20 Jobs That Used To Be Prestigious but Now No One Really Cares About

There are some jobs that used to be all fancy-schmancy, but now? Meh, not so much. We are talking about those gigs that used to make you raise your eyebrows in admiration, but now, you’re more likely to raise your remote and change the channel.

Some of these jobs were very prestigious in the “olden days” but some have lost their luster in recent years and your parents may be still wondering why you don’t want to pursue them as a career choice but we know that while these jobs used to be prestigious they just aren’t anymore. 

1. Blacksmith

The blacksmith manually forging the molten metal on the anvil in smithy with spark fireworks
Image Credit: grafvision/Shutterstock.

Think about it. If you were a blacksmith, you were the go-to person for anything metal-related. Need a new plowshare? Blacksmith. Want a fancy suit of armor to flex on the battlefield? Blacksmith. Your horseshoe fell off? Yep, you guessed it – blacksmith. 

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Blacksmith. They were the town engineer, manufacturer, craftsman, and problem solver all in one. Now they are mostly just hobbyists.”

Someone else added, “Career blacksmith of 14 years here, I agree for the most part. Even in the community, it’s an average of high enthusiasm but a low skill level. Those who are professionals are mostly either artists or architectural blacksmiths or farriers.”

2. News Anchors

portrait of shocked upset woman isolated on pastel blue colored background.
Image Credit: deagreez1 via DepositPhotos.com.

Someone commented, “News anchor. They used to be celebrities when they were the primary mediums people got their news from.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “Back when I was a kid in the early 90s, and I was staying in my grandma’s village over summer break, the local news used to be announced by a guy who was beating a drum to announce all the people to come out in the street. 

Then he would announce local news through a megaphone since most villages around didn’t have a local TV station or access to any TV channels other than the national television. That guy was a local celebrity.”

Social media came strutting in, and now anyone with a smartphone can become a news source.

3. Flight Attendant

flight attendant.
Image Credit: LightField Studios/Shutterstock.

Remember when getting on a plane was like entering a fancy restaurant? Flight attendants were your personal waitstaff, making sure you were comfortable and well-fed on your journey through the clouds. 

One Redditor stated, “Flight attendant. Back in the 1970s if you were dating a “stewardess,” all your friends were jealous.”

Another person pitched in to say, “It used to be airlines had a hire the attractive policy, but with the changing times, they hire anybody now.”

4. Cabinet Maker

man wearing red tshirt looking upset
Image Credit: vova130555@gmail.com via DepositPhotos.com.

A Reddit user wrote, “I was a cabinet maker in the 2000s. I designed and built entertainment centers for the new flat-screen TV fad. Paid great; everyone thought I was cool. No one gives a darn anymore, and the pay has scaled way down with this economy, so I’m back in school 🙁 Selling custom to people buying houses nowadays? ”

Another user replied, “I used to be a cabinetmaker. Still am, but I used to as well. Have to work for the ultra-rich these days, though; nobody else wants to pay for quality work.”

Someone else added, “Cabinetmaking really is dying, and it’s sad. In general, the industry is getting slowly (very slowly) more automated. Material prices have gone nuts in the last 3 years. Because of this, the workforce is getting less skilled, and companies are squeezing wages. Customers (commercial and residential) obviously don’t want to pay more.”

And let’s not forget IKEA. Sure, it’s like the Disneyland of affordable furniture, but it’s also a bit of a game-changer for the cabinet-making scene.

5. Spice Trader

jars of spices.
Image Credit: pilipphoto/Shutterstock.

Supermarkets started stocking shelves with spices from around the world, and those once-exclusive flavors became as mainstream as pop songs on the radio. 

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Spice trader. Edit: I was, of course, talking about reading actual spices. With the new movie, being a character in Dune is probably more prestigious than it has ever been.”

Another user added, “This is a good answer. Sometimes, when I look at the spice aisle in my grocery store, I wonder what someone even 200 years ago would think. It would blow their minds, I suspect.”

6. Radio DJs

Charismatic disc jockey at the turntable. DJ plays on the best, famous CD players at nightclub during party. EDM, party concept.
Image Credit: Vladimir Hodac/Shutterstock.

Remember when radio was the main jam for discovering new music? DJs were the gatekeepers of the grooves, introducing us to bands and beats we never knew we needed. 

Someone commented, “Nighttime radio DJ. They used to set what music was cool and not.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “Radio DJs in general. That was a job I wanted as a kid, now it’s a computer playing all the music on a schedule, and nobody really cares about DJs or even listens to radio. I’ll admit I kinda miss hearing some of the DJs on SiriusXM on Boneyard or Hairnation or 80s on 8 or 90s on 9, but I prefer listening to my own music.”

7. Printers

Employee using modern printer in office, closeup
Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Printer. Lithographic or various others. Used to be an amazing career and essential to society. Since the rise of the internet and the decline of printed media, the industry has died. Not that long ago, the spread of information was made possible through printers, not anymore.”

Someone else added, “Advancement of printer technology itself helped with the downfall as well. Now as long as you have a digital file, anybody at Kinkos can run a laser printer and make you full-color copies. 

My mom owned a print shop when I was a kid, and the guys she had who could run those old 2 color presses, make plates, and operate all the different equipment were just as much skilled tradesmen as any carpenter or machinist. Kinda sad to see their craft become obsolete.”

Not to mention, the art world went wild with all sorts of new mediums- from digital art to interactive installations!

8. Travel Agent

Portrait of angry furious offended senior person with bob hairdo wear pink shirt scream in conflict isolated on blue color background.
Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “Travel Agent. Finding flights, booking good hotels, knowing the cool places to go, how to get tickets to events, and how to pull it all together for someone used to be fairly useful skills to have. Now the job is basically nonexistent apart from super high-end or specialty positions.”

Another person pitched in to say, “Travel agents are worthless. No, I don’t want a three-stop flight on your preferred airline when another airline has a direct flight for less money. I don’t want your preferred hotel 50 miles from DC when a non-preferred hotel is a mile from my meeting location.”

And let’s not forget the TripAdvisor era. People started relying on reviews and recommendations from fellow travelers rather than the sage advice of travel agents. Suddenly, it was like anyone with a computer was a travel expert.

9. Banker

Husband and wife discussing investment plans with financial advisor
Image Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.

One Redditor stated, “Before the credit score was invented, working as a banker was prestigious because you got to decide if someone got a loan or not. Everyone wants to be buddies with a local banker because he could sign off on a loan and set the terms. How do you think grandpa bought the house? Now individuals don’t do that algorithms do.”

Another user added, “I used to work at a bank. I remember being so excited and thrilled to be a banker. How “prestigious” it was, I thought. Turns out, bankers are just car salesmen but worse since we had to cold call people to get them to come in and sign up for accounts they didn’t need”

You could do it all from your couch now, in your pajamas, while sipping on a cup of coffee. Bankers went from being gatekeepers to being bystanders in a world of virtual transactions.

10. Scientist

young pretty blonde woman scheming and conspiring, thinking devious tricks and cheats, cunning and betraying.
Image Credit: Kues/Shutterstock.

One shared, “Working in academia, in a way. Over the last several decades, tenure tracks got way more competitive. Young scientists are now often overworked, underpaid, and have uncertain futures. No wonder that many leave the academia for the private sector.”

Someone else added, “Yep, totally agree, terrible pay, if in research there are some terrible group leaders out there, if you need to apply for funding, its soul destroying when starting out and no one talks about the pyramidal career ladder.”

Scientists used to be these enigmatic geniuses in movies and shows, but now? Well, they’re more likely to be quirky sidekicks or mad scientists in need of a better barber. The prestige of being a scientist has taken a bit of a tumble in the pop culture arena.

11. Teacher

Portrait of black teacher giving math lesson on chalkboard.
Image Credit: Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock.

Back in the day, being a teacher was like having a front-row seat to shaping the future. But hold onto your chalk (or marker), because times have changed, and the prestige of this gig might be doing the limbo under a low bar. 

A Reddit user wrote, “Teachers are so disrespected and constantly abused by both parents and politicians these days that I have no clue who would ever want to be one anymore.”

Another added, “I just graduated college with the intent to teach math, but then I actually did my student teaching internship and realized just how bad it truly was. When I pushed through it and told my mentor teacher I decided not to pursue teaching after all, he said, “Honestly? It’s a good decision.” 

Mind you, my mentor teacher taught advanced math classes for 10 years and had plenty of stories, experience, and real-world cracks to share about the education system in the U.S. Definitely not for me anymore!”

12. Presidents

US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on February 27, 2019.
Image Credit: Salma Bashir Motiwala/Shutterstock.

These days, things have kind of shifted. It’s not that being President isn’t a big deal anymore, but it’s like the shine has worn off a bit. One big reason is that we’re living in the age of information overload.

Thanks to the internet and social media, we know a lot more about our leaders- the good, the bad, and the super awkward moments.

One Redditor stated, “More like two old people arguing about who is less bad. It seems like, “At least I’m not the other guy” is just about the best that either side can muster at this point.”

Another user added, “This is the one! What actually qualified person would even want that job now?”

13. Land Surveyor

Photo portrait of mature handsome man arguing irritated face annoyed raise palm wear trendy green garment isolated on blue color background.
Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Land Surveyor. 3 of the 4 presidents on Mount Rushmore were land surveyors, and owning property was a big deal, so people who could give you legal authority over ownership were pretty well respected. Now you make $12 an hour starting to dig holes lol.”

Another person pitched in to say, “The first surveyors in the US were basically mountain men who could do advanced math. They were mapping out areas of the world with no civilization aside from hostile natives. It was never a wealthy job, just prestigious, and now it’s not even that anymore.”

And now technology has swooped with a smartphone. We’ve got drones and high-tech GPS that can pinpoint stuff better than an old-school surveyor’s gear ever could. So, the whole “mystical map master” vibe has taken a hit.

14. Vets

Beautiful young woman kissing and hugging shiba inu dog at street.
Image Credit: Krakenimages.com/Shutterstock.

See, back in the day, you didn’t have Google telling you what was wrong with your furball. Vets were the gurus of pet health info. If your dog sneezed funny, you’d sprint to the vet for wisdom. 

Someone commented, “Vet – terrible starting pay, abuse from the client, and horrible emotional burnout. It has its positives, don’t get me wrong, but there is a reason the profession has such high suicide rates.”

Someone else added, “My ex-wife quit after one year of practice because she was so disgusted by the way the public treats their animals. The sheer number of emaciated dogs with matted fur, blind because their drunk owner extinguished cigarettes in both eyes, got to be too much for her. 

Plus, when she’d tell people she was a Vet, they’d answer, “Oh, so you’re not a real doctor.” “Please put Fifi to sleep. I just can’t get rid of these fleas!” she’d hear all too often.”

15. Journalists

Face enraged infuriated woman screaming emotion
Image Credit: golubovy via DepositPhotos.com.

One shared, “Journalist. There are still some good ones, but for the most part, they’re mouthpieces for the highest bidder and/or just making propaganda. I went to one of the best, most prestigious journalism schools in the country. Decided not to go into that career.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “Journalists have been replaced with activists. Objectivity isn’t even the goal anymore, and that’s what separates journalism from activism.”

There’s a whole lot of “fake news” noise and “biased reporting” chatter. So, that classic image of the intrepid journalist chasing down the truth? It’s gotten mixed up in the circus.

16. Photographers

woman holding camera in front of face taking picture.
Image Credit: izzet ugutmen/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “Photographer. My dad used to do it back in the 70’s and would make considerable money doing so. It used to be quite a special thing to be able to take good photos.

I have been a full-time freelance photographer for about 9 years, and I’m finally having to throw in the towel because no one wants to pay anymore. There are too many cowboys who buy a nice camera and undercut your prices significantly while putting out {bad} work. 

Your average person doesn’t care about the quality of the work enough anymore to justify it being an affordable career, except for those at the very top. It has just gotten worse and worse and worse.”

Another user added, “I’m also a freelance photographer, and when I was in high school, I thought being a crime scene photographer would be the coolest. And that’s not a job anymore because anyone can get the photos you need with a good digital camera.”

And let’s talk about social media- it’s a photo frenzy out there. People are snapping pics of their food, their shoes, their pet cacti. The whole “special photographer” vibe has turned into a snap-happy free-for-all.

17. Drivers

angry man driving a vehicle without seat belt.
Image Credit: Hayk_Shalunts/shutterstock.

A discerning Reddit user commented, “Back in my parents’ time, driver used to be a coveted job. Because drivers could very easily become smugglers and get rich.”

Someone else added, “One of the definitions of prestigious is “having high status.” And I kid you not, back then, the driver was right up there with the pilot.”

Plus, self-driving cars are creeping in like sci-fi characters. Pretty soon, the car might be the captain, and you’ll just be a passenger along for the ride; so much for being the lord of the lanes.

18. Lawyers

Confident lawyer portrait.
Image Credit: Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.

One Redditor stated, “Lawyer. We still say, “Oh, they should have been a lawyer,” to smart young people even though being a lawyer is a terrible job. I have a family member and close friend who hates being lawyers.”

Another person pitched in to say, “The respect has definitely changed. My dad said he dropped out of med school and went to law school because those were really the options. He mentioned he used to get his haircuts for free, and people used to think that if you were a lawyer, you were probably the smartest person in the room. Now people hear you’re a lawyer and just think you’re a crook.”

Now? It’s like lawyers are as common as pumpkin spice lattes. Law schools are spitting out JDs like a factory line. And let’s not forget the TV shows- we’ve got lawyers from Suits to How to Get Away with Murder making it seem like a normal job.

19. Doctor

young red head doctor raising palm to forehead thinking oops, after making a stupid mistake or remembering, feeling dumb against blue wall.
Image Credit: Kues/Shutterstock.

Someone commented, “As of recently, AI outperforms doctors. So really it’s just « practicing medicine without a license » and the medical associations keeping many doctors unemployed.”

Another person agreed to it and said, “And I have family members and close friends who hate being doctors, especially after the last few years. You’d always get a few belligerent, scientifically illiterate patients. Now, everyone has been emboldened and thinks they know better than their doctor.

I have a co-worker who literally just told his doctor, “It’s okay, doc; I know you probably don’t know what I have, so go get on Web MD, and you’ll realize that I’m right. Then you can write me the prescription.”

Now, you can get an online consult, send pictures of your weird rash, and get a prescription without leaving your bed. So, that whole “doctor knows best” aura? Well, tech stole some of that thunder.

20. Police

A friendly looking female officer standing behind crime scene tape with her arms crossed.
Image Credit: John Roman Images/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user wrote, “A lot of it they’ve brought upon themselves, but there’s also a not-too-small contingent that tries to undermine them regardless. It’s really a no-win under the current political climate to try to recover their reputation and standing in the community.”

Someone else added, “They spent decades cultivating an “us vs. them” culture rather than a civil service mindset, then are outraged when the rest of society starts seeing them through the same lens.”

And let’s not forget about trust. There’s a whole lot of “us vs. them” mentality going on. People are protesting, demanding change, and there’s this lingering skepticism about motives and fairness.

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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.

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