How To Take Orders From A Robot, And Other Career Survival Tips In The AI Workplace


Both HR leaders and employees are expecting more AI (Artificial Intelligence) coming to the workplace.  A new AI-at-work study conducted by Oracle and Future Workplacesurveyed 1,320 U.S. HR leaders and employees and found that people are ready to embrace AI at work, but feel organizations are not doing enough to help their employees take advantage of AI. If AI is coming and companies are not helping employees cope, then the burden is on you to build your career to survive and thrive in the AI workplace.

If you believe that AI will automate many jobs away, then you need to strengthen your unique skills and expertise to better compete in the AI job market. I covered three strategies for career-building in a future without jobs in an earlier post. If you’re gainfully employed and want to maximize the AI trends that are coming to your employer, here are five career survival tips for building on the trends identified in the Oracle and Future Workplace study:

Stay flexible in how you manage up

 93% [of employees] would trust orders from a robot. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If AI truly arrives, you may be managed by a robot! More likely for now, you may find more technical colleagues taking management slots, as technology expertise becomes increasingly valued. Either way, there will be management shifts as companies start incorporating AI and working differently, so don’t get too accustomed to any one management style

Survival tip: Whenever you have a change in management (or even if it’s been a while since you’re connected with your current manager), ask your manager specifically how they like to communicate – how frequently, in what format, which report does s/he like to receive. Do not assume that your manager will tell you what s/he expects. Do not assume your manager shares your same communication preferences.

Be ready to change systems and processes

…when asked about the biggest benefit of AI, HR leaders and employees both said increased productivity. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If AI truly delivers on its promise of increased productivity, then companies can do more with less, and your role will change, if not be eliminated entirely. As this productivity transition takes place, the systems and processes of your work will change, and you’ll need to adapt. Just like you shouldn’t get too accustomed to one type of manager, you also don’t want to be stuck on one way of working.

Survival tip: Pay attention to changes in your company’s systems and processes. Change can benefit you if you become an expert in the new technology, or if you are able to exploit the new systems and processes to get even better results. You need to recognize and embrace the changes, if you want to stay relevant.

Create your own training curriculum

72% of HR leaders noted that their organization does not provide any form of AI training program.  – Oracle and Future Workplace study

It would be nice if companies provided training and support when changes occur, but even apart from AI, companies don’t always invest in the learning and development of their employees.

Survival tip: Find out what training your company does offer and take advantage of it. But be prepared to create your own training curriculum. If you’re interested in AI specifically, find out who within your company is working on these initiatives and offer your help. At the very least, this person or group can make suggestions on blogs and other resources you can study to get more knowledgeable about AI for your role specifically.

Become indispensable to your employer and industry

Respondents identified reduced productivity, skillset obsolescence and job loss as the top three consequences of failing to embrace AI. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

When companies change how they do business, whether due to AI or another innovation, results will be measured differently, different skills take priority and different roles emerge (with some roles eliminated). You want to be flexible to management shifts, change systems and processes as needed, and get trained on the new skills and expertise you’ll need (hence survival tips 1-3 above). You also want to clarify what your employer needs and ensure you are involved in meeting that need. This way, you become indispensable to your company’s success.

Survival tip: Confirm how your employer stays in business and grows its business, and pay attention to changes in strategy . You may have been indispensable before because you focused on a particular market or client, but now AI has made that market less important or has taken over your key client. Are you still contributing to the bottom line? Are you still working on a priority area for the company? There are different ways you can become indispensable to your employer – make sure you are still indispensable despite changes in management, systems, processes, and requirements.

Don’t panic – you have time to adapt

While 70% of people are using some form of AI in their personal life, only 6% of HR professionals are actively deploying AI and only 24% of employees are currently using some form of AI at work. – Oracle and Future Workplace study

If 93% of people are ready to take orders from a robot but only 6% of HR professionals are actively deploying AI, then there’s a disconnect between expectation and reality. This doesn’t mean change isn’t happening, or that when it becomes the norm it won’t feel disruptive, but clearly you have time to adapt.

Survival tip: Set reminders now to implement your career survival plan so you don’t get complacent but also so you can pace what you’re trying to accomplish in achievable chunks. Next week you can check with your training department on offerings. If you have already identified a new system you want to learn, set aside an hour to find a class or to work with a colleague who is willing to train you. Book a meeting with your manager to confirm how s/he likes to communicate and to learn about upcoming initiatives in the pipeline. Don’t get complacent, but don’t panic either.


Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career change expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart. Her latest career change is running

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