There are lots of experts out there talking about the hot jobs for the next decade. With obesity and diabetes at near epidemic levels, healthcare is an obvious good choice. Anything involved with green technologies is also a smart option for anyone just starting out or currently in career transition.
However, today I wanted to reflect on the jobs and careers that have disappeared since I started working in the late 1980s. Thanks to improvements in technology, the changing economy, and cultural shifts, there are many careers that have simply gone by the wayside. From travel agents and milkmen to video shop clerks and gas pumpers, the list of these positions is quite long. Interestingly, I worked my fair share of these dinosaur jobs before starting my career. Here are the five jobs that I’m not embarrassed to say I was paid for which have all but gone bye-bye.
While in high school, I worked at the County Office of Education in the General Services Department. This is where the mail was sorted, documents were printed, and the phones were answered. I learned how to answer the cumbersome PBX switchboard and transfer calls like a pro. Now, this job is automated, and it’s rare to connect with a real human being.
At the County Office, I also sorted letters and packages and pushed the mail cart through the office several times a day delivering memos and bits of information that employees required to do their jobs. Now, this information is sent via email or instant message.
Customer Service Representative
I worked part-time in college as a customer service representative for a large sporting good manufacturer. Taking orders, handling irate customers, and solving day-to-day problems – jobs like these have been outsourced to other countries where labor is cheap and available around the clock.
Data Entry Clerk
I was good and fast at 10-key and plugging in data on a terminal, but probably not as error proof as a computer. In order to prevent human goof-ups and streamline processes, most companies have nixed data entry personnel in favor of systems that aggregate data and share it across programs.
Corn Dog Fryer
I couldn’t neglect to mention my very first job frying corn dogs at Marine World Africa USA in Redwood Shores California. I couldn’t stand the smell, so I only lasted a day. However, I can’t imagine that too many people are still eating these horribly unhealthy delicacies. Even if they are, Marine World is no longer there. They tore down the place, and it became the headquarters for Oracle. Sad but true!