It always interested me to read up about the ice making industry in the 1900s. Did you know that the ice industry during that time was one of the most lucrative? It’s hard to believe now because of electronic refrigeration. But think about that time before refrigerators existed.
Ice used to be “harvested” from lakes in the early 1900s. Since no technology was capable of freezing water at that time, they had to get it from the true source during winter. You can just imagine how labor intensive that kind of work is. Dozens of men sawing ice 7 days a week? Not to mention the risk of freezing to death when they fall into the cold lake? That must be expensive to pay for.
True enough, ice harvesters during that time did a wage strike to justify their efforts of bringing ice to people who want to preserve their food and meat on a hot summer day.
That is the reason why the ice industry was lucrative. Imagine people probably wanting to go into that career to get a handsome compensation despite the risks and difficulty.
However, when the 1950’s happened, artificial freezing devices now known as “refrigerators” existed. And just at a snap came the death of the once lucrative ice industry.
What does this story say about your career?
Jobs and industries disappearing is real. It happened before, it can happen again. There is a need to shift from the mindset of being too attached to certain jobs and industries.
But there are silver linings. Just as how fast it disappears, so is the speed of bringing in new jobs in the market. Accepting the negative reality is healthy, but there will always be hope in the end. Think about the ice industry example. Afterwards, you can probably imagine the jobs the refrigerator industry produced for engineers.
Higher level jobs get produced eventually as an aftermath of cases like this. Experts would consider this a case of an advancing economy and an evolving human potential.
How do you make situations like this favorable to you?
Before anything, you have to know this — Don’t hold on to a job or a career. Hold on to a life purpose. A job and a career is only a means to achieving an ultimate life goal. Just like all material things, we shouldn’t be attached to these worldly things. It only helps in contributing to a better quality of life.
Think of the example of the ice harvesters, imagine them holding on to that job so bad because they think it’s the only thing that will sustain them forever. Then one day they woke up seeing that the industry died or that the job itself has ceased to exist. They may have questioned themselves, “So what now is the point of my life?” which is a painful and sad thing to say to oneself.
The answer, however, is to hold on to something bigger — purpose.
Find your deepest “why” and you will find an answer that will keep you going. Don’t get stuck in that mental dead end. Look for your life purpose so it can guide you.
Where can you start and what comes next after that?
Start asking yourself what you really want to achieve ultimately in your life. Many people have many answers. You might just be someone who wants to help alleviate poverty in your country. Or perhaps you’re just a simple guy with simple needs like someone who just wants to be an awesome dad one day.
In the example of you probably wanting to help reduce poverty, there are a lot of ways to plan out how to get there. Perhaps you want to teach your students to become more employable so that they can have a decent source of living. Maybe you want to start a business to create more jobs in the market. You might also want to become a politician who creates policies to improve the conditions of the job market.
Once you’ve decided on that, you can then reverse engineer the process to identify what skills and jobs are available in the market that you can work on and pursue. Getting to achieve your purpose might be a bumpy ride and you may never even get to meet it totally. But at the very least, know that making progress in it is enough. Besides, if it was too easy to achieve, wouldn’t you have another problem trying to figure out what your next life move is?
How do I make this mindset work for me?
There are many educational and inspirational resources you can consume even for free online and in overall digital media. If you would prefer tailor-made advice from an expert, I would suggest approaching someone like a career coach to do it. Regardless of who you approach, you will learn a lot from other professionals and their expert opinions. Just remember that you’re working to provide value to the world and yourself which means any means to do so is possible with the help of available resources in the market.