Is your job spiraling into (un)planned obsolescence?

Yes, even in the financial services sector, robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will disrupt or eliminate your job. Here are the types of jobs that are at risk:

  1. Tasks that are simple and repetitious
  2. Job functions that can be done using an AI or Machine Learning algorithm.
  3. Jobs that involve data entry from disparate sources
  4. Tasks that provide reactive service versus proactive service
  5. Tasks that are designed to help others “wade” through complex processes
  6. Tasks that require a lot of iterative back-and-forth actions
  7. Functions that are a result of limited access by the end user

Suppose any portion, regardless of how small, involves any of these types of job functions. In that case, it is only a matter of time before they will be replaced by one or more emerging technologies and business processes. When I look at the current roles in a financial institution and ping them off of this list of seven tasks, I find many positions are at risk.

You have options in how you respond to this “threat.”

  1. You ignore these technologies are happening 
  2. You hope it doesn’t happen until you are gone

Looking at history, we will quickly realize these two options are unacceptable. When PBX machines took over for telephone operators, the operators found themselves out of a job. When factory workers watched robots taking over some of their duties on the assembly line, they soon found themselves out of work. When grocery cashiers watched their stores install self-service kiosks, they started to see the future of their job as cashiers. Now, in the financial services sector, we have sophisticated “ATMs” that can complete nearly every task previously required of a teller.

The following response options are probably more realistic.

  1. Become a life-long learner. What you learned when you started your job is very likely not what you will need to know in the future. Yes, artificial intelligence and machine learning cannot “think” for a person, but the algorithms of machine thinking are limited to thoughts absent of judgment. You must learn how to use your experiences and the experiences of others to improve your judgments in critical decisions and processes.
  2. Expand your learning. Look critically at your organization to discover what roles exist that are unlikely to be “machine learned.” Know that the job you were hired for may not be the job the organization will need in the future. Do not expect this effort to be the company’s problem; you must own your career path. To survive this technological revolution we are experiencing will require the employee to take it upon themselves to get the training and tools necessary to sustain. Sure, investigate with the boss ways you can get the training and tools you need to learn and grow, but if there is no budget or resource, you need to own this step.

The days of a “cradle to grave” employer are long gone. A successful employee today must seek their path and take the initiative to pursue it. If you find obstructions with your current employer or boss, it is up to you to explore other options. In today’s business world, we cannot allow ourselves to become victims of the technology revolution.

Remember, a career is a hero’s journey, and like any hero’s journey, you will need to face threats and obstacles and build alliances along the path. But, it will be upon you to use your brains and initiative to navigate this critical journey.

If you want to move into a leadership role, check out this Zoom class:


Rich Jones is the Founder/Principal of Leading2Leadership LLC. Before starting his strategic planning agency, he spent over 20 years in leadership roles in the financial services sector. Before becoming an executive in the financial services sector, Rich was an entrepreneur, building and selling two businesses and working for early-stage start-up companies in executive roles in marketing, business development, and seeking investment partners. With more than three decades of experience, he brings innovative thought to companies and executives. Rich published “Leading2Leadership, a Situational Primer to Leadership Excellence.” The book is available on and was designed to be used as a book study for leadership development programs; it breaks leadership skills into manageable situations for discussion and reflection. Rich works with credit unions, CUSOs, and vendors, designing digital, data, culture, marketing, and branding transformation strategies. In 2014, Chosen as a Credit Union Rock Star by CU Magazine, and in 2018, Rich received the Lifetime Achievement Award from CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. A Marine and graduate of Colorado State University, Jones shares his expertise at

Leave a Comment