Hard-to-Define Jobs Are More Secure

Generally, the harder it is to explain to someone you've just met at a cocktail party what it is you do on a day to day basis, the more interesting the work you're engaged in.

Arnold Kling applies a related rule of thumb to job security:

A job seeker is looking for… a well-defined job. But the trend seems to be that if a job can be defined, it can be automated or outsourced.

The marginal product of people who need well-defined jobs is declining. The marginal product of people who can thrive in less structured environments is increasing.

In other words, how easy is it to outline exactly what you must do day to day at work? The easier this task, the more at risk it is to being offshored or automated.

9 Responses to Hard-to-Define Jobs Are More Secure

  1. DaveJ says:

    OTOH you may be more at risk after an acquisition or during a cost-cutting operation. In the immortal words of Office Space, “can you tell us what ya *do* here?”

  2. Dave says:

    This reminds me of pretty much everything Cal Newport writes about.

  3. i dont think so in this era you can take job as an guarantee

  4. Aatash says:

    I’ve been reading Dr. Jay Parkinson’s blog for a few months and am fascinated by what he does…and in his latest article he cites Jackie Danicki, who is citing you!
    Cool stuff.

  5. esme says:

    I guess this means it is the ‘end’ of us “average” human beings.

  6. esme says:

    So we can rest assured that Lady Gaga will be serenading the janitors and the Richard Bransons of the world for years to come.

  7. Joe Fusco says:

    Thank you! I thought I was defective.

  8. Stephanie Sollers says:

    Currently printing this out, and tacking it up at my desk.

    You couldn’t be more on point. Thank you Ben!

  9. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
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