and legal industries could see 39% of jobs eliminated over a 10-year period due to automation.

While new technology shouldn’t be feared, the consequences of automation need to be addressed.

As automation continues to spread throughout the working world, it’s important to understand which industries are most susceptible to job loss.

Claims Representatives and Insurance Underwriters

Automation has already been affecting the insurance industry. As more companies are introducing artificial intelligence into their businesses, the employees that once had invaluable positions in their companies are now finding themselves out of work. The internet alone is a huge help with a lot of our daily work, whether it’s drawing ideas or learning from past examples.

This kind of technology works to interpret and analyze videos, audio, images, and text more efficiently than any human would be able to. While this type of automation is great for business, it may spell termination for several employees.

Middle Management

Companies are more capable than ever of being able to track and report work progress digitally. Middle management will become less prominent as these systems continue to be built out. There will be no need to have somebody report sales numbers or work progress to upper management when software can do it for them.

The future of project management and task delegation is increasingly moving to the digital realm.  

Bankers and Tellers

As ATMs were first introduced, bank workers grew weary that automation would replace them. In recent years, smartphone apps have made the need for tellers and representatives even less necessary.

In the coming years, it’s speculated that automation will completely eliminate the need for any employees in the banking world. New systems and artificial intelligence are already being put into place to handle processing loans, opening accounts and conducting transactions, ultimately making the bank teller obsolete.

Financial Analysts

Companies have long since used financial analysts to identify trends and help institutions plan their portfolios. With the assistance of AI, financial analysts are unnecessary. Today’s software works at record speed to identify and analyze financial trends that will predict how the market is moving. As technology continues to improve, companies often feel more confident trusting their financial information and data with systems that are free of human error.

Payroll and AP Departments

Lower-level employees in accounts payable will have a tough time hanging around as AP and invoicing automation technology sweeps across the industry. These systems decrease time spent on invoices and eliminate the possibility of human error. You probably can’t ever replace all employees, but many businesses may start scaling down these departments as technology becomes more efficient.

Construction Workers

Once believed to be a job requiring human hands, the work of a day laborer can now be accomplished with the use of automation. With the likes of robotic bricklaying machines, automated bulldozers, and more, construction workers are likely to see most of their positions taken by artificial intelligent machines.

Stockists and Inventory Managers

Simple tasks, like stocking the aisles of a grocery store, will be replaced by robots. These types of robots work to audit shelves, replace out of stock items, fix pricing errors, and organize products.

Stores that implement this sort of automation to replace the work of human employees will ultimately save millions. There is even software that can help with your digital inventory. Data backing and protection are more important than ever, and software is beginning to do the job that webmasters and IT professionals used to be responsible for.


Life on the farm may be as human as it gets in the working world, but the likes of artificially intelligent machines are threatening the livelihood of farmers as well. Jobs like feeding chickens and milking cows are likely to be taken over by automated machines. Machines like this will cost millions of farmers their jobs, saving farms money, but leaving dedicated farmers without work.

Taxi Drivers

The taxi industry has already taken a toll with the introduction of Lyft and Uber, but many taxi drivers may end up unemployed completely. Automated vehicles are already on the market and are being developed for use a self-driving taxis. In countries like Singapore, these driverless cars are already taking to the streets, costing the traditional taxi driver their career.

Manufacturing Workers

Manufacturing jobs have long been a guarantee for people searching for work. However, with the addition of automated machinery, the human workers in the manufacturing industry will be threatened.

As technology improves, manufacturing companies believe that whatever humans may be able to do, machines can do better and more cost effectively. This can be very concerning to hear.

Writers and Journalists

Writing and journalism are jobs that may soon be facing an automation takeover.

With certain software, new and intelligent content can easily be developed without the need of human writers. In many industries that deal with a significant amount of statistics and data, using robots and automated software has become quite commonplace.

As technology continues to develop interfaces that can accurately replicate the way a person feels, thinks, and writes, the role of the writer may be taken over by robot journalists.

This is Just the Beginning

As technology presses on and automation makes it way to every industry on earth, it may be difficult for anyone to find work in the future. When the need for human skills can be effectively replaced by artificial intelligence, there isn’t much left to but let the machines rule.

Supporting a Friend Who Just Left Rehab

Posted on 13 October 2017 by sam

It’s tough to know what to say after a friend goes through rehab for a drug or alcohol addiction. It’s tempting to just pretend like it never happened, to proceed as if everything is fine and normal. But it’s not fine and normal. It doesn’t mean you have to treat your friend with kid gloves, but you do have to acknowledge that things have changed. You need to give your friend support without smothering them. It can be a bit tricky to pull that off, but it’s worth a shot.

Recovery is an ongoing process

Addiction isn’t a small thing. It’s not a sprained ankle or even a hairline fracture; you can’t set it, wait a few weeks for it to heal, and then act as though there was never any sort of injury. It’s a long-term condition. There’s a reason why addiction experts say an alcoholic is always an alcoholic, even if they’re in recovery and have been sober for years. It’s also why so many people often relapse at least once or twice before they can stay on the straight and narrow path of recovery.

When your buddy gets out of rehab, feel free to ask some questions, although you shouldn’t be too nosy (don’t ask for details on other patients in rehab, for instance), and back off if your friend indicates they don’t want to talk about it anymore right now. It’s natural to want to know the name of the facility. Don’t be surprised if your friend says something like “I went to a place called Beachside Rehab. Their website is, so feel free to look them up.” Then do that. There are some misconceptions about what rehab is and isn’t, so educate yourself on the reality of your friend’s situation.

If they were receiving inpatient treatment, you may want to throw them a big welcome home party, but resist the urge. They’re still in the early stages of recovery, after all. It’s great that they recognized they needed to make a change, but don’t celebrate too much. You can be supportive without acting like All of Their Problems are solved forever. Buy them a gift if you want, but don’t get too crazy. It should be something helpful, like a relaxing piece of artwork or a massage at the local spa.

Offer yourself up as a sounding board for your friend, but only if they’re open to it. They may be participating in a group like Alcoholics Anonymous, which means they should have a sponsor tasked with helping them stay sober. So they may not take you up on your offer, but they’ll probably appreciate it all the same. Tell them they can call you and talk anytime, but only if you mean it. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver.

It’s important not to make your friend’s addiction all about you. For instance, maybe you bought your friend a bottle of wine five years ago without realizing they were an alcoholic. There’s no need to bring that up, especially since your friend probably doesn’t even remember it anymore. It’s very unlikely you had anything to do with their descent into addiction. If you did, then they probably wouldn’t be talking to you right now. Recovering addicts are supposed to keep away from bad influences. So if you’re still in your friend’s life, it’s unlikely that they’re mad at you or think it’s all your fault.

It’s common to wonder how you should approach parties with a friend in recovery. Even if they weren’t receiving treatment for alcohol abuse, you may wonder if the mere act of serving alcohol could send them over the edge somehow. Talk to them and ask. If they wave it off, you’re probably fine serving a little beer and wine. If they admit it might be an issue, then it would be nice of you to avoid serving alcohol, at least at the first few social events. Keep in mind, though, that eventually your friend is going to have to figure out how to manage in a world where people drink alcohol at parties. Never serving it again is probably not realistic.

The League of Ladies: Women and Fantasy Football

Posted on 13 October 2017 by sam

When you see commercials promoting fantasy football leagues, what do they have in common? Well, there’s plenty of beer and bar food. Most of the people are wearing jerseys in support of their favorite team. There’s probably a lot of cheering.

And what else? Oh yes. Men. Lots and lots of men.

The world presented by corporate advertising doesn’t always bear much of a resembles to reality, though. The truth is, there are a ton of women who like sports and are interested in things like fantasy football. And it’s not because they think the players on the field are hot.

Women can appreciate sports just like anyone else. You don’t need to have a Y chromosome to be awed by the way Aaron Rodgers throws a Hail Mary. You don’t need to be male to get excited for the playoffs because of the play on the field rather than the nachos on the food table (although nachos are also pretty great).

Sure, there’s some truth to the notion that women are more likely to follow Olympic sports like swimming and gymnastics, but that’s far from the whole story. According to numbers from Athletic Business, which bills itself as a resource for sports and fitness professionals, female viewership of the NFL shot up twenty-six percent from 2009 to 2013. The NFL itself says women make up forty-five percent of the fan base as of 2017. The NFL has even held Breast Cancer Awareness months in an effort to attract more female viewership. Such efforts may not be doing as much as they could for actual breast cancer charities, but it’s a sign of how much the NFL is trying to appeal to women.

So next time you see a woman wearing a ring, know that it might not mean she’s engaged or married. It could mean she and her friends got together and decided to purchase fantasy football rings for the top finishers in their fantasy league. Fantasy football has exploded in popularity in the past few years, and it’s only natural that women would be a big part of that surge.

Think of TV broadcasts of professional football games. When the cameras pan to members of the crowd, there are plenty of men and women in the mix. Women may be more fond of glitter face paint than their male counterparts, but there’s no rule that says they have to be. There’s a stereotype of female sports fans that insists they’re only interested in their sport of choice for shallow reasons. That’s no more true of women than it is of men. People like sports for all sorts of reasons. No reason is inherently better than the others, unless your reason is “I like to see traumatic brain injuries.” Because honestly, that’s a pretty horrifying reason.

So if February rolls around and a female friend of yours says she’s heading to the airport for a flight to Minneapolis, don’t assume she’s visiting the Mall of America. There’s also a pretty big football game happening around that time, and she just might have been lucky enough to score tickets.

Living With Rhythm

Posted on 13 October 2017 by sam

You can feel rhythm in the way that your toes start tapping to the beat of a catchy song – and you can also feel it as you grow tired at the end of a long day. Rhythms are all around us, and our bodies are in tune with them. This isn’t New Age mumbo jumbo: this is real science!

Rhythms are all around us… and inside us

Rhythms exist in nature. The cycles of the moon, and rise and fall of the tides, and the rising and setting of the sun are all natural rhythms. They’re as predictable as the drumbeat in a pop or rock song, and they have a significant impact on the world all around us. The whole world is joining in: birds singing in the morning, ocean animals migrating with each night’s temperature changes, and even we humans sleeping in the dark hours and rising with the light.

But we’re not just responding the rhythms of life. We’re also keeping track of them inside ourselves, whether we realize it or not. That may sound like some hippie nonsense, but it’s actually hard science: this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine went to researchers who traced the biological source of circadian rhythms in fruit flies. Yes, even fruit flies are in tune with the rhythms of the Earth, and the research that these scientists did has brought us closer to understanding the ways in which animal life all over the planet has adapted to the beat of the Earth’s rotation.

How to tap into the rhythm of life

The rhythm is in each of us, and we want to live in harmony with the Earth – but we’re not always doing it. Anyone who has ever been jet lagged knows what it is like to disrupt “circadian rhythms,” which is science’s fancy term for our body’s natural sleep patterns. Our bodies want us to sleep at night and get up in the morning! Not all sleep is created equal, and we will be better rested and healthier if we sleep the way that nature intended. It’s just one of several ways that we can better live in the rhythm of life:

    • Sleep better. There are a lot of way to track your circadian rhythms, including apps and pen-and-paper methods. Use one, and try to get natural sleep by using comfort aids like water pillows rather than sleeping pills and other chemical solutions.
    • Eat on a schedule. It’s not clear that your body is on an internal eating clock, but we do know that eating between meals is one path to obesity, and that habits build on themselves with each passing day. So set a new normal for yourself, and stick to a schedule for your meals.
    • Steer clear of chemicals. There’s no surer way to disrupt your sleep or eating schedule than to ingest things that make you tired (or alert) or hungry (or not hungry). Alcohol, sleeping pills, caffeine – they all can mess up your internal rhythms. So be moderate in your intake of these substances, or avoid them entirely.




When Home Isn’t Enough: Places People Go for Help

Posted on 13 October 2017 by sam

When people buy a home, they often think of it as their safe place, their refuge from the world. It’s common to think, “I’m going to go home and figure this out,” because home is the place where you feel calm and capable. When you go on business trips and vacations, you’re always incredibly excited to get home and sleep in your own bed. It can be hard to think of a time when your home might actually be a dangerous place for you or a loved one.  

There are some issues that require leaving the house and going somewhere else to solve. Your time away may be short-term or long-term, but in desperate situations, the house you’ve grown to love just won’t be quite enough.

Addiction in the Home

For people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol, home is a place where they can hide their addiction. They can put a flask in a secret location, or just hide all of their alcohol in a cabinet no one ever uses. They can tell their friends they’re too busy to go out, then stay at home and ingest their substance of choice. When you’re home, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not addicted to anything, especially if no one else knows just how much you’re using.

If someone does find your liquor cabinet and confronts you, what will you do? Will you make an honest pledge to get better, or will you just move your stash to another secret location?

The former option is the better one for a lot of reasons. Addiction is bad for your health, and hiding it makes you feel like a criminal (depending on what you’re using, you might actually be a criminal if police ever find your stash). If you’re truly committed to getting help for your addiction, you need to put all the options on the table. That includes going to a reputable rehab facility. It’s scary to pack up your things and head to a new place, but you may very well need that fresh start to truly reckon with the past. Get out, clear your head, and get sober. Then you can return home ready to live a more open and free life.

Aging and Isolation

Merely saying the words “retirement home” is enough to make some people panic. There’s a sense in some circles that retirement homes are where you go when you’ve given up on life, but that’s simply not true. Modern retirement homes can be vibrant, active communities (look at places like Riddle Village LifeCare Retirement Community as evidence). As we get older, the house we love can become an impractical place to live. Living in a “normal” home can even be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions. Moving to a retirement community could make sense for a lot of reasons, including financial ones. Take time to explore your options, and don’t make any rash decisions. Try to be open to the idea of heading to a retirement community. Many seniors tend to live isolated lives, especially after the death of a spouse, and a retirement community can be a great way to meet new friends. You can still live an independent life while getting the support you need in a safe, friendly environment.