Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Jobs That No Longer Exist

Before the so-called "war on coal," there were a lot of jobs that were going away as a result of the onward march of invention and technology. An interesting article I saw recently on Dusty Old Thing listed Ten Jobs That No Longer Exist ... you can read the whole list for yourself at the site, but I thought these ones were especially interesting:

Telephone Operator. Nowadays, all your calls are automatically switched. Telephone operators exist only in songs by Jim Croce and Manhattan Transfer. Sigh.

Gandy Dancer. No, not someone you'd see on Dancing with the Stars. A gandy dancer was a railroad track maintenance worker in the days before specialized automatic track laying and repair machines. I remember seeing a Blondie cartoon years ago in which Dagwood was showing his children photos of distant relations in the Bumstead family, one of whom was a cousin whose business had failed ... he "sold steel-toed sneakers to gandy dancers." Now I understand the joke.

Radio Actor. I think this one is sad. I love old-time radio programs, and often listen to the classic shows played on The Big Broadcast every Sunday night on my local NPR station. Radio comedy and drama exercise the imagination as nothing else does (well, except reading, but work with me, here, okay). I had my own radio program for nine years, and loved the adventure of putting each show together and doing my own sound effects.

Lamplighter. In the days before electric lighting, there were people who went through the cities lighting the candles or the oil and gas lights. Today, we don't have lamplighters, we have gaslighters, and some of us elect them to office.

Milk Man. I remember when the fellow from Otto's Suburban Dairy delivered our milk right to the insulated box at the back door. I'm really dating myself, here.

Food Safety Tester. Well, you certainly wouldn't find any of those in the Trump-era FDA, even if they were still around. What a useless interference by an overbearing government in the affairs of business!

And there's one more interesting job that doesn't exist any more, this one from a somewhat longer article on the same topic in GoodHousekeeping.com -

Gong Farmer. A gong farmer* was a person who dug out and removed human waste from privies and cesspits before the advent of modern sewage systems. We don't have traditional gong farmers nowadays, other than those engaged in conducting opposition research in political campaigns.

I guess there are some jobs even Donald Trump can't bring back.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* Linguistic note: "Gong" as used in this expression is derived from the Old English word "gang," which means "to go," and is in turn derived from the German verb "gehen" ("to go"), the past tense of which is "ging."


Gonzo Dave said...

I had a summer job as a milkman one summer during my college years. It was fun! (Except when the truck broke down...)

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Gandy dancer - like a taxi dancer?

Wow! And I was a once barista!

Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer said...

Telegraph operator is surely a dated job title.

Mike said...

I remember seeing a picture of a gong farmer in India. He was standing waste deep in sewage (no protective clothing) with a big smile on his face. I guess he was just happy to have a job.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Here is how old I am - as a kid I had a job at an answering service as a PBX operator...think of Lily Tomlin on Laugh In.

UplayOnline said...

It was fun! (Except when the truck broke down...)