Hey trivia nerds, how many of these facts about money, work, and careers did you already know?
Who invented the resume, money, and the weekend? What’s the most common job in North America and what profession pays the most in Canada? Wonder no more.
Here are 20 pieces of trivia about work, jobs, and careers with which to pepper your conversation, or just because you’re a trivia nerd.
How many did you already know?
1. The word “salary,” meaning compensation or payment comes from the Anglo-French salarie and the Old French salaire, meaning “wages, pay, reward,” and from the Latin salarium, meaning “salary, stipend, pension.” This originally referred to “salt-money, soldier’s allowance for the purchase of salt,” from the adjective salarius “pertaining to salt.” Also a potential explanation for the expression that someone is “worth his salt.” (Source: Etymology Online)
2. Salt, peppercorns, cows, stones, clamshells, and beads are among the things that have been used as currency.
3. Records from around 2500 BCE show that the workers who built the pyramids at Giza were paid in bread and beer. The standard ration for a labourer, according to Tom Standish’s A History of the World in 6 Glasses, was 3-4 loaves pf bread and four litres of beer.
4. Leonardo Da Vinci is credited with writing the first resume. It seems unlikely that nobody wrote down a list of their skills and work history until the famous polymath did so in 1492, to send to the Duke of Milan, but that’s the way history tells it.
5. Julius Caesar invented the employee referral system. The story goes that in 55 BCE Julius Caesar offered 300 Sestertii to any soldier for recruiting another into the Roman army.
6. The first American factory to institute the five-day week was a New England mill, which did so in 1908 “to accommodate Jewish workers, whose observance of a Saturday Sabbath forced them to make up their work on Sundays, offending some in the Christian majority.” (Source: The Atlantic)
7. Canadian band Loverboy’s 1981 track “Working for the Weekend” is ranked #100 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s.
8. In 2010, Larrikin Music won a copyright infringement lawsuit against the Australian band Men at Work. The suit claimed that the flute line in the 1981 hit song “Down Under” borrowed from the 1939 song “Kookaburra”, the rights of which belong to Larrikin. A judge ruled that Larrikin was due 5% of all past and future profits.
9. Lawyer is the fourth highest-paid job in Canada.
10. The average wage for Canadian employees is currently $928 per week – or just about $48,250 a year.
11. The second highest-paid job in Canada is dentist. (The highest paid job in Canada is “specialist physician.”)
12. The earliest evidence of dentistry dates back to approximately 7000BC.
13. Retail salesperson is the most common job in North America. There are 1.9 million retail salespeople in Canada and 4,340,000 in the U.S.
14. Fabric mender is the least common job, and continues to decline.
15. Many of our last names come from the trades of our ancestors, such as Archer (someone skilled with a bow and arrow), Baker (someone who makes cakes and breads), Chamberlain (someone in charge of the household), Cooper (someone who makes barrels), Granger (the steward of a farm), Harper (someone who plays the harp), Mason (someone who works with stone), and Wainwright (someone who builds or repairs wagons). (Source: CNN)
16. The Netherlands has the shortest work week in the world at 29-hours. That’s a full 11 hours, or a day and a half shorter than the Canadian 40 hours.
17. In Germany, employers can require women to wear bras to work.
18. Emily Stowe was the first woman doctor to practice in Canada. She was granted her license to practice medicine by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario on July 16, 1880.
20. If you work 40 hours a week from age 20-65 you will work just over 90,000 hours in your lifetime.