Have you ever wondered how you will earn a living when you grow up? If so, you’re thinking about occupations. Children have always wondered what they will be when they grow up. Your ancestors might have recited this old jump-rope rhyme about occupations:
“Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor;
Rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief.”
|Old-time Occupation||Description of the job|
|1. huckster||A. drove a team of horses that hauled cargo|
|2. spinster||B. did cooking, sewing and cleaning at home|
|3. midwife||C. sold small items in a shop or booth on the street|
|4. milliner||D. made or repaired wooden barrels and tubs|
|5. keeping house||E. mended tin pots and pans and sold them|
|6. lavender||F. built and maintained mills or mill machinery|
|7. wainwright||G. washed other people’s laundry|
|8. teamster||H. made or repaired wagons|
|9. millwright||I. made or repaired shoes|
|10. cobbler||J. delivered babies and cared for the mothers|
|11. cooper||K. spun yarn with a spinning wheel|
|12. tinker||L. a carpenter or worker who sawed wood|
M. made or sold hats
Hint 1: Sometimes you’ll see part of the definition in the occupation word (like “saw” in sawyer). But be careful, this doesn’t work for some other occupations, such as milliner.
1. What occupations exist today that didn’t exist 200 years ago? Hint: Think about things we use that weren’t around then.
2. Not so long ago, women were only allowed to do certain jobs. Which ones in the matching game above do you think were usually done by women? By men? What about today: Do you think there are still jobs done mostly by women or men?
3. Where can you find out what your ancestors did for a living? With a grown-up, check a census record or obituary to see whether they mention occupations.