The workplace has changed dramatically in the past decade with a flurry of web experts, bloggers and interns gathering around the proverbial water-cooler. In 2004 you probably thought the term ‘app’ was a typo, while you would be forgiven for thinking that ‘Zumba’ was a swear word in a foreign language. Let’s not even get started on the stress that you’d experience if you knew that in the year 2014 ‘trolls’ would no longer be mythical creatures living under bridges.
With the advent of the Internet and its now ubiquitous presence, our interactions with the world have changed and with it, the job market. The term ‘nerd’ is no longer a nasty four-letter word and tweeting might get you paid.
In the past decade, the job market has become a whole lot more exciting… Dance your way to financial freedom or blog all the way to the bank. We list ten jobs that are sure to get your grandparents asking: “What the heck is that?”
Zumba is the Latin dance-inspired fitness craze that started in the early 2000s. However, it took a full decade to capture the world’s attention and ever since then the world has been making up for lost time with an estimated 14 million people attending weekly Zumba classes. Described as a ‘fitness party’ by its creators, anyone can train to be an instructor. So if you’re keen to ‘party’ your way to financial freedom then perhaps consider a career as Zumba instructor.
In February 2014 Facebook acquired the instant-messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, and with that a whole generation of wannabe app developers was born. Part of the appeal is the rags-to-riches potential for would-be developers. Jan Koum, CEO of WhatsApp, was a former Yahoo! employee from a family that was dependent on food stamps, and now he is a dollar billionaire. Before you delve into the world of coding, a word of warning: app development is a highly competitive industry with millions of apps available daily, and consumers becoming more selective in their acquisition of new apps. In fact, the release of new apps towers over any other form of media, with an estimated 15,000 new apps available each week.
Yes, the dreaded internship. The limbo between unemployment and employment. Anyone who has been an intern is likely to have their own collection of horror stories to recount as soon as they hear the equally dreaded word ‘stipend’. Sure, interns have existed in many guises in decades past, however, in recent years there has been a surge in the number of interns and internship positions. As more people complete tertiary education, competition for professional jobs increases and so too does the number of graduates willing to take any steps necessary in order to bolster their CV and ensure a well-paid job in the future. This coupled with an often-volatile economy means that companies attempt to squeeze as much from their interns as possible. Globally the law is changing in favour of the rights of interns with big corporations such as Condé Nast being challenged over non-payment. However, we are yet to see whether this will impact interns in South Africa, as many companies continue to advertise unpaid internships.
Social Media Manager
There’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Then there's also Pinterest and maybe even Foursquare… Welcome to the world of a social media manager, one of the only jobs where your boss can’t complain if you spend too much time on Facebook. Sounds fun, right? Well don’t resign just yet. At best, this job is misunderstood and at worst it is looked down upon as not a ‘real job’, as corporations acknowledge that the role is vital but lack much understanding of the demands of the role. With companies such as FNB’s @RBJacob’s boasting over 207,000 followers on Twitter alone, handling queries and complaints is no easy task. The 24/7 nature of the Internet means that the consumer never sleeps and so the social media manager is expected to be knowledgeable, courteous and even witty at all hours of the day. This might come naturally to some, but for the rest of us Facebook will forever remain a guilty pleasure to be enjoyed when the boss isn’t looking.
Blogging seems to be the all-embracing hobby that can transform moms, fashionistas and even foodies into fully-fledged media moguls if their blog stats are impressive enough to win over advertisers and sponsors. Blogging is a democratic career choice in the sense that anyone with Internet access can start a blog. The appeal of the job is obvious, with the perks of being a paid blogger ranging from making a career out of your passion, to the all-important working from the comfort of your bed. With these bonuses, it is easy to see why so many have tried their luck. However, blogging as a career is akin to singing as a career: many dream about it, few manage it.
Sigmund Freud can keep his stuffy psychoanalysis. 2014 is all about achieving your goals and often that can be an overwhelming task. So instead of collapsing on the couch of a psychologist, perhaps you need a life coach. Or better yet, perhaps you need to become one. The task of being a life coach is a combination of teaching, consulting, training and developing your clients. Basically Oprah Winfrey meets Tony Robbins. Sceptics might scoff at the profession but many coaches and clients envision a time when life coaches are as common as personal trainers. The logic being: you care enough about your glutes to get a trainer, so why not get a life coach to help achieve your dormant personal and career goals?
Pop-up Store Owner
With shoppers becoming bored of traditional forms of retail, pop-up stores are becoming increasingly popular by offering a holistic shopping experience that gets the shopper bang for their buck. The pop-up store hopes to be everything that a mall isn’t – unique and personal. Pop-up stores usually operate in collaboration with food stalls or other sellers and can be found in unique locations for a limited time. For would-be entrepreneurs the opportunity is unique too. You no longer need to win the Lotto to launch your own clothing label, as pop-up stores offer the entrepreneurs the opportunity to start small while building a personal relationship with customers. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day but they forget to add that neither was Louis Vuitton. So start small and ‘pop-up’, you never know where it might lead.
Do you know what the Pantone colour of the year is for 2014? Any takers? Well, if you are a trend forecaster then you would know that it is Radiant Orchid. In fact, you might have even predicted that in 2012 if you are really good at your job. Trend forecasters predict trends in fashion, decor and even food, and package their knowledge in such a way so that companies can capitalise on future trends. Being a good trend forecaster is a bit like being a good detective, you have to absorb information from a myriad of seemingly unrelated sources and then spot the links that will translate into the next big thing. So if you’re always muttering, “But I was wearing that trend years ago”, then maybe this is the job for you.
You might think that you don’t know the term, but you do. They come in many guises with the most popular combination of late reading something like this: model/actress/blogger. No longer satisfied with just one job, the slashie negotiates a variety of fields all before their evening yoga class. Partly born out of necessity stemming from a challenging job market, slashies are the modern interpretation of overachievers. However, some might argue that slashies merely represent the modern malaise known succinctly as “the inability to commit to anything”.
Reality Show Star
We laugh at them and dismiss their usually over-abundant stupidity, but these ‘stars’ are laughing all the way to the bank. Locally it is no different, with Mzansi celebs getting in on the action with reality shows such as Forever Young and Dineo’s Diary. It is difficult to call it a 9-to-5 job but that’s exactly the appeal. If your life is scandalous enough to win over the hearts of viewers you can establish a brand akin to the Kardashian empire of all things ‘K’.