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[OPINION] The future is dark and full of terror

Keith Broni is from Ireland. He just qualified with a master’s degree in business psychology from University College London. The traditional career options for someone with this type of career involve business related research, assessing mental health and work performance of employees, strategy evaluation for companies and creating job assessments - to name a few.

But Keith does none of these things. Instead, he is an emoji translator. The first emoji translator in the world, in fact. He helps companies navigate safely through the growing media minefield of the emoji.

Emojis have started to play such a big role in consumer marketing that companies have decided that an understanding of what the symbols mean - especially across different cultures - is a necessary and demanding skill.

Global firm Today Translations - the UK’s number one provider of translation services, employs Keith. It turns out Emojis are a language that need translating as well. One of Keith’s first assignments? Translating popular idioms like “no pain, no gain” or “speak of the devil” into easily understandable emoji versions.

This is awesome. As new technology develops (and it does… faster than new sub-cultures develop in Japan), people can just create new and evolved jobs for themselves. Like emoji interpreter or Facebook personality output perception manager or cross sectional modern/retro internal aesthetic manager. I just made those last two up. See how easy it is?

But there’s a flip side to the unlimited and often bullshit job options of the future. It is terrifying. The potential to create an awesome (and irritating, in my opinion) job title far outweighs the potential to do said job, or make a comfortable living out of it.

When last did you meet a millennial who maybe calls themselves a digital liaison behavioural scientist and who has medical aid? Who are the only millennials who are safe? The start-up superstars. Most of them have an advantage in that they probably have trust funds the size of dragon eggs, so that they can sell fancy socks for a living or something. Professional fleek foot gloves distributor?

But the majority of us do not have dragon egg sized trust funds. Our futures are terrifyingly dark and empty. No retirement fund. No assets. No stashed away Kruger rands. Not even the odd bit of change rolling around to tip car guards. But maybe that’s just part of the “I don’t carry cash” movement.

What about sticking to traditional jobs you ask? Like being a journalist. There will always be a need for reporting, right? Nope. The trade is dying. No one can afford to employ us because the media industry is taking its last emphysema-infected breath. Gasping for money.

So, I spend a lot of my time thinking about new careers for myself. None of them pay very well. Maybe I’m just bad at being an innovative market place survivor. I’ll tell you what I’m good at though: creative job title generator. Any takers?

Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a commentator on gender equality, sexuality, culture, race relations and feminism as well as ethics in the South African media environment.

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