7 Jobs That No Longer Exist

October 30, 2017


Workplace Injuries


Ayla Dolan-Evans


Did you know your ancestors binged on soap operas before TV even existed? Or how the world worked before alarm clocks?

With modern technology constantly progressing in leaps and bounds it’s little wonder that there are a number of jobs that have become obsolete.

We’ve found 7 jobs that once were a big part of society but now no longer exist - from the kooky to the downright spooky. We’ll bet there’s a couple you’ve never heard of!

You won't find these on Seek

1: Human Alarm Clock

Ever wonder how people got to work on time before alarm clocks? “Knocker-uppers” were early-rising men who were hired to ferociously tap their clients windows to wake them at a specific time daily. Failing that, they would bellow at the top of their lungs until they succeeded in their task. Potentially an even more annoying way to wake up than those multiple iPhone alarms you snooze every morning! But it does beg the question, who woke up the human alarm clock?

2: Bowling Alley Pinsetter

Pinsetters placing bowling pins on bowling alleys

Before child labour laws, small children were put to use constantly reassembling bowling pins for patrons. They would stand on the edges of the alley to avoid being bowled over themselves. Thanks to modern technology and labour laws children no longer have to perform this tiresome task - and we can bowl down the gutter without embarrassment!

3: Milkman

Before refrigerators (or veganism) existed each household received a daily delivery of glass bottles full of fresh milk. The Milkman would occasionally also deliver eggs, butter and cream. Now with modern refrigeration we can take our time getting through milk, but home delivery sounds quite nicer than the last minute dash to the store in pyjamas.

4: Resurrectionist

Cemetery tombstones

As irksome as the title suggests, a resurrectionist was commissioned by 18th and 19th century medical schools to dig up dead bodies from graveyards for experiments and testing. The discreet and eerie job was suitable for unqualified men that wanted to make quick cash - ppe and strong stomach required! The practice died out due to the unethical and illegal nature of the body collections paired with an increase of people willingly donating their bodies to science.

5: Food Safety Testers

Being a food tester doesn’t sound like the worst profession... but before healthy and safety regulations it was a dangerous business. In previous times, food producers would put anything into their items without any standards to adhere to. Food Safety Testers would try products to ensure they were okay for consumption - as an employee you’d be playing Russian roulette, dreading the shift when you’ll eventually test a bad batch. Luckily with strict regulations and clear labelling on foods we now know exactly what we are consuming - not that it stops us from eating a whole pack of Tim Tams.

6: Elevator Operator

Female elevator operators lined up

Did you know that elevators originally couldn’t be controlled by the push of a button? Elevator Operating was an essential role up until technological advances allowed for patrons to control the lift themselves in the 1950s. Elevators had to literally be driven, with the operator controlling the direction, speed, doors and stopping!

7: Radio Actors

Once upon a time you didn’t need to look like Brad Pitt or Jennifer Lawrence to be a professional actor. Before the television was invented, people tuned into their favourite soap operas on their radio sets! Radio actors would vocally act out dramatic or comical scenes for listeners to enjoy - a practice apparently just as addictive as binge watching your favourite Netflix series. Unfortunately for these radio stars technology progressed and the world fell in love with the screen.

It’s incredible how strange these jobs seem to us, however, in their hey-day they were needed!

As technology continues to rapidly grow we wonder what common jobs in 2017 will one day not exist?

Ayla Dolan-Evans

Ayla is a Brisbane based communications professional and writer. She focusses on workplace health and safety and legal issues.

Ayla is a Brisbane based communications professional and writer. She focusses on workplace health and safety and legal issues.