Dealing with Job Obsolescence

I remember when I’ve been out of it for a couple of days. I had a cold and lost my appetite. (The only good thing about being sick and not eating is that I am back to my pre-Christmas weight.)

In the midst of my lethargic response to being ill, I watched Wheel of Fortune; which I’ve not viewed an entire episode in years. I noticed that much has changed. Initially, Vanna White was a “letter turner.”

Then, with advances in technology, there is nothing left to turn. And although she touched each tile before the letter displays, I suspected that someone else was actually making it happen—after all, if they can make the tiles light up without Vanna’s help, they can likewise make the letters display, sans Vanna.

Sadly, Vanna’s original job had become obsolete and superfluous.  Correspondingly, it was likely, that sometime during our working lifetime, we, too, will be faced with job obsolescence.

There were two ways to deal with such a development. One is to prepare for an alternate career. Vanna has done some acting. However, her leading role foray (Goddess of Love) was not well-received (for the record, I had no objections).

The other strategy of preparing for job obsolescence is to make oneself essential to the organization. This is exactly what happened. Vanna, although was no longer performing a substantive role in the show’s mechanics, has nevertheless become so crucial to its ongoing success as to have been named the show’s co-host. 

This developed even though we are only allowed to hear Vanna in the closing seconds of each episode (though I am quite sure that her mic used to be on throughout the show, allowing her to cheer for and encourage the contestants.)

So, courtesy of Vanna White we can ascertain some great career strategies: 1) develop other options and 2) make yourself indispensable.  Either way, you’ll be covered.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

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