8 jobs we did that are disappearing faster than ever 162



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Funny to think how much careers have changed since the old days.  Remember telephone operators, typing pool ladies, service station attendants?  All of these seem like distant memories don’t they. And now it seems there is a new wave of jobs in decline with today’s changing world.

There’s a new survey out in the US identifying the 200 occupations in the world that are changing significantly, and the ones in decline are certainly the most interesting.  The survey shows a world that is rapidly evolving and a whole lot of jobs we used to do that are, quite frankly, just disappearing.  The CareerCast survey has identified the “worst jobs” of 2015, and the highlights from the list of careers we see in similar decline in Australia are…

1.  Newspaper Reporter:  “Readership has steadily moved from print publications, whether they be newspapers or magazines, in favour of online outlets. The resulting decline in advertising revenue has left newspapers — and thus, newspaper reporters — feeling the pinch.”  Salaries are definitely on the decline and satisfaction is simply unavailable in many newspapers today.  It is a far cry from the era where the newsroom was one of the most glamorous and exciting places to work in the world.

2.  Timber worker/Lumberjack: With the death of print, so comes a challenging career for lumberjacks who are seeing the logging industry become very volatile.   “Employment is tied to need in construction and publishing, two sectors that suffered significant declines in the last 5-10 years.”

3.  Military:   Becoming enlisted military personnel means facing danger and high stress. There is no doubt it as a primary career path is less desirable than it has been.

4.  Chef: It might look glamorous on TV cooking shows, but the actual job of a chef is becoming less and less appealing it seems.  “Working as a cook is hot figuratively from the high stress of meeting patrons’ demands quickly, and literally. Of course, it can also be cool — trips to the icy storage freezer are sometimes the only break a cook gets from the sweltering heat of the kitchen.”

5.  Broadcaster:  Media is changing, rapidly, and with it, stresses are being placed on broadcast careers to be metrically driven and content is being shared across larger and larger networks making jobs more and more scarce.  “A competitive marketplace has been made only more so in recent years, with outlets opting for syndicated broadcast content.  For those who are able to find full-time work in broadcasting, success requires a high threshold for stress.”

6.  Photojournalist: A previously crucial part of the media industry, the photo journalist is a passion-career these days now everyone carries a mobile phone with a camera and the ability to share those images.  “The profession faces many of the same challenges as newspaper reporters, thanks to the decline of print outlets. Meanwhile, online publications contract out to syndicating services rather than hire full-time photojournalists.”

7.  Taxi Driver: It seems no one really wants to be a taxi driver anymore, and with the rise of ride-sharing apps like Uber, the reasons are fewer and fewer to become one.  They’re high stress jobs, where you have to deal with drunks, rude people and violence regularly and the upside in pay simply isn’t there.

8.  Mail Carrier: Who sends mail anymore anyway I hear you ask.  As we get more and more comfortable with email, social media and the Internet, mail simply goes away.  This is the career with the worst ten year growth outlook in the report.

The same report listed the jobs that were most endangered with a ratio of how the career was expected to grow in the next ten years:

• Mail carrier: minus 28 per cent

• Meter reader: minus 19 per cent

• Farmer: minus 19 per cent

• Newspaper reporter: minus 13 per cent

• Jeweller: minus 10 per cent

• Logging worker: minus 9 per cent

• Flight attendant: minus 7 per cent

• Drill-press operator: minus 6 per cent

• Insurance underwriter: minus 6 per cent

• Seamstress/tailor: minus 4 per cent


Have you had one of these jobs?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. My first job was in a typing pool and I loved it. Sort of a step up from being in a classroom and you got paid!!

  2. yes i was in a typing pool job at the age of 16 earning 17 dollars a week thought i was rich how times have changed i am 63 and i often think of those days

    3 REPLY
    • Me too (typing pool). I was a Girl Friday before that. When I was in the CPS, I remember my fortnightly pay (in cash!) going over $100. I was stunned to be earning so much.

    • thats how i started out doing the filing running the mail answering the phone oh the good old days julia

    • do remember the double decker buses with the conductor i used to always go to the 2nd level when we went to the city

  3. jobs I see most in danger are Travel Consultant, I mean we all do it on line now dont we? Printers, with the advent of home printers it is an almost obsolete trade.I dont agree with Mail deliverers, on line ordering has started a wave of deliverys for parcels etc, maybe no more letters.

    4 REPLY
    • Yes ive just bought my tickets and accomadation with travel agency as I walked away I thought the very same thing but I love not having to worry about the “best price”and venues

    • Barbara, no doubt in many cases you are quite right, but my daughter travels overseas 3 times a year. She loves her travel agent. She gets such good advice once she had decided her destination. She researches all her trips on line, works out what she wants to do, then heads for her agent to fine tune the trip. She has just returned from Hungry and Turkey and earlier in the year from Russia. They used to chase white Christmases, but now have Christmas in the Cook Islands, as this is their fall down and rest holiday. She says as far as she’s concerned a good travel agent is indispensable.

  4. Wasn’t it great to drive into a service station and have a friendly fellow come and fill the petrol, check water and oil, clean the windscreen, and you just sat n the car….as an elderly woman I yearn for those days.

    7 REPLY
    • Marie, self service petrol came to our town in 1981. My husband said sneeringly that I’d be overflowing petrol and ruining the paint. I just nodded meekly and said “Yes dear. You’d better do it” and from that day to this, I have NEVER put fuel in any car, can, lawnmower, lighting plant, or line trimmer. Nor do I refill any gas items. I’m too dumb! Mind you, in 34 years, I’ve never paid for any fuel either….. and he thinks I’m dumb? 😉

    • Way to go Leone O’Sullivan i did the same but when my hubby passed away i had to do all of that myself & it would be nice to have service station attendants back again plus it would create jobs & it would stop people filling up & getting back in their cars & doing a runner.

    • We still have this in Marina del Rey CA. It costs bit more but they check everything.

    • That was my first job out of school as my parents had a service station. Loved it & this is where my customer service skills were learnt. Now 40+ yrs on find myself working in a call centre where those skills are re-used..but more structured.

    • We still have driveway service at our service station, all done with a smile. I guess that is one of the advantages of living in a small town.

  5. My first job was as a typist for a Law firm. You didn’t need a Uni education just good typing speed, excellent spelling qualifications and a smattering of shorthand. You didn’t even require a reference back in the day. You were taken at your word.

  6. I worked in the Counting House in Myer when I was very young after graduating from the typing pool. I liked having conductors on the trams, I liked when I rang a company I got to speak to a person. I liked when I entered a shop I got instant friendly service. I liked when the telephonist on the party line would tell you so and so wasn’t home or fill you in on the latest gossip. Of if the party line was constantly engaged you could yell at the person hogging the line to bloody get off and give someone else a go!! If you picked up the phone and heard talking, you hung up immediately because it was manners to do so, but…., some didn’t. Technology has replaced humans. They said, way back when, that robots would take over the world! Oh how we laughed!!!

    6 REPLY
    • Yes, yes, yes! That was service! They took your money and brought out your change! You can’t call them service stations anymore. There is no service! I hate everything self serve!!!

    • There are still some (country) “service stations” that fill the tank and do the air. One I go to when travelling to Melbourne three or four times a year even remember my name and use it.

    • Faye, that’s great. We have one here at Bittern that fill the car for you. The lady always has a smile. The only thing is if I’m heading to Balnarring I can fill up there but generally I’m going in the other direction. We used to live in Crib Point and got our fuel there all the time. With osteoarthritis in my hands filling the car with fuel is my pet hate. It seems we don’t get service anywhere now.

  7. The good old days……yes, miss them. Still, we have to progress with the times whether we like it or not. No doubt our parents were horrified when phones were introduced…..my mum held it about 2 feet from her ear…and upside down! I thought the telex machine was so wonderful, with all that tape billowing out with my message to the Emirates on it! I miss good old conversation most of all; however, text messages and emails are great when you don’t wish to talk to people direct, although can be badly misconstrued.

  8. Ive also heard serious discussions regarding many driving jobs (including truck) as remote technology leads to more driver-less vehicles.

    1 REPLY
    • It’s not just a dream or rumour any more. We have driverless trucks and cars on the road now. There is a “Driver” on board who can take control but he/she can get up and make a tea or coffee while vehicle carries on with the job. It will mean a lot of jobs gone but it will also mean a lot of lethal idiots being in control of Juggernauts thundering along at very high speeds. Could mean a big fall in Methamphetamine sales as well. I am sorry for the good honest drivers whose reputation is spoiled by those who use drugs or lies to beat the log book laws but it will reduce the number of accidents caused by drivers of all sorts falling asleep. I hope I can afford a self driving car. It sounds like a dream come true to me.

  9. I started my working life as a 17 year old in the mail room for a building society in Collins Street, Melbourne and I took great pride in setting up the Roneo ink printer and printing hundreds of information sheets from one stencil and after six months of proving myself I was promoted to the typing pool where we sat at desks one behind the other and just kept pounding out the work.

  10. Remember the paper boy? The milkman? The baker with his horse and cart? All the jobs in the past are now memories

    3 REPLY
    • I have wonderful memories as a child, my dad delivered bread on a horse & cart & i would go for a ride with him it was great fun.

    • Oh yes, our baker Jack with his horse and cart came around all my childhood days. Still coming when I married and moved away. He was the last baker in Newcastle with his horse and cart, when he retired. Lovely man.

    • The Baker’s horse knew where to stop and where to go. Then other the job was the Garbo’s. They ran up and down and back and forth with the the garbage bins. So much energy

      1 REPLY
      • Did Aussie have the “Night Cart” to collect the human waste before septic tanks, long drops or sewage systems became the norm. What an awful job that must have been but the person doing the collection must have been real fit. Would run up the path with empty can on shoulders, handles clanging so if you were in the “Dunny” you knew to get out fast. I remember that still being in operation in 1964 in parts on NZ. Not out in the country either. We lived in a so called tourist attractive town called Whakatane. Should be known to many ex pats!!

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