10 Interesting Jobs Created for Weird Reasons
Working a job that you do not enjoy can be a bit tedious. Nevertheless, human innovation has evolved enough to now create jobs that are both fun and necessary. But here’s the catch! While some of these jobs were needed for legitimate reasons, others were created for rather strange and ridiculous reasons. So, in the spirit of honoring the human ingenuity that gave them life, here are ten of the most interesting jobs created for weird reasons.
1 In Cuba, some cigar factories would employ someone as a “lector.” The lector would perch on top of a raised platform and read newspapers, classical literature, and political treatises out loud to the cigar-rolling workers. This was meant to help break the monotony of continuously rolling cigars.
Nicolás Azcárate, a Cuban political reformer, first proposed the idea of a lector in 1865. He suggested that the workers could choose one of their coworkers to read out texts of their choice and then pay them 25 to 50 cents from each of their salaries.
Most texts that were read out this way were political treatises or newspapers, but lectors would sometimes also read out classical literature. In fact, it is said that the cigar workers loved listening to The Count of Monte Cristo so much that the cigar brand Montecristo was named after it!
With this practice, lectors also helped educate the Cuban working class on important topics. It is likely that listening to these informative texts is what helped the cigar workers win their freedom from the Spanish and even establish trade unions. Today, the lector is considered an integral part of Cuban culture, with UNESCO even considering naming this role an “intangible cultural heritage.” (1, 2)
2 Many Filipino bar owners have special bouncers in their bars that diffuse fights using humor. These jobs are given only to gay and effeminate men or transwomen. Since most male patrons see such people as non-threatening, they are more effective in stopping bar fights.
Since the 2010s, Filipino karaoke bars have been witnessing a high amount of violence, especially over the singing of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” This song has led to so many fights and killings that many bar owners have now banned it. A few other bar owners, however, have come up with a more creative solution.
Many believe that the Filipino culture is widely dependent on its showcase of “machismo.” This, when coupled with alcohol and the country’s undying love for karaoke, creates a deadly combo.
Therefore, rather than use a regular bouncer, some bar owners now hire gay and effeminate men or transwomen to break up a fight. Since most male patrons view such people as neutral, they are free to use humor over force to deescalate the situation more effectively. Nevertheless, many Filipinos still agree that they are scared to sing “My Way” in public. (1, 2)
3 The renowned Hollywood producer Hal Roach would often hire someone to be a “wildie.” This was either an insane or drunk person who would be asked to sit in the writers’ room and yell out crazy ideas anytime they had writer’s block.
Harry “Hal” Roach Sr. was the founder of Hal Roach Studios and a renowned Hollywood producer. A number of comedic franchises that are hailed as classics today, such as Laurel and Hardy, were produced by his company. In 2011, while talking to The Hollywood Reporter, filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen revealed that Mr. Roach would often hire someone to help his writers come up with new ideas.
According to them, during the silent film era, Mr. Roach would bring in an insane person from an asylum or a drunkard to sit at the writers’ table. This individual was referred to as the “wildie,” and their only job was to shout out crazy ideas, sometimes even interrupting the writing conferences. It was believed that whenever the writers experienced a creative block, the crazy ideas of the “wildie” would ignite a spark within the writers’ minds. (1, 2)
4 In 2014, the Indian government hired 40 men as monkey impersonators to scare off real monkeys that were wreaking havoc near the Parliamentary building. These men would make screeching noises that imitate the sounds of the feared black-faced langur monkeys to frighten the red-faced macaque monkeys.
The red-faced macaque monkeys have become one of the most dreaded animals in the Indian capital of New Delhi. With about 1,000 bites a day being reported, these monkeys mean business. However, the Indian government has yet to exhaust all avenues in warding them off. In 2014, Indian officials came up with a new plan to combat the issue of these monkey pests near government buildings.
They employed 40 men to impersonate the sounds of the black-faced langur monkeys to scare off the macaques. These men would make loud screeching noises and even hide behind trees. This move became necessary after an animal rights verdict made it illegal for the government to keep real langurs in cages to scare off the macaques.
5 During the 18th century, British aristocratic families would hire people to be “ornamental hermits” as a symbol of their status in society. The hermit’s only job was to dress up as a druid, never leave the estate grounds, and be fed and taken care of. These hermits were also sometimes put on display for entertainment or consulted for advice.
In the 18th century, live garden gnomes were all the rage among British aristocrats. These were people specifically hired to play the role of an “ornamental hermit” in return for food and boarding. Although the exact origins of this practice are unknown, it is likely that it began with Francis of Paola who lived as a hermit on his father’s estate and served as a confidant to King Charles VIII.
Once hired, these individuals were to live within a garden cave and never leave the estate grounds. They were also encouraged to wear animal skins and druids’ robes to play the part. Some families even put their hermits on display for entertainment or used them as advisors to show off their societal status.
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