Keeping Up with the Changing World of Work
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10 Careers That Didn’t Exist 10 Years Ago
BY RACHEL ZUPEK
Every so often, you meet someone with a job title that makes you go, “Huh?” Either it’s too technical to understand, too hard to describe or in some cases, people just may not have heard of it. But, why would someone not have heard about a job’s existence?
Simple: All the changes that have come about in the past 10 years, from environmental policy to emerging technologies to the recession, have contributed to the creation of careers that never could have existed before.
Dom Sagolla, co-creator of Twitter, for example, recently made the switch from working in research and development at Adobe to creating iPhone applications with his company, DollarApp. Sagolla is also authoring a book, “140 Characters,” which demonstrates the effect of hypertext on literature by redefining the concept of “the book” using Twitter and iPhone to start, he says. Could he have done this 10 years ago? Doubtful.
“I’ve noticed that the best-of-breed iPhone apps incorporate Twitter and social networks, and the best Twitter apps seem to be on iPhone,” Sagolla says. “That is no coincidence: The two came to prominence at roughly the same time. I’ve worked hard to position myself at intersection of those two industries, which form a vortex of attention and zeal that is unmatched.”
Here is a little information about 10 careers that didn’t exist a decade ago:
What they do: Bloggers research and write blog posts in a conversational style to engage readers online. They work for themselves or for corporations, but their goal is the same: to develop and maintain blogs to promote a brand, mission or objective. Jimmy Moore, owner of “Livin La Vida Low-Carb,” started his blog in April 2005 after losing 180 pounds. He wrote about it while still employed in a customer service position. He began blogging full time in October 2006.
“My annual income increased from about $25,000 a year to nearly $60,000 now. I get to work out of my home, I’ve written two books, host my twice-weekly health podcast show on iTunes, do YouTube videos and so much more. This is literally my dream job,” he says. “[It] didn’t even exist a decade ago.”
2. Community managers or content managers
What they do: Community or content managers are an extension of a typical marketing role, but on a more personal level. They serve as a liaison between the company and the public, managing a Web site that allows them to engage with community members and spread the word about the company.
Erin Bury has been the community manager at Sprouter, a Toronto company that enables collaboration and networking among entrepreneurs, for almost one year. She says, “A community manager is a nontraditional role, so it requires some unique traits: the ability to adapt quickly, the ability to juggle a multitude of tasks while still keeping a smile on their face, and an innate passion for what they do. This isn’t a 9-to-5 job; it’s one that involves being an extension of the brand almost 24/7, which is why loving the company and the job is a prerequisite.”
3. Green funeral directors
What they do: Green funeral directors incorporate environmentally friendly options to meet the needs of families who want a green service.
“A green funeral may include any or all of the following basic options: no embalming or embalming with formaldehyde-free products; the use of sustainable biodegradable clothing, shroud or casket; using recycled paper products, locally grown organic flowers, organic food; car pooling; arranging a small memorial gathering in a natural setting; [or a] natural or green burial,” says Elizabeth Fournier, a funeral home owner who works as a green mortician. “It’s a fabulous opening for an individual who is green-minded in all aspects of their work.”
4. Interior redesigners
What they do: Instead of spending $500 on a new couch, why not use that money to hire an interior redesigner who will find new ways to decorate with items you already own? Interior redesigners remodel your home using the things you already have, either repurposing them for other uses or putting them in other rooms, etc.
Jennifer Schweikert, owner of Just My Style by JMS, says, “In a time of ‘less is more,’ people streamlining possessions, baby boomers and seniors downsizing, and the green movement of reduce, reuse and recycle, interior redesign is an up-and-coming field of work that addresses these needs in today’s lifestyle and economy.”
5. Patient advocates
What they do: There are several types of patient advocates, and although their services vary, all of them want to make sure that the patient and family are informed and to make things easier on everyone. Advocates can go with patients to appointments; ensure they’re visiting with the right specialists and taking the right medicines; sort through medical bills and negotiate fees with health-care providers and insurance companies; they can even educate family members on proper care for their sick loved one.
6. Senior move management
What they do: Senior move management companies help older adults and families with the physical and emotional demands of downsizing, relocating or modifying their homes.
7.Social media strategists
What they do: Social media strategists use social media tools to help companies interact with customers, increase brand awareness, create buzz, increase traffic and provide information.
8. User experience analyst
What they do: User experience analysts look for ways to make using a Web site easier, more pleasant and more engaging for consumers. They want to figure out how to keep you on their site and how to make your experience while you’re there memorable and useful.
9. Video journalists
What they do: In the 1960s, reporters had to shoot and edit their own stories because of lack of manpower and resources. Now, almost 50 years later, this role is back, but now it’s called video journalism. To save money, large-market news groups hire small-market reporters as video journalists at a fraction of the cost. They are usually assigned stories to produce for the station Web site, finding content to drive Web traffic.
10. Virtual business service providers
What they do: Many people are forming their own companies by way of telecommuting, offering such virtual services as customer service, concierge services or even public relations from their homes.
“Thanks to the birth of the Internet and the rise of new industries because of it, my company was born. The rise of virtual companies like ours has provided jobs for lots of people,” says Deborah Sittig, owner of Green Room Public Relations.