The sluggard waker used to be a church position whose job was to wake up anyone in the congregation who had fallen asleep by hitting them on the head with a stick.
2. Apple once had a packaging designer whose only job was to open boxes, all to perfect the customer's unboxing experience.
3. The US Army enlisted pigeoneers during World War 2, whose job was to raise, train, and drop pigeons from airplanes.
4. In Victorian England, the job of a hospital's "Chief Bug-Catcher" was to rid the mattresses of lice and they were paid more than the hospital's surgeons.
5. NASA has a Planetary Protection Officer, whose job is to protect Earth from potential contamination by extraterrestrial life forms and prevent Earth’s microbes from reaching other planets.
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Room of Forgotten Souls
In 18th century England, gambling dens hired people whose sole job was to swallow the dice in the event of a police raid.
7. During World War 2, Nazis employed "tooth-pulling kommandos" in Auschwitz whose only job was to pry open the mouths of the gassed victims, and remove all golden teeth, as well as any gold bridgework and fillings. These were then sent to be melted down and sold as gold bullion.
8. The British Transport Police employs rail pastors. They are volunteers whose job is to reach out and provide a comforting presence to vulnerable people and those contemplating suicide on the rails. In their first year of operation, they saved three lives and reduced crime by 37%.
9. Until the 1890s, there were people in Britain whose job was being a village's "sin eater." When someone died, you paid a sin eater to come over and eat a 'funeral biscuit' that had been placed on the dead body, taking on their sin in the process.
10. Olympic Rule 23 states the Games have two official languages: French and English. Since 2004, the Francophonie organization has appointed a person known as ‘Le Grand Témoin,’ a.k.a. the Great Witness, whose job is to keep track of and promote French usage during the Games.
11Green Light Teams
In the 1950s, the US planned to deploy intensely trained 'Green Light Teams.' These were individuals whose job was to stealthily lug 58lb nuclear bombs on their back to specific targets behind enemy lines. While they would make every attempt to retreat, these missions were considered suicidal.
12. The Apollo Theater in Harlem has a guy called 'The Executioner,' whose job is to interrupt bad performers and shoo them offstage.
13. The sole job of a "teaser stallion" is to tell if a mare is ready for mating. He never gets to do the actual mating that the valuable stallion does. Kind owners sometimes give him a "consolation mare" to mate with so that he doesn't get sexually frustrated with his job.
14. In the middle ages, there were men called ‘Bear-Leaders’ whose job was to lead bears from village to village. These animals were primarily used in a blood sport known as bear-baiting. It was a form of entertainment which involved setting dogs to attack a captive bear.
15. The Chinese Communist Party employs an army of commentators whose job is to win arguments with people on the internet and manipulate public opinion and disseminate disinformation to benefit CCP. Though it has been nicknamed the ‘50 Cent Army,’ there is little evidence that they are paid anything for their posts. Instead they are required to do so as part of their official party duties.
16Forensic Vagina Investigators
In El Salvador there are "forensic vagina investigators" whose job is to determine whether a woman got an illegal abortion as abortion in El Salvador is illegal.
17. The Roman Catholic Church used to hire castrati. These were young boy vocalists who were castrated to prevent puberty and allowing them to sing soprano, mezzo-soprano, or contralto well into their 40s. The practice started in the mid-1500s, reached its height in 1730, and ended in 1903. The last castrati died in 1922.
18. 'Professional Mourners' are performers who are paid to lament the dead and 'entertain' grieving families. This occupation began in Chinese, Egyptian, and Mediterranean cultures, and is still practiced in China. The UK even has a program called 'Rent a Mourner' for hiring actors as 'extras' at funerals.
19. The royal English court of King Henry II had Professional Farters who were rewarded with houses and land in exchange for entertaining the kind. Roland the Farter was one of the most famous farters of the 12th century and he was given a manor and 30 acres of land for his services. Another famous 19th century French flatulist was Joseph Pujol, who could shoot water up to 5 feet.
20. In the 1830s, Paris Opera used to employ Professional Applauders a.k.a. claque, who worked with opera directors to put on a good show. By engineering a ruckus among themselves, the claque was able to allow a singer to surreptitiously take a breath during a high note hold, giving the illusion of a super long note.
A former mud wrestler named Lisette St.Claire was the world’s first laugher wrangler in the television industry. Some of the current ‘Professional Laughers’ are so good at guffawing that they're secretly planted in audiences to get others snickering, cackling, or howling. In 2012, laughers got $75 for a day's work.
22. Professional "fired men" are used in some department stores as scapegoats who are fired several times a day to please customers who were disgruntled about some error.
23. Netflix employs a team of "taggers" who are paid to watch Netflix and tag the content.
24. There exists a "Department of Veterans Affairs emblems for headstones and markers," whose job it is to come up with headstone emblems for every imaginable religious deviation.
25. The first scouts were a group of child soldiers who were used during the Second Boer War. They were entrusted with the job of carrying messages between fortresses in the war with their commanding officer being 13 year-old Sergeant-Major named Warner Goodyear.