The Fastest Growing Job in America: Personal Care Aide

Daniel Drew,  2/8/2015


The latest misleading unemployment report was released on Friday. As The Wall Street Journal reports, the job market "looks ripe for liftoff." Sung Won Sohn, economist at California State University Channel Islands, said, “The economy seems to be moving full steam ahead. I think it’s the beginning of a healthy recovery.”

That's right Mr. Sohn! Because nothing says "healthy recovery" more than the BLS' own projections that personal care aide will the be the fastest growing job in America until 2022. At $20,000 per year, this is definitely a bankable job that you can retire on. Now you too can take care of the aging baby boomer generation, the last remaining evidence of a time when this country was actually prosperous.

Personal care aides are just the tip of the iceberg. The most common job in the country is retail salespersons, with about 4.5 million jobs. The runner-up is cashiers, with 3.3 million. Food preparation, including fast food workers, are in third place at 3 million. These low-paying dead-end jobs are the foundation of the country. Even if we had a zero percent unemployment rate, it would still be nothing less than a dystopia if all those jobs had median wages of $20,000. The unemployment rate has become nothing more than a diversion from the true economic reality.

If you could go back in time to the moment you graduated from high school, what would you tell yourself? How would you warn a younger version of you about the future wasteland of the American economy?

Here are the 7 things I would tell myself:

1. Make Sure The Job Is In Demand

Everyone says to follow your dreams, but if your dream is something no one else cares about, like medieval literature, then you will be one of the 653 people applying for $12 per hour administrative assistant jobs.

2. You Can Tolerate The Job

Even if someone paid you $1 million to play in one NFL football game, you couldn't do it. You would get destroyed by the professionals. Even the pros suffer long-term brain damage. Never take a high-paying job if you are going to put your family or health on the line. It's never worth it.

3. The Job Is Not Easily Replaced By Robots

Here is a video of a robot serving beer. There will be a lot of unemployed bartenders when this goes mainstream.

This summer, a hotel in Japan will be staffed by 10 humanoid robots that are modeled on the appearance and mannerisms of a young Japanese woman. They can mimic human behaviors such as breathing and blinking. They speak fluent Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English. They make eye contact and respond to body language and tone - something many humans no longer do, as they stare at their screens incessantly.

When these robots take over menial jobs, what will become of the expanding low-wage class? Efficiency is not always a good thing - especially when the 1% own all the machines. The "company president" of the robotic Japanese hotel said, "We will make the most efficient hotel in the world." The most efficient situation probably doesn't involve your services. Humans need not apply.

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, called AI “our biggest existential threat.” Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, said he agrees with Musk. Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists in history, said AI could “spell the end of the human race.”

It's not easy to find uniquely human jobs anymore - especially high-paying ones. But you have to try.

4. The Job Cannot Be Easily Outsourced to Foreign Workers

This one is becoming very difficult. If you are a risk-averse person, you can do all the "safe" things and still get screwed. Southern California Edison just wiped out a huge chunk of their IT department and replaced them with H-1B visa workers from India. The technology industry is supposedly high-paying. Utilities are supposedly safe. Well five hundred American workers at Edison just found out that corporations are not on your side.

It has never been easier to outsource jobs. Websites like offer outsourcing for mortgage services, data mining, writing, graphic design, video editing, photo editing, business analytics and research, custom software development, electrical engineering, mail order pharmacy services, and accounting. The stereotype of foreign workers doing menial jobs has been outdated for a long time. What still holds true is they are willing to work for less than you are.

5. The Job Is Highly Specialized

If you are a jack of all trades, master of none, you will be one of the biggest losers in the modern economy. If you are just an average employee with no specialty, you will be chasing generic job titles that have 1 opening per 500 applicants.

6. The Job Allows You To Build A Portfolio

The worst careers for portfolio-building involve high level work with nothing to show for it. Those are the most frustrating situations. Speechwriting is probably the best example of this. If you sign a confidentiality agreement, you will have no evidence of the speeches you wrote, and the speaker will get all the credit. Make sure you have evidence of what you're doing. Otherwise, you will be just another person in the resume stack boasting about his unsubstantiated team-building skills.

7. The Job Is Scalable

Don't get stuck in a dead-end job. Find a job that exposes you to the right side of the bell curve. Keep your risk limited and your potential reward unlimited. Make sure you are hunting the black swan, and it's not hunting you.

This article is a summary of Career Guide For The Class of 2015: Surviving The Chaos Of The Modern Economy.

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