50 jobs that no longer exist
As technology advances and processes become automated, naturally, some people that once held jobs that were considered essential may find themselves out of work. In the next decade in the United States, employment is expected to increase by 11.5 million, but it is also projected that manufacturing and federal government jobs will decline.
By 2030, about 800 million jobs could disappear due to automation, and in the United States alone, 39 million to 73 million jobs could become automated. However, the outlook isn't all bad—a McKinsey Global Institute study reports that just 5% of current jobs will be completely eliminated in the future if today's automation technology is adopted while most other jobs will only incorporate some aspects of automation.
Jobs have popped up and waned throughout the course of human history, and oftentimes, it has been for the better. After all, people no longer have to risk contracting diseases thanks to the invention of toilets, and medical research has advanced to the point where humans no longer have to guess a person's character traits based on the shape of their head.
Stacker has compiled a list of 50 jobs that are no longer hiring, and while some evoke nostalgia for the days before extensive technological advancements, others might suggest that mankind is better off today.
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In the mid-1800s when medical professionals believed that bloodletting could cure an illness or disease, leech collectors were responsible for retrieving the blood-sucking insects from their natural habitat for doctors to use. People with this job would use the legs of animals, or even their own legs, to attract leeches from rivers and creeks. Eventually, medical research advanced, and this profession became obsolete.
Long before the age of digital printing, linotype operators were responsible for arranging the hot-metal type on presses to publish printed newspapers. In the 1960s, faster phototypesetting, which required less-skilled workers, rapidly rendered linotype obsolete. Nowadays, the decline of print means all typesetting jobs are moving toward extinction.
Before there was the alarm clock, there was a human alarm clock. People would hire “knocker uppers” to tap on the glass of their window with a long pole or shoot peas at the glass to wake them up. The job eventually fell to the wayside when the mechanical alarm clock was invented in 1847.
In medieval England, the town crier would inform the townspeople of the latest news, proclamations, and other information, as most people were illiterate and were not able to read the news. After the town crier would read his message, he would post a notice on the door of a local inn—which is why some newspapers are referred to today as “The Post.”
Scissors grinders would sharpen scissors, knives, or other tools using an abrasive wheel, and would often go door to door performing the service. The practice became obsolete by the 1970s because most people found it easier and cheaper to buy new tools instead of sharpening their old ones. Today, some people refer to cicadas as scissors grinders because of the similar sound they produce.
In the 1930s, the government was concerned about the sharp rise in the deer population and hired professional deer cullers to hunt the deer and slow their spread. Government-funded culling went to the wayside in the 1970s with the rise of commercial hunting.
When reliable refrigeration and freezing didn't yet exist, ice cutters were tasked with cutting up the ice on frozen lakes. To do this, they would score the ice and then use a horse-powered device to cut the ice block free. However, this was a dangerous job—not only did it come with biting weather that cultivated frostbite, ice cutters and their horses also faced the danger of falling into the bone-chilling waters. Thankfully, mechanical refrigeration came about in the 1930s and this job became obsolete.
The practice of employing people to taste the food for a member of a royal family or an important figure to ensure that the food wasn't poisoned dates back to ancient Egypt and ancient Rome. Several chemicals can be used to poison people, but only cyanide can kill a person within minutes. Other poisons take time to show effects, and most royals weren't keen on waiting days to eat a meal just to see if the food taster would end up ill.
As modern medical science grew into a true profession in the 18th century, so too did demand for corpses. Medical students and practicing anatomists needed bodies to dissect to learn the inner workings of the human body. Resurrectionists were all too happy to oblige, digging up freshly buried bodies and delivering them, for a fee of course, to medical colleges and doctor's offices.
Cigarette or cigar girls worked at bars and clubs beginning in the 1920s. They would usually sport a pillbox hat and a tray around their neck with a selection of cigarettes for patrons to purchase. The cigarette girl became a popular cultural icon, and by the 1950s, cigarette girls could also be found at sporting events. However, as Americans' attitudes toward smoking changed, she became a thing of the past.