Ask LH: Are There Any Jobs That Are Safe From Offshoring?

Hey Lifehacker, Given today’s technological advances and the rise in jobs where you can work remotely, how does one secure a job that can’t be “offshored”? What are the “non-offshoreable” jobs? Thanks, Career Crisis

Departures picture from Shutterstock

Dear CC,

The fast, crass and accurate answer? Prostitution. It’s a hand-to-mouth existence, but it’s not something you can completely handle offshore.

The more considered answer? Your question is built on two frankly shaky presumptions. The first is that jobs going offshore is inherently and always a bad thing, which is a political can of worms I’m not going to dive into here.

The second is that securing a job that is “onshore” guarantees some kind of career security. As anyone who works at a car manufacturer or in a call centre or as a coder or in a bank or in a retail store will tell you, that’s not always the case. “Jobs for life” were a reality for our grandparents and perhaps for our parents, but not for us. You have to be able to change and adapt, and adopting a mindset that says “I need to find a job someone overseas can’t do” is not the right way to approach it. “I need to find a job that I love and can do well” is a better way to think about it.

There are plenty of obvious careers that require physical presence in a given location — chefs, builders, dentists. If one of those appeals, train, learn and embrace it. But don’t assume the job won’t change in unexpected ways. That’s the world we live in.


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