1960s, Culture, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Rotten Jobs Of 1967

Tired of cashing your unemployment check and sitting on your bum all day? That sounds amazing, actually, but I imagine it could get old. And who cashes checks anymore anyway? We don’t even have coins. Well, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who aren’t working these days, and you’ve grown weary of looting and blinding officers with lasers and toppling statues (Frederick Douglass, included–seriously, y’all?), I present to you some options that may or may not be essential, but you’re better off without them.

all images from Nat Geo 6/67

Numero uno: mining. Nevermind the grime or the chafing overalls or even the soggy lunch pail egg sandwich; the worst part was the community shower at Orient No.3 Mine near Waltonville, Illinois. Are we still allowed to say Orient? Anyway, these guys deserved double overtime. You think your cubicle stinks? Try spending half a day 800 feet below the ground, extracting bituminous coal. Pass.

You might think those miners would give their right pinky toe to trade places with this next lady, spending all day in the sea air, mending the nets of her fishermen husband, but it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It exacerbates (if not induces) rheumatoid arthritis, offers the agreeable company of no one, save an errant and greedy seagull, has zero promotion, and requires solid maintenance of sturdy prescription readers.

Next: kidnapping a blind shoeshine man and taking him to Florida to experience the joy of green turtle hatchlings frantically peddling to the sea for their first swim. Terrible pay and no travel reimbursement. Possibly illegal.

Numero quatro: feeding and hefting an endless procession of magazines at the RR Donnelley & Sons commercial printing firm in Chicago. Despite the boss cap, gloves, and jacket, the tasks were backbreaking and tedious. Presses printed more than half a million pages an hour. If stacked atop each other, a single month’s press would tower over 27 miles high, or the same amount of miles it would take to hit the gas and drive from Chicago to Munster, IN, where the amount of vandalism and arson is considerably lower.


And lastly, a job that requires both creativity and compassion: talking people off a cliff.

That might seem like a job better suited for 1967 than 2020, as we have any number of reasons to hurl our bodies over the edge these days, but 1967 was a time of civil unrest. Sure, RFK and MLK had yet to be assassinated, but the nation was reeling from the loss of young men in Vietnam and plagued by riots and demonstrations of its own.

In any event, somebody had to man the cliffs like a modern-day second class angel Clarence to the handful of would-be bridgejumping George Baileys. Sometimes it could be hard to determine which park visitor was there to appreciate fall foliage, and which one was there to give up the ghost. However, bonuses were fresh, clean air and a view.

Let us now pause and be jealous of John Harrison, who has arguably one of the best jobs on the planet, as a Dreyer’s ice cream “tastemaster.” Spending four to five hours a day, sampling 20 different flavors, one understands why he has kept the job for 30 years. And no, he doesn’t use a wooden spoon, as that would distort his tastebuds. Nay, he has a gold-plated spoon (and those buds are insured for a million buckaroos, per payscale.com). Now back to work.

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1920s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

Last Of The Labor

Welcome back to more ways to be grateful that we live in the air-conditioned world of 2019. We have spent the week, diving into the classified ads of old Cyprus. Let’s cleanse our palate with ladies on looms or doing needlework.

Nat Geo July 1928

Clothes were important, especially for these deacons in the courtyard of Kykko Monastery, which had fancy new electric lights.

This fine figure was the prelate (not the pre-early) of the Myrtou monastery dedicated to Saint Panteleimon (not pantemime), where he presided as bishop. As to what he is holding, do not ask me.

Less impressive garb was worn by the mountain maids of Platres, a popular summer resort.

The clothes of this young girl working in the bakery seem festive and refined.

But this toddler had the best job of all, grabbing the rear saddle handlebars as she rode her donkey backwards. “Away from Cyprus, mule! Let us be gone!”

1920s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Travel, Vintage

Cypriote Labor

Nat Geo July 1928

Yesterday, we got a taste of the laborious jobs on the island of Cyprus in 1928. But one post could not do the many jobs justice.

The men below are taking a reprieve from sacking, weighing, and carrying heavy bags of carob pods. Carob is the nasty chocolate substitute that my folks made me eat from Whole Foods. No wonder it was so expensive. Most of this crop went to England, France, Spain and Egypt to feed cattle. What? Yes, for energy-rich fiber. But some of it was made into sweets and syrup.

Understandably, men’s work differed from women’s work, though both wore them down. In front of this dyeshop hung with yarn dyed a deep blue for men’s trousers, this elderly woman spins yet more yarn. The trousers had full seats that were tucked into the belt for cross-country walking.

Speaking of walking, here we see another baker (similar to yesterday’s baker), carrying an entire bread counter on his shoulders.

If you didn’t like carrying, you could spend the day tossing, like this man and boy at a Famagusta pottery pile. The ones he neglected to catch would up in the dovecote.

The broken jars became shelters for doves, who made their way into lore in the tale of the Cypriote king who kept himself cool by causing doves to flutter around him. This was before boxed fans.

If you looked like a Mediterranean Charlie Chaplin, you might find yourself in this job, where another version of Chaplin scrunched down inside a kiln.

There they fired oil, wine, and water jars. I would suggest a pair of shoes.

This might be hard to detect against the backdrop of the Sea Gate Tower, part of the city’s Venetian fortification, but here we see a two-man sawmill.

That kind of work calls for Gatorade. But that wouldn’t be invented till ’65.

Join us tomorrow for yet more fun and fabulous career choices! I leave you with this image of a 12-year-old on her day off from breaking rocks, enjoying a day of rest.

1920s, Culture, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Cyprus Classifieds

Finding work in 2019 can be a problem. Otherwise, I’d be working right now and not typing up a free blog post. But the Craigslist jobs of today pale in comparison to the backbreaking jobs available in the country of Cyprus in 1928.

First off, we have the arduous task of rockbearing. Don’t let the smiles fool you; as soon as the sun went down, they were off to the local chiropractor and physical therapist to straighten up those spines.

Nat Geo July 1928

For those of you who enjoy being bent over all day (but don’t like transporting rocks), consider washing laundry with your feet, like the women of Kalopanayiotis traditionally do. Bonus duty: using a paddle to bludgeon the water out of the clothes.

Helene and her mother seem to have found a more suitable alternative to leaning forward. However, they were only briefly upright for the picture, as their job entailed breaking rocks to make them usable for road work.

This farmer may have found the best seat in town, seated on his sledge as the oxen move forward. The children serve as makeweights.

While none of these jobs seem to be pleasurable in any way, the next one offers gluteny fruits of one’s labors. The “itinerant Cypriote bakery” must delight all those who encounter it–despite the dust, flies, and stray dark hairs of the baker who made it. If nothing else, he clearly has the best work uniform among the bunch.

Tomorrow, we’ll peruse yet more want-ads of the Cyprus papers, and perhaps you can find your niche!

1940s, Culture, Fun, Funny, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Take These Jobs And Shove Them

Look At America

I’ve my thrown my back out several times both sneezing and stepping off curbs the wrong way. I am not cut out to drive logs on the Swift Diamond River in New Hampshire, like these fellows. I am weak.

Nor can I tug wagons o’ tires.

Phillip Gendreau

When rubber came to Ohio in 1910, Akron became a boom city, and guys like this were able to breathe rubber fumes all day.

Here’s another job I can’t do due to my fear of heights. Is he washing windows? Is he scaling the sides of buildings to fulfill a male superhero fantasy? All I know is that was 40 years ago, and he ain’t doing it now.

1979 Cactus

And the last job I wouldn’t want: naked bakery boy.

Nat Geo 12/49

It’s not because I’m uppity or that I don’t love gluten, because I loves me some glutenny gluten. But I would need an apron. And some sort of hair net so as not to get stray hairs into the sourdough.

1930s, History, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

Just The Good Ol’ Boys

“Bust to Boom” by Schulz

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Wright pause for a break on a hot August day in 1939. Both men were Farm Security Administration clients in Syracuse, Kansas who worked to maintain an irrigation well.

Below you see Mr. Johnson irrigating, having just built a dam of board and tumbleweed. Looks exhausting, no?