- Cobbler – I’m guessing that even the elves have gotten out of this business. When was the last time you remember dropping your shoes at the local Cobbler to get the sole repaired? Or if you a rural person thought I was talking about a fruity and delicious confection? Well, never darkened the doorway of a cobbler’s shop, sadly, most likely never will.
- Haberdashery – I know, how many times has this happened to you? You drop off your Stove-Pipe to get it relined because the velvet lining is wearing thin, and you don’t get back until after the local opera house production of La Boheme is already gone. So you have to wait a whole month until the next production comes through town. Oh, you don’t? Me neither. Because basically, hats that aren’t of the baseball variety are obsolete. And no one likes to go mad from lead poisoning.
- Chimney Sweep – Dick Van Dyke is the only chimney sweep I’ve ever seen. I know this one is still around, but not too many folks have a real need for it. Not many coal-burning and wood-burning stoves as the primary heat source any longer. So again, unless you are really rural, you probably aren’t heating your house this way. So it’s not an excellent way to make a lot of money.
- Y2K Bug Fixer – Y2K is coming?! We are all going to die! Because computers run everything and we are now so dumb, we can’t wipe our bums without a phone app or youtube video to aid us in that. A whole industry popped up around it, and I’m pretty sure you could still have your software updated if you need it.
- Graphic Designers – Remember when you needed people to design a webpage for your business? Remember when you needed a human being to layout your business cards so they could look fancy? Remember when you needed to have a snarky, annoyed person to say things like busy, white-space, and kerning to even though you don’t understand the hell any of that means? I do. But not anymore, now you have an app for any of that.
- Writer – This is sad. But most people can only read like this – Lol, Roflmao, WTH, WTF, OMG, AF, blah da blah de blah. Attention spans, special interest, the shrinking marketplace, political puppetry, outrage, pandering homages, and dying critical thought threaten to eat it all. Like an Oroboros, swallowing its tail and becoming a smaller and smaller circle closing out the majority of its potential audience, the publishing industry may be a harder place to eke out a living than ever before.
Some careers are insurmountable dead ends. With everything so dag-blamed STEM-focused nowadays in education, the creative fields are drying up like a raisin in the sun. I feel like there is a bravery in continuing to make art in a shrinking marketplace. It’s the only place one soul can touch another, the arts supply society with compassion through empathy. It’s not in better phone cameras, more intricate braking systems in cars, social media, or anywhere else. As we shift away from things that feed the soul, we get to wonder why the soul of so many is lost. Progress happens, but we can’t make ourselves obsolete and expect to survive.