Looking for a job? Looking for a career? The Department of Labor wants to help. Our “Dictionary of Occupational Titles” describes every job in the world, so you know just what you’re getting into before you apply. Here’s a few samples:
525.687-078 POULTRY HANGER
Shackles and suspends live or slaughtered poultry from conveyor for killing, scalding, removal of feathers or cleaning. Removes live poultry from shipping crates, or picks up slaughtered birds from platforms and chilling vats and hangs them by feet, neck, or wings on shackles of conveyor. Has frequent, shrieking nightmares that startle other residents of small apartment complex. Keeps to himself. Changes the subject if conversation turns to job, animal cruelty, or chickens. Eats only beef and fish. Unsuccessfully answers craigslist “women seeking men” listings in search of activity partner and/or life mate.
920.687-098 HANDKERCHIEF FOLDER (garment)
Folds handkerchiefs prior to packaging. May fold fancy handkerchiefs, such as men’s dress handkerchiefs, into specified shapes and place handkerchiefs in cellophane envelopes. Rents old movies from the ’30s and ’40s, taking special interest in those scenes where men remove their handkerchiefs with a flourish from their suit pockets to wipe the perspiration from their foreheads, and where women use their handkerchiefs to wave goodbye from departing trains. Laments the fact that no one really uses handkerchiefs anymore. Notices that many of his coworkers in the folding department have opted for early retirement. Hears rumors of layoffs. Wonders if it would be prudent to switch careers; to something perhaps involving suspenders and/or bowties.
920.387-194 VACUUM TESTER, CANS
Taps lids of cans or jars with stick as they pass on conveyor to determine if container is vacuum-sealed. Removes defective containers for reprocessing. Angrily tells his friends that no, it is NOT true that “anyone with half a brain” could do his job. Reminds them that not everyone can tell if a container is vacuum-sealed by means of a simple tap. Challenges them to try it themselves. Makes the dubious claim that this is a specialized skill, no, an art, dating back to the ancient Romans. Keeps a hand-tooled mahogany rack to hold a variety of sticks of varying lengths and thicknesses, for the purpose of tapping. Writes a regular column for the trade publication Vacuum Tester Monthly.
553.382-022 VARNISH MAKER
Controls equipment to melt, cook and mix ingredients, such as gums, oils, turpentine, and naptha, for use in manufacture of varnishes. Complains to wife every evening about frequent, debilitating headaches; tries a variety of pain relievers, starting with aspirin, then moving on to greater strengths of tylenol, motrin, and other over-the-counter medicines before begging his physician for a prescription, any prescription, to make the skull-splitting agony go away.
589.686-034 PACKAGE CRIMPER (textile)
Feeds machine that rounds edges of thread packages so that dye will penetrate thread uniformly. Complains endlessly about bass player in his band; how bass player is consistently late for practice, or doesn’t show up at all. Moans about long hours of package crimping job that interfere with the business of songwriting, song recording, and sending demos to talent agents and music industry representatives. Disparages other, more successful musicians. Experiments with a variety of hairstyles: short on top, long in back, or long on top and short in back. Calls in sick every other Monday.
049.364-010 FEED RESEARCH AIDE (agriculture)
Feeds rations of experimental feeds to animals such as dogs, mice and cows, and compiles data on growth, productivity, and health of animals. Tells no one about horse-sized mouse she has smuggled home with the help of a sympathetic, kind-hearted janitor. She knows her boss will kill and dissect the mouse, and this she finds unacceptable. Instead, she has set up a comfortable straw bed in her garage, and brings the mouse stolen bags of experimental feed. She brushes its fur and lets it listen to classical music while she is at work.
920.687-105 LABEL APPLIER (beverage)
Applies labels to whiskey bottles. Does the best he can, but his hands shake, and so he sometimes damages labels. Licks his lips and thinks about the last time he had a drink: four months, two weeks, three days, six hours and fifteen minutes ago. Feels nothing but contempt for inebriated co-workers. They are weak, and he is strong.
920.687-106 LABEL REMOVER (beverage)
Removes damaged labels from whiskey bottles. Places bottles on conveyor for relabeling. Receives stern warning from boss about being intoxicated on the job. Is accused by LABEL APPLIER (920.687-105) of purposely damaging labels. Raises himself to full height, shakes his fist and denies this vehemently before falling over onto conveyor and opening a nasty gash on nose.
649.686-014 CARD DECORATOR (print & pub.)
Tends machine that automatically glues decorative sparkle dust to greeting cards. Feeds greeting cards into machine. Refills hoppers of machine with glue and sparkle dust. Shakes sparkle dust out of hair and clothes onto bedroom floor, to the annoyance of his spouse. Showers frequently, leaving a ring of sparkle dust on shower floor. Awakens frequently during the night because of itching. Coughs up clouds of sparkle dust. Chest x-ray reveals heavy coating of sparkle dust on lungs. Ignores doctor’s advice to find a different occupation. Says, “My father was a card decorator. My grandfather was a card decorator. It’s in my blood,” “Yes it is,” his doctor replies. “Literally.”