As society changes, so does what society needs. Some things that we couldn’t live without a century ago, don’t really make much sense in the world we live in today. And with everything that disappears, so does a job that made that specific thing work.
It’s weird to look back at history and see how things we now deem obvious and commonplace were once a rare commodity or simply non-existent. And since technology will only move forward, we’ll see many more jobs disappearing in the near and distant future. But for now, let’s look in the other direction of the timeline and see which jobs have disappeared over the years.
While we now have computers to do our calculating for us, a computer used to be an actual human that did nothing all day but make calculations. NASA famously used them not even sixty years ago, so this is certainly one field of technology where we’ve made astounding progress, but it did cost the jobs of many talented and brilliant people.
At one time, we didn’t really have alarm clocks. And since mostly everyone worked in factories, people still had to get up early to get to work. The ideal-at-the-time solution for this was a “knocker upper”, who did nothing else but tap people’s windows with a stick whenever it was time for them to wake up. I have no idea how this specific technique dealt with people that have their bedroom at the back of their house.
Ancient Egypt has always had a bit of a posh side to it, and this job is no different. If you were someone of standing in Egypt, you were entitled to a sandal bearer – who did nothing else but carry your sandals around and wash your feet. While we know sandal bearers existed, we still aren’t quite sure what their actual status was in society.