I read with dismay some of the stories in this CNA article on mature PMETS. As I have tried to work in the public and legal sectors before, the idea of being unwanted because of m age is not new to me.
But the story on pseudonym Siva really takes the cake.
This is a mechanical engineer who claims to have IT and project management qualifications and yet, does not know how to google the web on steps to become a private-hire driver. Is it fair to sympathise with the fact that he was unable to find a job for the last 7 years?
Sometimes, you really have to spare a thought for hirers as well, who's got the time to teach folks the basics like googling the web. Businesses are not charities.
I realise how scary the Siva's in Singapore are. I'm 47 years old this year, will I become a Siva in a decade? Will the older Millenials become a Siva in 20 years?
If 50-somethings in Singapore lack the basic skills to be employable, some may actually join an SME and tar their hiring experience. Over time, HR professionals will join an alarm every time a 50-something candidate arrives. One day even a decent candidate will be turned down if the SME has had negative experiences before. I heard of at least one rumour that one large law firm has a policy of never hiring SMU JD graduates. These things happen.
Even I'm not getting any younger. If I become irrelevant one day, it may be due to the following reasons :
a) Quantum Computing - This is the largest paradigm shift that can make even a fresh grad today obsolete.
Once computers no longer run on 1s and 0s and instead on qubits, the foundations of computer science becomes useless. Instead we have to pick up new ideas with Bloch Spheres and Hadamard Transforms, currently taught in local physics programs.
Even the social sciences are betting transformed, In 2022, a book on Quantum economics will be published.
I'm struggling to understand this now, but it's harder than anything I've ever done before.
b) The Metaverse - We don't even know what this is
One day, young folks will just disappear from the Web. They may emerge in a VR world where they work, play and earn some universal currency backed by the FB central bank. I cannot even imagine what devices will be required to jack in into the Metaverse, but some crazy computer scientist will invent an in-metaverse computing platform so we have a platform within the space.
I suspect by then, I will be too old to play this new game which is the Inception movie in real life.
The only silver lining out of this is that Gen X will enjoy watching Gen Y grow into their 40s and begin their mid-life crisis. My generation is still quite conscientious and enjoyed half of the property boom. It will be entertaining to see how avocado-eating work-life balance advocates with their version of a mid-life crisis where they get displaced by Gen Z.
How to prepare for the day we become unemployable?
a) Invest aggressively
To resolve the issue, there is an age-old FIRE movement to be able to live on investments before obsolesces kick in. I expect younger guys to incorporate a large cryptocurrency component to their version of FIRE, which I am building, not for me, but for my kids. Defi in particularly is very friendly to the FIRE movement.
Beyond financial investments, starting a business or dabbling in entrepreneurship may no longer be optional. The savvy employee may take a break from employment to try their hand on business with a full view that failure may see the back in employment. My bet is that running businesses may become a way to cope with mental health issues, where Gen Z will take a break to run a small business when their workplaces become too toxic.
The idea is that one day, you can afford to employ yourself.
Anyway, do read the CNA article.
If anything, just don't become a Siva ok?