Nope. Not about the new name for Facebook that we’re all anxiously anticipating from the investor meeting tomorrow.
No, this is related to a conversation I had with a local hospital worker the other day. He’d graduated college last year and began working in his field of study at a hospital. He mentioned it by way of expressing his relief at being out of retail, which was how he put food on the table during his school years.
I told him that was kind of the reverse of my career trajectory – which had me doing some hospital work in college and then landing in a luxurious retail career. Don’t be jealous, it makes you look bloated. Then I asked him
when he was going to take his clothes off what department he was working in and he replied “Environmental Services”.
“Oh, I think that would be the department my job fell under, but I don’t think my job title exists anymore.”
He asked what my job was and I told him – again, don’t get jealous – “I was an Orderly”.
Laughing, he asked what I did, and when I ran down my job description he told me that job would be either an Environmental Technician or Patient Transport. Setting aside the reality that he’d never heard the word Orderly before, my college job was now two jobs?!?
Ok, sure. Why not? Hospitals are nothing if not job creators. Given the exploding size of our elderly population as the Silent Generation handed off the title of elderly to the Boomers, I can imagine the workload involved in getting patients to and from place to place within hospitals has grown significantly, so I’m game.
Maybe that was the reason behind the name change, too, but I doubt it. I mean, “Janitor” had already begun to morph into other job titles with some iteration of the word “facilities” or “maintenance” involved in the mix. Why couldn’t Orderlies remain Orderlies while the Environmental Technicians addressed the newly created role?
Now, picking up that whole thing we set aside earlier, this guy not being familiar with the term “Orderly”. C’mon, man…get out into the hospital! It’s an environment filled with “people of a certain age” who are loathe to let go of their ways and adopt new terminology. In that setting, he’s bound to hear patients loudly addressing someone as “Orderly”, talking about how Nurses aren’t supposed to be male, and mispronuncifying the word “Italian”.
He’s just not paying attention. That’s hardly the point, though. Go ahead, fly your desk.
It got me thinking about other jobs that have experienced a similar rebranding over the years. I easily came up with one from my retail career. When I worked in stores during High School, I was a “Clerk” or a “Stock Boy”. That last one didn’t survive long enough to transition to a gender neutral title – like Mailman did when it became Mail Carrier. No, my High School job became known as “Sales Associate”.
Whatever. It beats, “Hey, dumbass” as a means of getting someone’s attention.
What were Package Handlers called before they were rebranded? I think it was Delivery Boy/Person, but might be wrong…
The job title “Milkman” died before it had to address its gender bias. Now, though – at least in kooky Portland – it’s seeing a resurgence as people shift back toward locally produced dairy products. What are we going to call these folk? Artisanal Dairy Procurement Agents? Sounds bulky, and doesn’t really lend itself to an acronym…ADPA?
Another example popped up during a ride I gave yesterday. This young kid hopped in my backseat and almost immediately declared he recognized me from somewhere. Choosing to own my diminished desirability, I didn’t even entertain the option that we’d had a date of any sort. Not that he wasn’t delightfully right up my alley, aesthetically – although, I like to think I have a good enough memory to not forget that’s how I know someone. Instead, I assumed I’d simply given him a ride before.
Ok, I see now how that phrase works for both scenarios…still, I usually remember duplicate passengers of either stripe.
He said maybe it was because he’d seen me at one of his past jobs, back when he was working in restaurants before the pandemic.
“Did you ever go to Ringside?”
I laughed and told him I had not.
“No! I remember…it was Tanner Creek Tavern!”
Oof. Now, that’s a good memory. I told him that was indeed my usual hangout and asked him what he did there.
“I was an SA.”
“I don’t know what that is.”
“You know…a Server’s Assistant!”
I managed not to belch out, “Oooh, a Busser!” See how I got the gender neutral job title correct? I’m not a Boomer, after all.
“Hmm. Sounds more like a cart or a tray…”
Just because I’m not a Boomer doesn’t mean I can’t be mad that something with a perfectly fine job title has been rebranded to provide an ego boost to the worker. You want to boost their ego? How about giving them something to back up the level of esteem you purportedly hold them in and just pay them a decent wage? That’ll boost their ego, being paid like a human being. The median income for a
Busser Server’s Assistant is less than $20,000.
No? Sticking with the rebranded job title? That’s what I thought. Skinflint.
Look, I can’t say the title “Orderly” really described the job those people perform. But “Busser” kind of did nail the job duties expected of those individuals in that job. The believed origin of the original job title of Busboy is a shortened version of “Omnibus Boy”, meaning they were basically a Jack of All Trades for a restaurant.
Also, the most common tool of said trade is called a bus tub, so renaming their role from Busser or even Bus Boy/Girl calls into question all of the other job titles that use the main tool or function of the job itself in the job title. What shall we call Bus Drivers, Cooks or Electricians going forward?
Just kidding, those last two are easy: Cookie and Sparky.
How about Physicians and Doctors? If Masseurs became Massage Therapists, maybe Doctors should enjoy a similar rebranding to…Health Advisor? Although if you asked a Nurse, they’d probably opt more for something along the lines of “Overcompensated Do Nothinger”.
What rebranded jobs did I miss? Tell me what you’ve encountered out there in the working world – or what job titles should change!