A man named Sam Rosenbaum launched the self-service gas station in Omaha, Nebraska in 1958. That "fun fact" fuels the question; what ever happened to gas station attendants?
How about this? When was the last time you called a travel agent in order to make travel plans?
Imagine you're driving down the road and you pull up to a toll booth. Is there anybody there? People ride elevators every day, but when was the last time an elevator operator asked you which floor you wanted? (Ask some older folks and they'll tell you about it.) If you've ever gone to your favorite bowling alley, did you know that the bowling pins used to be set up by someone called a pinsetter? Not anymore!
Sometimes it seems as though the machines have taken over.
According to a 2011 article published on CNN.com, The U.S. Postal Service appears to be the latest casualty in digital technology's slow but steady replacement of working humans. Unless an external source of funding comes in, the post office will have to scale back its operations drastically or simply shut down altogether. That's 600,000 people who would be out of work, and another 480,000 pensioners facing an adjustment in terms.
If technology is not the reason, maybe our career choices need added attention.
I remember attending a hiring conference aimed at recruiting Junior Military Officers (JMOs of the ranks between O-1 and O-3) back in the early 1990s. At that time, several companies within the pharmaceutical industry such as; Pfizer, Merck, and Bristol Myers Squibb snatched up JMOs faster than kids grabbing eggs at an Easter Egg Hunt. This year, I spoke with a JMO who had just attended a recent hiring conference and he said that not a single pharmaceutical company was in attendance! (Truth be told, one was scheduled to attend and cancelled on him!) Times have changed. Many industries called hot in recent years have cooled down a lot.
You just never know when certain career choices begin to fall out of favor. Whether or not you can identify the root cause or the culprit, your future career choice must be made carefully! Choosing a career that's bound to last for the long haul can be tough. You need to research this carefully before deciding what career is best for you.
Here's what you can do:
Maybe you'll be the one to figure out how to keep more jobs available for everyone. Then we can stop asking "What ever happened to...?"
To learn more about some obsolete careers such as the elevator operator mentioned earlier, check out Careerbuilder.com Writer Rachel Farrell's article on 10 Obsolete Jobs We Love.
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