Yes, There Are Still Jobs Out There for Pole Shavers, Gimp Tackers, and Bottom Nailers
Belly Rollers, Nut Sifters, and Fish Pitchers, despair not -- you're still needed, too.
September is off to a somewhat shaky start for some, with layoffs coming at Human Genome Sciences, which is planning to lay off 114 workers, three months after agreeing to be acquired by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK); Disney (DIS), which let 50 employees go from the interactive division; and Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. (MRX), which will be letting scores of staffers go (and possibly the company's founder, CEO, and chairman, Jonah Shacknai).
Still, 64.3% of Americans are currently employed, according to Bloomberg data. However, "Bad Jobs on the Rise," a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, maintains that almost 25% of American workers "are in a bad job."
A "bad job" is defined as "one that pays less than $37,000 per year, does not have employer-provided health insurance, and lacks some kind of retirement plan."
From the CEPR:
Victims of Progress
The main driver of the rise in bad jobs, the report argues, was the systematic decline in workers' bargaining power since the end of the 1970s. The reports' authors point to the fall in the inflation-adjusted value of the minimum wage, the decline in union representation, trade deals, and high unemployment as some of the key factors reducing the bargaining power of workers relative to their employers.
So, there are bad jobs and then there are the jobs that once were. On Labor Day, columnist John Kelly of the Washington Post "[paid] homage to those jobs that have disappeared."
"No, not those jobs that have been offshored or downsized," Kelly wrote, "not those jobs that were the victims of economic downturn, but those jobs that were the victims of progress."
The obsolete jobs were culled from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, published by the Department of Labor in 1939. There was Irish-Moss Gatherer and Grizzly Worker. Tipple Boss and Tufstayer. Rivet Flunky and Doup Fixer -- just some of those "that automation or our 'modern' ways have made obsolete."
Or have they?
Though the Dictionary transitioned from hard-copy to online-only in 1998, many of the same jobs people performed in 1939 (I'm looking at you, Circus Detective) still exist today. While "Human Projectile" needs no further explanation, the job descriptions for "Pole Shaver," "Cheese Cutter," "Box Nailer," and so forth can be found here.
And so, without further ado, per the modern-day Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Fourth Edition:
The "No, Seriously, These Job Titles Actually Exist, Too" List
The "Holy S**t, What in the Name of God Is a 'Cat Hooker'?" List
The "Holy S**t, Is a 'Cheese Cutter' What I Think It Is?" List
The "Wow, I've Never Met a Real, Live Raisin Washer Before!" List
HOT BOX OPERATOR
SKIN LIFTER, BACON
The "Wait a Second, There's Something Called a 'Smutter' in Corporate America?" List
SILENT BIT EXTRA
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