My job can’t be automated. Can yours?

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” – Theodore Roosevelt (The Cowboy President)

According to a report from the Brookings Institute, 25% of jobs are at high risk of automation. Among jobs that don’t require a bachelors degree, more than half are at risk.

The study added that it’s the “boring and repetitive” jobs that are going away.

Sadly, many people without college are the ones who do these low and middle wage jobs, and they still need to eat and feed their kids. When we talk about our “great economic recovery” they are often the ones who have fallen further behind instead of enjoying our much touted gains in the Dow and Nasdaq.

The next time we enter a recession, the process of automation is predicted to speed up as companies look for ways to slash costs. 

As gloomy as all of that sounds, it’s not news in many areas of the country where jobs have already been lost by the millions to automation over the last 20 years.

But what to do? The standard answer seems to be learn to code or get into technical school to learn a skill that’s predicted to be around for awhile. And that’s great advice, but it’s not for everybody and there are jobs going unfilled that can’t be done by machines.

Ever wonder what it’s like to work outside?

For example, machines cannot successfully put a saddle on my horse. They cannot discern the subtle clues that he may be getting sick, even though there is tech that can track his vital signs. Robots cannot put him in his stall in a sudden storm or clean his stall while he is in it. He will have none of that kind of new fangled and to his thinking, terrifying technology. He is as suspicious of robots as Dr. Smith in Lost in Space. 

There are somewhere between 7 and 10 million personalities just like his in the US alone, but he needs care that I am not always available to give him. I have other responsibilities that need my time and attention too. Yet his care matters to me more than I can describe with words. Yes, I pay for help. Very few owners have the skill or the time to do everything themselves.

And we aren’t just talking about horses. All livestock need human care to thrive in captivity. And for people who would rather be outside, then strapped to a desk writing code, or inside cleaning houses there’s an opportunity, especially outside the cities. And there’s free training available for folks who can find a few hours a week to volunteer.

Look for places in your area that rescue horses and other livestock or offer equine therapy. These non-profits need volunteers and are willing to train people in exchange for help. Sometimes those volunteer jobs can become paying jobs. But once you learn the skills, join us at Barn Hero ( and we’ll help you find paying gigs. 

There will always be farms needing help and there will always be a need for the human touch in horse care. Additionally, there are plenty of people out there who will always be willing to pay for the help we need to care for our animals. 

Maybe this isn’t the kind of work that interests you, but if your job is potentially at risk, now is a great time to reconsider your options. Once things change you could be forced to do what you must rather than choosing what you love.

Whenever possible, choose what you love.

5 ways to be a barn hero.

One afternoon, I called my husband from work in a panic. I told him: “The farrier called. He said Rocco just kicked him across the driveway 3 times! And I can’t leave to find out what’s wrong!”

He was pretty new to horses still and didn’t understand my concern. The thing is, Rocco had never been a problem for the farrier before, which meant something was causing him pain. He had enough pain to go on the fight during a routine procedure. Don’t even get me started about my irritation over the farrier pushing him to kick 3 times before calling me. That’s a rant for another post.

David told me not to worry. He could be there to meet the vet. I called him my hero and he responded, “That’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.”

A barn hero is a different kind of cape wearing, life saving friend than the usual variety of first responder. Our jobs and other obligations don’t always understand that what happens to our horses, happens to our hearts. But we do. And throughout a lifetime with horses, my barn heros have lived among my dearest friends and confidantes.

Here are a few ways to define a barn hero in my book. I’m sure there are more, but let’s start with these:

  1. Your neighbor who is always willing to throw feed and top off waters when you have to work late or take a kid to the ER.
  2. That perfect ranch hand who seems to know your horse isn’t acting right about a month before he stops eating and bites at his sides.
  3. Your fellow boarder with the trailer who always, always, always hitches up to get you to the vet in an emergency.
  4. The farm sitter who shows up with no notice because you have a family emergency out of town.
  5. The show groom who sees your number still hanging on the stall and runs it to the warm up arena before you’re even aware you don’t have it.

Some of these seem more critical than others, but the truth is, every one of the above is an important part of the village we need to help us exercise our horse obsession while managing the rest of our lives.

Let’s hear it for the barn heros!