Bonus Episode: Is the future filled with dead-end jobs?

Bonus Episode: Is the future filled with dead-end jobs?

In a recent video, Russell Brand jokes about robots escorting you back to your dead-end job. And it certainly made me wonder: is the future filled with dead-end jobs? Is that what we all have to look forward to? And what constitutes a dead-end job in modern times?


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Transcription by  Please forgive any typos!

Welcome to the Causey Consulting Podcast. You can find us online anytime at And now, here’s your host, Sara Causey. Hello, Hello, thanks for tuning in. In today’s episode I want to contemplate the question of is the future filled with dead end jobs. This really crossed my mind the other day because I was watching one of Russell Brand’s videos, and he makes this sort of joke slash throwaway comment. That’s really not a throwaway comment about robots escorting you back to your dead end job. And it made me think, well, is that possible? Not necessarily that robots will be escorting you back to your dead end job. Although I mean, let’s be honest, that probably is possible. But is the future filled with dead end jobs? Is that what we have to look forward to? And then before we can even answer that question, we have to first try to establish what is a dead end job? In modern 2023 vernacular, what what could we consider a dead end job to be? What does that look like? So if we go to the Cambridge dictionary, the first definition of a dead end job is a job in which there is no chance of progressing to a better, more important job. A secondary definition is a job which does not offer any opportunity for improving your situation. The example they use is despite having a degree in journalism, he got stuck in a dead end job at an insurance company. So I’m sure that if you run an insurance company, you can feel very good about that. There are also some additional articles provided about signs that you’re in a dead end job. On section for career advice, slash career development, we find 15 signs of a dead end job and what to do about it. So what are their signs, company has high turnover, you’re overqualified, there are minimal raises, there’s a focus on outside hires, you have fewer challenges. There are unclear organizational values, you’re constantly playing catch up. There’s poor scheduling, management asks for limited input, you have stagnant duties, the HR team is disengaged, you’re not interested in internal positions. There’s a lack of business growth, you’re daydreaming during work, Oh, you better not be doing that. According to the web cartoon, they’re going to read your brainwaves and catch you daydreaming, you’re missing out on promotions? Well, some of these are individual, some of these may have something to do with the economy. And some of them quite frankly, sound a lot more like quiet firing, where you’re just being slow played out the door, you’re overqualified, there’s no way for you to move up, they’re not going to play to your strengths and create a position for you. They just want you to linger there die on the vine. They’re not keeping you in the loop on anything. Your duties are stagnant. Nobody’s really engaging with you. Those can also be signs of quiet firing, not just that you’re in a dead end job period. But that you’re being slow played out the door, it really depends on the situation. One thing I want to interject is that not wanting to climb the corporate ladder, not being focused on trying to one day become the CEO of the whole operation. That doesn’t mean that you lack motivation. And it doesn’t mean that you’re in a dead end job. Not everybody wants to be the president or the CEO or the department head. For that matter. Not everybody wants to be a people manager. It’s not my bag. I’ve been stuck in middle management positions twice in my career. I affectionately referred to myself as the designated but tour or a rat in a cage. Because that’s how it felt. There were times that I didn’t really have any authority. I didn’t really have any autonomy. I just felt like a cog in the machine. And I would feel like the company owners or the bosses on top of my layer of stratification just wanted to use me as somebody to gripe out the underlings. And I hated that to me, and it’s so degrading, and so demeaning, and so childish. To treat grown adults, like kindergarten kids, I’m gonna write you up. I’m gonna send a nasty note home to your mommy. You weren’t nice during fingerpainting it’s just how stupid like I didn’t enjoy it. For me, it made the most sense to go in the SMI direction, to just really focus on continuing education, staying up to date on the most current trends and just entrenching myself into the industry so that I could deliver value to other people by knowing the absolute hell out of my chosen profession. But the only person that I want to manage at the end of the day is me. I don’t want to be a people manager. So in some respects, that makes me not a good fit. I’m not trying to climb the corporate ladder. So some people might say, well, the consulting work becomes a dead end job, because where can you go ahead of being the owner and operator of your own business? Hey, it suits me just fine. I don’t I don’t need the corner office and the hoopla and the trappings of a corporate job. So not every quote, dead end job that looks that way to somebody else might be that way to you. I do think this is a subjective term. But if we can at least agree on some working definition, the idea that you’re not going to have the opportunity to improve yourself, like you’re not going to get any more intellectual stimulation, you’re just going to have to sit in this cube and process the same papers and hit the same buttons over and over and over again, ad infinitum. until you’re ready to just jump off the roof. Perhaps we could agree that that might be considered a dead end job. I had a job for several years that I enjoyed until I didn’t. And part of what soured the situation for me was they had a very clear opportunity to promote me and they didn’t. Instead they opted to hire somebody from outside the company. I just kept getting this like hand on top of my head pushing me down, like no, you’re not ready yet. No, you’re not ready yet. No, you’re not ready yet. be easier for us to just hire somebody from outside the company, instead of doing something to train you and get you up to where we want you to be, we’re just going to keep you down. And it’s like, okay, so if I stay here, I’m going to feel like a giant doormat. And I’m clearly not going to be able to advance I will be in this cubicle, doing the same things over and over and over again, and only getting small merit increases and cost of living pay bumps over the years. But apparently, I’m not ever going to work my way up into a higher level in this company and have more say in the direction of the company. I think that can also be called a dead end job. Again, I know that we’re talking about things that are subjective, and there’s really no specific job you can call out without offending somebody. Someone will write in and say no, that’s not a dead end job and how dare you imply it. So for the purposes of this episode, I think if we can agree, you’re not being challenged, you’re not being stimulated. Maybe the job bears some similarities to quiet firing, where you’re being slow played out the door, and they just want you to leave of your own volition is the future filled with jobs like that? So there was an article that appeared on February 1 on the Guardian, titled, UK benefit changes have pushed people into dead end, low paid jobs says ifs the byline reads tougher rules of boosted employment, but jobs offer scant career progression and contribute little to tax revenue. This is interesting, because we are seeing, in my opinion, a similar trend happening in the US. We’re being told that we have a 3.4% unemployment rate lowest it’s been in 50 some odd years to open jobs for every one unemployed person. Why? If you’re unemployed right now, it’s nobody’s fault. But your own, you must be living in grandma’s basement off your 2020 stimulus checks that somehow through hyperinflation, you’ve managed to make those checks last like Jesus’s miracle with the loaves and fishes. But that’s beside the point. You must be flush with cash if you don’t want to take a fast food job. If you have been laid off from big tech, and you’re making 100 150 200k a year and you can’t make ends meet at a $15 an hour hospitality job well, that’s your own fault. Get real. How can you have an entire economy based on service sector jobs? I don’t get it. Yes, those jobs are important. Yes, they’re necessary. There’s no gripe or dispute for me on that. Not everybody can be in those jobs. However, you have to have enough economic diversity. We can’t have an economy that’s based on one particular engine, one particular industry, it doesn’t make any sense. So when we read this article, we find tougher benefit rules have boosted employment in the UK in the past 25 years, but only at the expense of trapping workers in dead end jobs. According to a leading think tank, the Institute for Fiscal Studies or the ifs, said successive waves of welfare changes since the late 1990s had impose more stringent conditions on those claiming jobless benefits and increase the incentives to find a job Yet it’s research also found that many of the jobs were part time, low paid, and had scant chance of career progression. Hmm. That sounds a lot like the American economy right now, doesn’t it? As a result, the think tank found those encouraged to enter paid work had tended to remain on low pay. We’re paying little in tax and we’re often still entitled to in work benefits. The ifs said that there had been at least three waves of what was touted as benefit reform over the past 25 years all of which had encouraged benefit claimants to find work. According to the Institute, a low earner with children in 1997 to 1998 On average, had lost 50 pounds. I get I’m guessing this one it is 50 Pence or 50 pounds 50 Pence probably in reduced benefits on or higher taxes for every pounder. Okay, so had lost 50 Pence in reduced benefits are higher taxes for every pound earned. When they moved into part time work today, that figure is 38 pence. By contrast, the incentive to move from part to full time work had been weakened in 97 and 98. That transition implied losing 52 Pence to taxes or withdrawn benefits for every pound earn on average. Today, it results in losing 58 pence. The latest official figures from the Office for National Statistics show that more than 8 million people a quarter of the workforce is in part time work and quote. Is this coming to a theater near you? Is this what’s going to happen in America as well go get a part time job as a burrito maker or a sandwich artist, and you’ll be fine. long pause. So you can just think that out. A quarter of the workforce in the UK is in part time work. How is that possible? And you think about the stories of having to choose between heat or eat. And somebody’s only working part time in a low paid job with no chances for upward mobility. How is not sustainable? How are people going to be able to make ends meet? Maybe Russel is onto something when he’s talking about the robots are going to shuttle you back and forth and police you from one dead end job to another. Here maybe his joke wasn’t so jokey after all. Is this also part of you vill own nozing und you vill be happy. I don’t know. You go to your modular unit or your apartment, your efficiency apartment that’s you know, 300 square feet, because that’s all you need. If you get tired and claustrophobic you can always go into virtual reality and have a more interesting experience in there. You can eat your crickets. You can work your dead end job and you’ll get paid and your cbdc. And that will just be that because you’re a peon, you’re a serf, and you don’t really deserve anything better than that anyway. I mean, isn’t it better? If you’re going to be working a shitty part time or a shitty dead end job? Isn’t it better to just be doing it part time anyway instead of having to do it full time? I mean, isn’t that more beneficent? You have more time to sit in the hovel and go into virtual reality and have a more exciting life there. Again, I’m just pausing so that you can contemplate that for yourself. Because I don’t know the answer. And I don’t claim to I’m just thinking out loud. Darren a Brock came back he hadn’t published for a little while. Apparently he had the flu. So shout out to Jared. Hey, Brock, glad that you’re feeling better. On medium. He published you will owe nothing, including books. byline reads, Amazon joins the great reset to feudalism. Wow. Now I know some wise in Heimer is going to say, well, you know, that’s the whole idea of a public library or the whole idea of like Kindle Unlimited, you pay a base fee, and then you can read as much as you want. Yeah. I’m not saying that renting books is a brand new concept that Oh, this must be part of what the web is doing. Dunoon it No, no, no, I get it. I think putting it in the context of the bigger picture of you will own nothing Oh, and that includes your books, you’re not going to get a hard copy of a book anymore that you could to keep and reread as many times as you want or reference as many times as you want. You can rent the book, we’re going to make the price of buying it so absurd, that you just have to rent it anyway. Because we need to get you conditioned to doing that. You’re going to rent your refrigerator and your cell phone and your TV from your cbdc credits. We just need to go ahead and get you accustomed to doing that. So in this article, Jared tells the story of looking for this book do less better. And as he says, Let me tell you, it is bloody expensive. There’s a screenshot here of the hardcover being $20.99. And the paperback is somehow more expensive than the hardcover. And that is $37.14. Apparently, if you want to buy it on Kindle then it’s $28.20. And he’s asking who is paying $37.14 for a shortish paperback by an unknown author, and who in the world is paying an insane $28.20 for a digital file, I couldn’t understand it. Then suddenly, I noticed the vile reason why the hardcover paperback and ebook versions were also expensive. Amazon has gotten into the rent seeking game. So as a screenshot here, where you can rent through a selected date for only $9.06. I can hear your size from here. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a trillion dollar e tale monopoly that exploits hundreds of 1000s of workers also wants to monopolize books in order to rent them back to you for more money than you used to be able to purchase them for. I’ve been saying it for a while, and I will continue saying it until the world experiences a revival or revolution. rent seeking will destroy humanity’s freedom and well being and quote. So now, you’re not even going to be able to own the book for a month, you can rent it for 10 bucks. Wow. I guess when you’re at the dead and dead end job eating the Cricut burgers and thinking about what you’re going to do on your virtual reality headset later. Maybe you can dip in and rent a book for $10 a month. You know, I have to believe that that also. Okay, super, super duper tinfoil hat here. I think that also sort of lends itself to the idea of why even bother if it becomes cost prohibitive to read. People just won’t do it. People are already not reading enough. When you look at like what was the statistic I talked about before 17% of people in this country would say that they read books on a regular basis 17%. That’s painfully low. Then if you make it cost prohibitive, to get your hands on a book where you can rent this book for 10 bucks a month. It’s going to be even less than 17%. It is going to become a luxury to read. Oh, let’s think back, you know, before the printing press and the ability for the peons, to have access to books and to printed material. Hmm. The feudal lords were the ones who had access to it. They had literacy. They had access to texts and to books. The commoners didn’t. You know, I’m kind of detecting a theme there. I’ve talked before about how in my mind, when we talk about living situation feudalism, and workplace feudalism put together it’s just feudalism, full stop. So you’ve on nothing, and then you’re going to have a dead end job that you’re trapped in. If you don’t like that one, then you can go get another part time dead end job that you also don’t like. And if you want to escape through reading a book, you can do that for a $10 a month rental. It just feels like feudalism full stop. Now, to play devil’s advocate to give some information to the other side of this coin, McKinsey tells us there is no such thing as a dead end job new McKinsey research finds. Okay, fair enough. This is from the McKinsey Global Institute dated July 22 2022. We read there is no such thing as a dead end job. According to our newest McKinsey Global Institute report human capital at work the value of experience, every job is an opportunity to develop skills that can lead to a better position. A waitress manages people while multitasking fitting experience for customer service. An inventory clerk observes firsthand the complexities of juggling logistics in a warehouse and IT person on the Help Desk masters the basics of managing a network. Our team of researchers analyzed 700 occupations across four countries, and found that skills acquired through work experience account for 40 to 43% of average lifetime earnings in the US, UK and Germany and 56% of earnings in India. What this means is that you’re not limited to a low earning bracket simply because of your levels of education, or lack of personal and professional networks. This is a story of possibilities, explains MGI partner Anu, mud cover mud calf car hope I’m saying that right, who led the research with Bill Shan injure a McKinsey senior partner in our people and organizational performance practice but it takes a willingness to try new jobs including at your current employer. In our sample workers switch roles an average of every two to four years increasing their skill set by about 25% with each move, and those who made bold moves Early on, and more frequently saw the greatest increase in earnings. You have to try something new that stretches you says, Bill, you don’t know if it’s going to work you build on that stretch, repeat. And that’s the essence of it. Really. You have to say surely there’s more than this and even be willing to fail miserably and quote, huh? Yeah, I don’t know. I’m thinking back to Allentown. While we’re waiting here in Allentown. For the Pennsylvania we never found for the promises our teachers gave if we worked hard if we behaved. This article to me reads a lot like what I would call Oh, I’m gonna get hate mail. Let me just think about this. What I would call that kind of Americana, capitalist propaganda of just pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Everybody is a temporarily embarrassed billionaire. You too, can have lifestyles of the rich and famous. Hmm. So I mean, when we’re talking about taking risks, we’re talking about making a leap and hoping it works out. What if you can’t take that chance? What if you’re a single parent and your kids are dependent on you to survive? What if the your former spouse is a deadbeat who won’t pay child support, and there’s no, there’s no wiggle room there. You can’t go out and take a risk, you have to hang on to this job, because it’s a sure thing. So many of these people who supposedly bootstrap themselves you find out later that they had a rich parent or rich grandparent. They got a loan from somebody early on, who gave them like a million dollars, which is not chump change. But yet, we’re supposed to believe that they scavenged for cans on the side of the road, they took paper to the recycler and became a bazillionaire completely off of their own steam. A lot of times, it’s just not true. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you it’s completely impossible. It’s never true. I’m just gonna say most of the time, when you start digging, and you really read into the person’s biography, you find out that in fact, they didn’t make it purely on their own steam, they had some help. So I think it’s a bit naive to imply that will everybody should just be able to switch roles two to four years, you should make big bold moves. And it’s okay, if you fail? Well, that depends. It totally depends. Do you have a safety net in place who’s going to catch you when you fall? If you don’t have any family that can help you? You don’t have a spouse that can help you. You’re a single parent with kids dependent on you or they are going to starve. I mean, get real. To me, to me, it’s just my opinion. I could be wrong, but that just sounds like hopium there’s no such thing as a dead end job. Well, that’s going too far in the other direction. Here we have some people that want to act like if you say that any job is a dead end job. That’s terrible and heinous. But then on the other side of the coin, there’s no such thing as a dead end job. Really? Yeah. I mean, let’s let’s have a common sense meaning in the middle. Yes, there are dead end jobs. And they’re jobs that you’re not meant to work out for forever. But what happens to the people who get trapped what happens to the people who get squeezed I go back again to Alyssa Cortes book squeezed about the middle class. And more people getting squeezed downward out of the middle class than people being squeezed upward into wealthier echelon. So I think yes, yes, there is such a thing as a dead end job. I believe I’ve been in them before, to be honest with you. Is that the wave of the future? In looking at this information from the UK, it just sounds so familiar to me of what’s going on here in the US, we’re being told that the labor market is red hot, the Fed still has work to do, it’s okay for them to crash the job market because it’s so hot, it needs to cool down. They’re gonna give us our ag wiki medicine, but we need it it’s important. Meanwhile, the jobs that are out there are like fast food, retail hospitality, some of them are part time. Rather than being full time jobs. A lot of them do not pay a living wage, especially when we account for inflation. You know, it costs half your liver and a second mortgage to just go to the grocery store and stock up for the week. But yet you expect me to believe that somebody working a $15 an hour part time job is going to be a okay. Really? are dead end jobs the wave of the future? Maybe Russell was onto something when he talks about the robot escorting you back to your dead end job. It sounds dystopian, I know and I hope I’m wrong, but it’s a scary world. out there right now. Yes, there’s things to feel good about. There’s hope there is hope there’s genuine hope not just hoping it’s not all bad all the time. I think that we’re headed into a downturn. And I think when when all of these Omni bubbles pop is going to suck, I hope you’re prepared. I hope you have the job loss survival plan. I hope you have an RTO survival plan. I hope you’ve been thinking about all of this in advance so that you don’t get smacked upside the head by an unpleasant surprise. Stay safe, stay sane, and I will see you in the next episode. Thanks for tuning in. If you enjoyed this episode, please take a quick second to subscribe to this podcast and share it with your friends. We’ll see you next time.

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