In this article, we’ll show you 30 professions that existed in the 1980s and today no longer exist or don’t have as many professionals.
It’s important to understand that you may see some of these professionals today, but they are much rarer compared to the 80s.
What we’ll see in this article
Professions that existed in the 80s
In the 1980s, the professional landscape was marked by a series of different and peculiar professions that showed what the cultural and technological context of the time was like.
It really was a buzz of new technologies, music and games for all tastes, and young people entered this culture, also known as New Wave, with great vigor.
Let’s take a look at some of the professions that existed in the 1980s and which have either disappeared or are about to disappear.
What were the most common professions in the 1980s?
Among the most prominent professions were the typist, responsible for typing documents on typewriters, and the telephone operator, who worked in telephone exchanges to establish call connections.
To give you an idea, when someone wanted to talk to another city, they had to make a long-distance call to the operator and the operator would call the person in the other city. Incredible years!
In addition, television technicians were key to ensuring that TV sets worked perfectly, while cartoonists and illustrators exercised their creativity in publishing houses and animation studios.
The charm and nostalgia of these professions from the 1980s continue to resonate today, reminding us of the roots of technological evolution and the changes that have shaped today’s world.
Liftsmen were the professionals who operated the elevators in the 1980s, thus controlling the movement of the elevators and the stopping floors.
A few decades ago, elevators became automatic with modern and safe systems.
Although there are still elevators, they are becoming increasingly rare, unlike in the 80s.
Typists were responsible for typing texts and documents on typewriters. In addition, learning typography was an incredible market, as there were several courses in every city to teach the profession.
Naturally, with the arrival of computers, this profession has become obsolete, but many course companies have still managed to migrate their typing courses to computer courses… just out of curiosity.
Telephone operators were responsible for connecting people to their calls on manual switchboards.
With the automation of telecommunications and new technologies, this profession began to disappear.
Photographic development manager
This professional was responsible for developing the photographs, handling them with dangerous chemicals that could cause a number of accidents.
Who doesn’t remember developing Kodak film in a store in the 1980s, right? It was also possible to send photos to a post office box and then receive the developed photos after a few days.
With new technologies such as digital camera photography, this profession has become obsolete.
However, Kodak still has plans for users to be able to have a printer and develop their own film at home…it took a while, but it’s here!!!
Telex was a means of communication in the 1980s, used mainly for communication between companies.
This technology was made obsolete by electronic messaging on several fronts in the 90s and 2000s.
Video Cassette Operator
The video cassette was the sensation of DVDs and long before the streaming we have today, wasn’t it?
An operator was even needed to handle these machines so that films and television programs could be played correctly.
How many fines have we paid because we delivered movies to the video store without having rewound the tape?
Although this profession still exists, the demand for it has fallen sharply in line with the decline in printed books.
Most people prefer to read their favorite titles online or through a digital reader like Kindle, for example.
Data entry clerk
Data entry is a profession that has disappeared due to the various technologies created in recent years.
Mainly through typing and other electronic data tools.
Typist of official letters and documents
There were some typists who wrote official country documents and letters.
Like all typists, their jobs have been replaced by new technologies, especially computers.
Linotypists were the operators of typesetting machines, which were used to write texts in newspapers and magazines.
Naturally, these professionals were replaced by computers.
Hotel receptionist with manual registration
Hotel receptionists still exist, but the manual register stopped being used a few decades ago.
After all, most hotels use online check-in and check-out to make the process quicker and more enjoyable.
The scribe wrote documents and letters for people who were illiterate or even visually impaired.
However, as more people became literate and new assistive technologies were created, this profession became obsolete.
The archivist was the professional responsible for archiving key documents for companies.
However, they have been replaced by digital systems and new archiving processes such as digitization.
Notaries still exist, but with the simplification of processes within registry offices, the demand for these professionals has decreased.
Professional set designers were responsible for creating sets for cinema and theater.
However, with the arrival of special effects and new methods, these professionals are not in as much demand as they used to be.
The production assistant was essential in the entertainment industry as a whole.
However, with the adoption of new technologies and processes, production assistants have become obsolete.
Carpenters are still a profession, but the demand for them has naturally decreased.
Tailors were essential for the production of clothes, especially made-to-measure clothes.
However, with new technologies in clothing production and the growth of ready-made clothing in recent decades, this professional is in little demand.
Studio photographers still exist, but they are limited to photos for large vehicles, companies or events.
After all, nowadays the vast majority of people own a smartphone that can take very high quality photos.
Receptionists still exist, but with online scheduling and all the automation that comes with it, the role of the receptionist is shrinking.
The construction foreman used to be responsible for managing the works, but some practices have changed and the foremen have been replaced.
The handyman was the professional responsible for carrying out repairs for various different purposes.
However, with new technologies, knowledge has become increasingly specific and the handyman still exists from an informal perspective.
There are many bakers today, but not like in the past with all the manual processes of bread production.
Nowadays, bakeries use a lot of machinery for their production.
The demand for tool sharpeners has been practically wiped out by the popularization of disposable tools and other automations.
Blacksmiths were true artisans of iron, producing a wide variety of tools.
Today, however, industrial machines can do more and with higher quality.
With all the new agricultural technologies and mechanization, horse grooming is limited to small farms or specialists.
The bookkeeper was the professional who preceded the accountant and was responsible for recording and controlling all the finances.
The big difference is that everything used to be done manually with pen and paper, but now everything is automated.
The janitor was the professional responsible for delivering all the materials and documents that the companies needed.
Those documents and materials that were delivered were replaced by new ones, but with e-mail and other tools, this profession no longer exists.
Packers in supermarkets still exist, but they are decreasing dramatically thanks to delivery services and automation.
Luggage carriers were quite common in the 1980s and today they still exist in a few places.
However, most of these professionals have been replaced by automation in airports and hotels.
What’s more, the companies themselves have developed wheeled suitcases, which has further reduced the demand for these professionals.