Humans are surprisingly good at adapting to change: The switch to telework is not the first of its kind. Since the early days of the industrial age, people were worried that the new technology would leave millions without jobs. Neoclassical economists predicted that this would not happen, because people would find other jobs — although after a long period of painful adjustment. That prediction largely proved to be correct.
Agriculture was the basic economic activity for the most of modern human history, dating back over ten thousand years ago all the way to Neolithic revolution, when people stopped hunting and started planting (rhyme unintended.) And, admittedly, farming is a lonely occupation: Most of the time, it’s just you and your family. And often much more than 40 hours of work per week. But people adjusted to that lifestyle, and then to the shift to industrial economy, and then the service economy, along with ongoing urbanization.
“If you’re not connecting with other people, then you’re isolated socially. And I don’t feel isolated out here. Part of that is having that sort of online community that I’m a part of. And part of that is just being happy where I am.”
Those are the words of a present-day lighthouse keeper (there are still some which are not automated): a very lonely job indeed, although probably much less lonely nowadays, compared to the early 18th century.
Back then, the job just appeared, and it required quite some adjustment and adaptation on the part of those who undertook it. As the main characters of "The Lighthouse,” a 2019 psychological horror film starring Robert Pattinson, know all too well, loneliness on the job can be devastating. (Although it should be said, they didn’t have neither TikTok nor online church services to keep them company.)