As digital technology disrupts the workplaces for many people, how can they cope?  Now throw in COVID19 as an extra motivator.

A lot of occupations have been eliminated.  People who have trained to perform these tasks have to find another path.

The first folks to fall victim were workers who were replaced by factories.  Then those blue-collar factory workers were replaced by robots.

More and more jobs have been eliminated by digital technology.  Secretaries used to be everywhere… now they are few and far between and only the elite remain.  Tellers?  Gas station attendants? The list could go on.

The same will be true for many white-collar jobs that will be no longer required.  COVID has forced this by showing companies employees can work from home.

Typically, long term results require some long-term investment.  That’s why we go to school and to university to build our long-term value while putting off income in the short term.  Some people get romanced by the immediate money they can make and leave this stream earlier, only to find the short-term gain has left them at a long-term disadvantage.

Now there is another disruption coming for many: the midlife retraining requirement.

When you were living with your parents, putting off making money in the short term was a tolerable solution.  It was one they were likely willing to support, either with room and board or help with expenses.  The vision was that further schooling would pay off with a better job and a better life.  A long-term investment.

However, the situation is not the same if you are a 40 year-old with a family, with a mortgage and thinking of your teenagers heading to university.  How can you forego income and spend funds on retraining for a potential future?

The midlife crisis has changed from buying a sports car to finding a career path for the next twenty years and finding a way to save enough to prepare for your retirement.  There will be massive retraining required.

Economists shrug and think people can follow the opportunities.  It is not that easy.  There are ego costs, family costs

Right now, there is no social mechanism to allow midlife travelers to afford the change.  This will be particularly a problem as society pays the heavy bills from the COVID19.  Our social capital is depleted.

Governments should be thinking of structures that can help this transition or many talented people will become an even larger social cost.

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