Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Work, Lice, My Ancestors, and Me

I did not have much foresight when I was younger.  As my husband and I were preparing to leave for Peace Corps service, my father said, "What are you two doing?  You should be planning for retirement."  I was 28 at the time and retirement seemed in the long-distant future:  no need to think about it on the verge of a new adventure.  And off we went. 

When we returned home I worked for several organizations, both full-time and part-time for varying lengths of time, but none long enough to obtain enough retirement credits in either the public retirement system or in social security.  I'm now approaching retirement age with the need to earn five quarters (spread over at least two years) to quality for social security, the system with which I have the most amount of time.  Needless to say, I've been seeking employment this year to earn one of those quarters.

While job hunting I've seen some interesting job titles:  security engineer, web front end developer, benefits management practices consultant, animal husbandry supervisor.  Technology seems to be in the forefront.  I've seen some jobs with more old-fashioned, common names, too:  carpenter, salesman, accountant, nurse.  As I was browsing through the lists I began to think of the work titles my ancestors listed on census records:  farmer, carpenter, wagon maker, gardener, barber, to name a few.

Times have changed.  Life was simpler during the time of my ancestors.  Men farmed the land, owned mills, made shoes, herded sheep, cut hair, built buildings.  Women were housewives, homemakers, midwives, milliners, seamstresses, or, in more recent years, secretaries, clerks, or teachers.  Depending on which decade you consider, technology may have included new farm apparatus, sewing machines, typewriters, cement mixers, washing machines, electricity, or telephones.  What would my ancestors think of these jobs currently available online?  (I don't know what I think because I don't know what some of them mean.  What does a web front end developer do, anyway?)

The most interesting, or maybe most unusual or most surprising, job title I saw was this:

I did not click the link to learn more about this job.  My imagination went wild and I began scratching my head. 

I'm fairly certain that at some time in the lives of at least one of my ancestors, a mother had to deal with lice on the head of at least one of her children.  Could she possibly have imagined a person with the job title "head lice removal technician?"  What would she have thought of calling in a specialist to de-lice her child's head?  It boggles the brain.

I'll finish one quarter of work this year and will work next year to earn four quarters.  But no matter what other job I have to take, I will not be a head lice removal technician.


Copyright © 2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Nancy, thank you for bringing a smile to my face this morning. Indeed, what would our ancestors have thought of some of today's job titles? All I can say about the 'Head Lice Removal Technician' is 'Yikes'. I wish you all the best on your job hunt. Cheers!


    1. Hi, Jennifer. I'm glad you got a smile from this post. Thanks for the good wishes for my job hunting. I'm hoping to find enough temp. jobs to earn the money but I may have to take a part-time job for a longer period of time. It will all work out, I'm sure, but I appreciate your good wishes. Take care.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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