When Jobs Become Commodities

Even if your job is high paying, it is wise to ask yourself whether it is common and repetitive enough to be done by a machine. If you conclude that it is, it’s time to look for — or create — less commoditized work.

We don’t typically think of the jobs that we perform as commodities. The Merriam-Webster dictionary entry for commodity describes it as “a mass-produced unspecialized product.” But most of us view our jobs as specialized or somehow differentiated. We typically believe that we do them differently, and often better, than anyone else with the same job. In fact, we’d probably argue that no one does exactly the same job we do — that we perform at least a slightly different ...

Get Coaching for High Performance now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.