Jobsolete

Jobsolete

Ever wonder what kind of job you would have if you were born in a different time? Jobsolete is a new podcast that asks that very question every week. Helen Hong and Matt Beat take a spin through the workplaces of the past, looking at a different obsolete job in every episode. From the forgotten jobs of history to obscure occupations that still survive, you'll discover some of the most interesting and unusual ways that people have made a living. Go listen to Jobsolete, find out what it was like to be a switchboard operator, a town crier, a food taster, or an MTV VJ. Listen to Jobsolete to learn about History’s Most Fascinating Jobs.

Episodes

January 6, 2022 27 min

When we think of people carrying out death sentences today, we think of low-key affairs where the media is not invited. However, the Professional Public Executioner was a true showman when he carried out death sentences in front of thousands of people. But that’s not how he made most of his money. Helen and Matt explore the wild and complicated occupation of Executioner.

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You might want to write this episode down. Helen and Matt look at one of the most important occupations in human history, the Scribe, and we only know about this job because they were so helpful as to write down what they did.

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December 23, 2021 29 min

From the local small-town stage to New York’s Palace Theater, vaudeville was an essential part of every community. In this episode, Helen and Matt learn about the Vaudevillians, the ones who kept Americans entertained when there wasn’t much to do for fun. 

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December 16, 2021 27 min

How do you smuggle alcohol into the country during Prohibition? Being well connected, great management skills, strong interpersonal relationships, and having a passion for the industry. While that sounds like a born Linkedin profile bio, Helen and Matt learn that being a Rum Runner was at times both thrilling and boring, yet almost always lucrative. 

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December 9, 2021 27 min

During the heyday of live jazz music, the charismatic and ambitious one who kept it all together was the Big Band Orchestra Leader. Helen and Matt explore how the occupation gave rise to the birth of the modern pop singer.

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December 2, 2021 26 min

The rarest of all occupations on Jobsolete, only 24 men have ever gone to the Moon. All of them were from the United States. Helen and Matt learn about the legacy and impact of the Moon Astronaut. While we cherish the history of the Apollo program, the real excitement comes from the fact that this decade the occupation will return. That’s right, we’re going back to the moon for the first time in 50 years!

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November 25, 2021 25 min

Before computers, women helped Walt Disney bring his hand drawn animations to life as Animated Cel Inkers, a little known profession that would have a ripple effect over the style of animations for generations to come. Helen and Matt explore this underrated, innovative and inventive profession.

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November 18, 2021 28 min

Some people used to believe that the surest way to get to heaven after you died was to have someone eat your sins. Ya know, so they were no longer on your soul? All you needed was some bread, some wine, and a Sin Eater. Helen and Matt talk about sins and the strange practice of sin eating.

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November 11, 2021 27 min

Before the train and telegraph, for a short time in American history, if you wanted your mail to get across the entire country, you relied on men who travel 1900 miles on horseback at speeds so fast they might as well be competing in the Kentucky Derby. In this episode, Helen and Matt look at the critical role of the Pony Express riders .

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November 4, 2021 1 min

Season 2 of Jobsolete premieres November 11. Tune in to learn more about history's most fascinating jobs.

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April 29, 2021 26 min

Railroad workers who laid the tracks that first crossed America were often called gandy dancers. Find out what it was like to work on the rails in those frontier days!

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April 22, 2021 30 min

Let's return to the Age of Sail with our guest K.C. Crowell, who tells us what it was like to be a sailor on a tall ship.

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In 1981, the world was introduced to Music Television, and the job of video jockey, or VJ, was born.

In this second part of a two-episode special, our expert guests are Martha Quinn, original MTV VJ, and Bob Pittman, who led the team that created MTV.

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In 1981, the world was introduced to Music Television, and the job of video jockey, or VJ, was born.

In this first part of a two-episode special, our expert guests are Martha Quinn, original MTV VJ, and Bob Pittman, who led the team that created MTV.

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Our own Amelia Palka helps sort

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March 25, 2021 25 min

Writer John Van Wyhe takes Helen and Matt around the world to catch a glimpse of the now obsolete Victorian Specimen collector, He also shares the story of his favorite collector of all, Ida Pfeiffer.

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March 18, 2021 23 min

Eleanor Herman, author of The Royal Art of Poison, shares her tales of food tasters though history with Matt and Helen. She also dispels some myths about what was actually killing royalty if it wasn't poison.

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March 11, 2021 26 min

Author Marc Hartzman tells Matt and Helen about the odd profession of Stone Eaters and they find out that there is another job hiding behind this one.

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March 4, 2021 26 min

Professional Royal Mistress? Professional? Yup. Eleanor Herman, author of Sex With Kings, 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge, joins the show to help Matt and Helen shed a little light on this often overlooked and misunderstood profession.

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February 25, 2021 26 min

Kyota Ko, mastermind behind the website Metro Classic Japanese, Joins Helen and Matt to discuss the long and fascinating history behind Samurai.

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