The term “young professional” has such an elitist connotation. Even when I read my own blog posts, I often see myself talking to those of us who work in corporate, educational, creative, or entrepreneurial capacities (or at least hope to reach that). Truth be told though, working in retail, food, hospitality, maintenance, or any other field that is more manual is just as professional. They are professions just as much as doctor or lawyer are. And, depending on your skillset and level of mastery and dedication, you can make a very comfortable living doing some of these jobs that are often left out of what we generally think when we think of those who fit in the category we like to refer to as “young professionals.”
Today, I’m speaking to those of you who work with your hands and serve food and work in retail. First of all, I greatly appreciate you and all that you do. Your hard work, smiles, and efficiency make America great. You’re often underpaid, overworked, and unappreciated. Many of your corporate heads don’t make sure that you feel valued. In always looking for ways to cut costs, they are hurting you all, which is why implore you to develop a back up plan.
I’m on a flight right now watching a commercial for some resort and, instead of a hospitality worker delivering fresh towels to a room, the resort uses robots. Why? Robots don’t need insurance, salaries, or parties that will boost their morale. When I was in France, I went to McDonald’s and there were machines that took my order. Now that I think about it, almost every time I go into the grocery store on the way home, I use the self checkout. Corporate America is trying to cut costs right now and the most costly (and unpredictable) aspect of a business is often the human component. Now, I must do my part as a responsible citizen and stop using the non-human offerings but everyone isn’t going to think the way I do. Some of us want the convenience. Shoot, all of us do. But at what cost?
So, as I said before, I beg of you, develop a back up plan. A lot can change in the next 5-10 years and you don’t want to get caught off guard.
Make professional development a priority.