Code Blue Jobs

Spring weather is finally hitting the Midwest, and we can actually go outside and see grass instead of snow. Where I live, the first spring Friday is usually a colossal waste of time at work, as everyone tries to figure out a way to play hooky. Folks here at FOT do the same (don’t tell Kris Dunn), so I thought I would have some fun with the post today.

Did you know that you cannot pump your own gas in New Jersey and Oregon? Apparently, it’s the law that you pull in, stay in your car and somebody pumps your gas for you. They have a freaking law protecting the pump boy’s job.

Gotta tell you—if my mortgage is only getting paid because of that  job dying right in front of my eyes, I’m not sleeping well. Here’s a tip: If every person in the whole dang country can do your job by the time they turn 17, your career stability is pretty thoroughly hosed.

It got me thinking. What other jobs out there are low-growth, dying jobs? Hit me in the comments with your suggestion, but here are the ones I thought about:

  • Assembly line worker at a pay phone plant: The joke I heard is that the only people who use pay phones are guys having affairs who aren’t smart enough to buy a pre-paid burner.
  • Telephone operator: I will give a virtual nickel (real value .000000000001 cents) to anyone who reads this blog and has called an operator in the last eight years.
  • Toll booth change person: Machines that count money and make change have been around for decades and toll passes are everywhere. Work in a toll booth? Save up.
  • Yellow pages printer: These things keep getting dumped on my porch and promptly recycled. Is there seriously a yellow pages printing plant churning these things out?
  • People who “reserve” things (hotel, car, airline, etc.): If I can log on and avoid talking to you, I’m a’gonna. Polish up the résumé.
  • Hard-line phone repairman: If my hard-line phone breaks, it’s gone. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to kill that thing for years.
  • Walgreens or CVS photo person: My parents’ generation can only go to these places for so much longer, right? How much longer will people need to be shown how to download a photo?

I am sure there are tons more of these, so feel free to share in the comments. If you are in one of these jobs, have no fear. You can always go into VCR repair or Flip Cam sales.  Good growth opportunities there, I think.

FOT Background Check

RJ Morris
R. J. Morris is based in the STL as the Director of Talent Acquisition and Management for McCarthy Building Companies, a multi-billion dollar national firm. Like many others in the FOT clan, he’s a sports nut who can endlessly draw the parallels between athletes, sports and the talent management game. I know, I know, as if we needed more of that. He has 10 years of practitioner experience leading talent efforts in corporate HR and another 7 years in leadership roles on the agency side, so he gets both sides of the desk. Talk to R.J. via emailLinkedInTwitter...


  1. Steve says:

    Two come to mind:
    Newspaper classified ad salesperson
    Electronics repair person (everthing seems cheaper to buy than fix)

  2. Rachel says:

    Funny enough, I work at a fortune 150 company, and one of our largest sources of direct sales revenue is from the yellow pages. Despite a world class website, emmy award winning commericals and print in newspapers, the yellow pages comes out on top consistently. Goes to show , someone is reading it!

  3. RJ Morris
    RJ Morris says:

    Rachel–That is amazing. Good for them that they are still adding value. Personally, I cannot imagine using one of them, but obviously someone still does.

  4. HD says:

    When I was leaving Wag a few years ago there were already plans in the works to phase the photo folks out. Cosmetics and some RX’s too. The only issue — you still need at least 1 person in the store who can repair the robot when it breaks (frequently from printing) and to fill the cooler. People love an ice cold Coke when they pick up their meds. Those kids may have a few more years to go…

  5. Bruce says:

    Chemical Engineering

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