In the mid nineties, when I landed a job as a regular columnist for a daily newspaper, I thought I had it made. From there I was going to start writing massive, hard hitting magazine features, then get a job as a columnist for a glossy. I would become an established writer with a respected voice. What could possibly go wrong?

Then the print industry went into a downward spiral. And, not being one of the best writers out of the thousands on the market, I found myself struggling to find work, as newspapers and magazines everywhere slashed their freelance budgets, then folded.

Newspaper reporter is now listed as the worst job for 2013, due to high stress, limited opportunities, and decreasing pay, according to a recent report. Print media journalist is a dying profession. 

So, I moved into online media, where writers are willing to work for free and undermine anyone trying to pay the bills. Making a living can be hard work. But I’ve been in the milieu my entire adult life, and changing now might be too daunting. Would I do things differently if I could go back? Maybe. Hindsight is a fickle friend.

It’s inevitable that a lot of jobs are going to go the way of the lamplighter, and you might not see it coming. Did the switchboard operator see long distance direct dialing coming? Was the aspiring scrivener to know that one day, pretty much everyone would know how to read and write? Seriously. What were the odds of that?

Want to avoid picking a job that’s just going to vanish? You could try sticking to one of those tried and true professions that has been around for thousands of years.

They say prostitution and politics are the world’s oldest professions. Here are eight others.  I can’t guarantee that there are or will always be vacancies in these areas. But the jobs themselves have stood the test of time.

    Carpenter: Jesus was a carpenter, meaning the job has been around for at least 2,000 years. It seems we always need someone to build something out of wood for us.

    Teacher: Since there has been education, which dates to prehistory, there have been teachers. The market is kind of saturated right now. Still, there are jobs. It’s true that Canada doesn’t need another English teacher. But it might need math, science, music and French teachers.

    Lawyer: Lawyers date back to ancient Greece. People will always sue each other and commit crimes. What to specialize in? According to, specialties that tend to remain in steadily in demand are “immigration law, employee benefits law (known as ERISA), patent and ‘intellectual property’ law, tax law and estate planning.” Why? “because the laws are highly complex and confusing.”

    Physician: People have always needed and will always need doctors. Recent word is that Canadian doctors are facing heavy unemployment, though this article says “Evidence in Ontario is mostly anecdotal.” It also says the issue depends on one’s specialty area. And, surely, there’s work for a good doctor somewhere in the world. One underserved area is geriatrics.

    Baker: One of the earliest known currencies, used in ancient mesopotamia, was bread. The other was beer (so, one should also add brewer to this list). And lately, as the western world has become saturated in foodie culture, there’s been an increasing demand for artisanal breads, cupcakes and other specialty baked goods.

    Engineer: Though the word has only been around since the middle ages, engineers have been around since the invention of the wheel, and before. Engineers built the pyramids, the Colossus at Rhodes, and Stonehenge. And engineering remains one of the most in demand professions.

    Dentist: Dentistry has been practiced since about 7000 BC. Have you ever met an unemployed dentist? Me neither. In fact, I’ve hardly met any dentists. Probably because it’s a fairly unpopular choice of vocation, meaning the odds of getting work must be pretty good.

    Accountant: It’s really hard to keep track of money. That’s why so many pay others to do it. Accountancy, says this site, “may be as old as civilization.” So, about as old as bread and beer? And accountants can’t be that far behind the invention of accountancy, right?

In the face of economic uncertainty and an ever-changing job market, it’s nice to know that there are some jobs that will always exist. (Y’know as opposed to these 10 doomed industries.)