Sunday, August 9, 2015

What do you do for a living??

Work is work, everywhere in the world.  For most people, it means showing up somewhere at a given time, fulfilling doing specified duties and getting paid more or less money for the pleasure.  However, the name for a given job description varies from place to place and language to language.  Some professional titles are understandable only to the locals.

For examples, if you are employed in an American office as a gofer, you do not make holes in the floor.  Instead, you are a low paid employee, often the offspring of a regular employee, whose jobs is to bring items from one place to another, i.e. go for this and go for that.  For young people with proper legs and sufficient energy, it is not a bad way to make some money.  By contrast, if you are a sanitation engineer, the work involves waking up early, lifting weights and dealing with foul smelling items.  In simple terms, the person is a garbage man, an admittedly less attractive title.  At least in compensation, thanks to strong local union, such engineers do earn a nice salary even without the formal education.

In France, a verbicruciste plays an important role in society. S/he helps hundreds of thousands of people pass the empty moments of life in buses, trains, toilets and doctors’ waiting room, to name just a few, by writing crossword puzzles for their entertainment.   No doubt, every country has such selected public servants, but not many give them such a wonderful title. 

In Israel, every large organization, especially kibbutzim, must have a pkak.  Literally meaning a cork, such person must be a jack of all trades and master of none.  If he were the latter, he would not be a pkak. The job description is extremely wide and varied and can best be defined as doing anything that has to be done that is not specifically assigned to anybody or whose designated employee is not available for any reason.  In other words, the pkak does any job that has to be done now but for which there is no person to do it.  Having once worked as a pkak, I can say with certainty that the job is varied and appreciated.  In baseball, he would be called a utility infielder.

I would be interested in hearing about other unique professional titles in any language.

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