I was on the elevator at my apartment complex yesterday and with the greatest of ease, I navigated myself to the proper floor. No snag, no tricks of the trade, no inside information, not even using years of experience, all I did was use the completely intuitive way of operating an elevator by pressing the desired floor.

Later that day I went to the gas station to pump some gas into my car. Again, I performed this task all by my lonesome. No manual needed, no instructions were mandated, I just knew what to do.

These two mundane chores I performed made me think about….well….there was a time, not so long ago, where people actually had jobs operating an elevator and pumping gas.

I mean this is so stupid in retrospect it is hard to believe these were actually paid careers.

Yeah, I understand the entire elevator operator thing was at a time when elevators were far more complex; I mean there was a lever involved along with buttons. But c’mon, really? People back in the 30’s and 40’s couldn’t figure out how to push a button and pull a lever on their own? And they say people are getting dumber in today’s society.

And pumping gas? Yeah, it used to be a full car check back then, like wiping windows and checking tires, but again these are things that do not require a full time position. People can do things on their own. What is even stupider about the gas pumping thing is that Oregon still has this as a real career and mandates drivers to let these go-getters poke around your car and screw your gas cap wrong (personal experience speaking there). Again, one of the many reason why Oregon«Washington.

This is the trick to unemployment rates and job growth indices; it is not always about the flat number, there should be more context to it. Are the jobs good? Are they part time? What is the quality of pay? Are they sustainable jobs? It is true that unemployment rates are low and job growth is going the right direction in America, but are these useful jobs that require real skill or are these a bunch of gas pumping, elevator operating gigs?

Anyway, I still cannot believe there was a time when there would be that guy in the picture above hovering over you as you go up 10 flights. And you think elevator etiquette is awkward in this day and age…….