If Job had a different job, what job would Job have?
August 8, 2017 1:56 PM   Subscribe

What is Your Opposite Job? What if you could start over and take the career path most different from the one you’re on? Type in an occupation and find out its opposite. The gizmo uses the Labor Department's skills and tasks database to figure out the polar opposite of a listed occupation.
posted by storybored (116 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ha, I just went to post this! Fun, but mine didn't make much sense to me. I'm a midwife and it said my number one least-used skill is "reaction time." As anyone who's caught a baby can tell you, cat-like reflexes are crucial to the job, and something we use every day!
posted by stillmoving at 2:04 PM on August 8 [13 favorites]


It has no job category that contains the words "Web" or "Internet", and the choices for "Programmer" are very limited.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 2:06 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


If this really uses data from the Labor Department, their categories need drastic updating.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 2:08 PM on August 8 [19 favorites]


I guess I'll never be a model. Way to crush my hopes and dreams, New York Times!
posted by ckape at 2:11 PM on August 8 [10 favorites]


"The opposite job of a librarian is a model. ... Librarians use these skills the most: 1. History and archeology ... Models use these skills the most: 1. Ability to maintain balance ..."

Yeah, that sounds about right.
posted by maudlin at 2:11 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


> The opposite job of a biological scientist is a model.

Sez you

On preview: double jinx!
posted by quaking fajita at 2:12 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I write code for mobile phones. What is my job?
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:12 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Oh my god I totally guessed my opposite job
posted by bq at 2:13 PM on August 8


I write code for mobile phones. What is my job?

I dunno. How's your Blue Steel?
posted by maudlin at 2:14 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


Ha! Lots of other librarians checked this out as well, I see.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:14 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I think Computer operator is their category for all things like software engineers and whatnot.

This might be superficially fun, but I think it's deeply dumb. Not the implementation, the underlying question.
Like asking "What's the opposite of lasagna?"

Though I do quite enjoy some aspects of it. For instance:

Physicists use these skills the most:
1) Physics
posted by aubilenon at 2:14 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


Closest I could find was "Computer Operator" which also has Model as its opposite.

I'm guessing Model is probably the opposite of lots of jobs, as it is probably one of the most non-standard jobs I can think of.
posted by Hamusutaa at 2:15 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


It seems that everything eventually devolves to being a model.

The opposite job of a tax preparer is a physicist,
but the opposite job of a physicist is a model.

For a minute, I was pumped about the modeling profession, but apparently there's lots of competition now.
posted by yhbc at 2:16 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


THE OPPOSITE OF LASAGNA IS SUBLIMATION
posted by bq at 2:16 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


The opposite of lasagna is Tuesday.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:17 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


There is a note at the bottom that model and physicist are the most common opposites. Or not really opposites really, just the ones that are the furthest apart in some hypothetical skill-space.
posted by ckape at 2:17 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Non-model opposite:

The opposite job of an actuary is a slaughterer and meat packer.
posted by bassooner at 2:19 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


Agricultural Graders use these skills the least:

2. far vision
4. near vision

hmmm
posted by Emmy Rae at 2:22 PM on August 8 [12 favorites]


Opposite of a legal assistant is a surgeon. Trust me, like a surgeon, I've got a good handle on delicate manipulation and work among people who trip on power.
posted by WCityMike at 2:22 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


And yet the opposite of physician and surgeon is agricultural grader. This doesn't track.

Also, if my least used skill is repairing mechanical equipment then WHY AM I THE ONLY ONE THAT FIXES THE DAMN PRINTER EVERY TIME???
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:24 PM on August 8 [18 favorites]


My job, "scientific illustrator", is already full of opposites. I suppose the opposite could be "artistic scientist", which means I'd be doing a lot of this kind of wonderful nonsense.
posted by Kabanos at 2:25 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


The opposite of historian is lumberjack.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:26 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Oh this is interesting:

The opposite of Bon Vivant is Community Weblog Moderator.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:27 PM on August 8 [17 favorites]


Glad to see myself and many other professional musicians I know are our own opposites. (I know so many science types that moonlight in the performing and fine arts.)
posted by Wossname at 2:31 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


How is "professor" not a job?
posted by somedaycatlady at 2:33 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


The opposite job of an actuary is a slaughterer and meat packer.

These jobs are opposed along the Rovian "reality-based" axis: while the actuary observes the world and tries to calculate the risk of death, the slaughterer acts boldly to make it happen.
posted by The Tensor at 2:33 PM on August 8 [16 favorites]


Social Scientists and Related Workers use these skills the least

[...] 10. Social perceptiveness


A colleague once suggested that a lot of us are in our field because we look at normal human interaction and go "Oh wait, how does that work?". So, um, yeah.

(The opposite was "Car Washer", for what it's worth)
posted by damayanti at 2:34 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


The opposite of lots of jobs is Model, and the opposite of Model is Physicist. The real question is whether iterating on the opposite function will always converge to a model/physicist cycle or if other cycles exist.
posted by Jpfed at 2:35 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


They don't list "cat herder", not sure how to proceed.
posted by cortex at 2:35 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


there's also a "Chief Executive" "Agricultural Gardener" cycle
posted by idiopath at 2:36 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


How is "professor" not a job?

Drug mules also got shorted.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:36 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


> The opposite job of a writer and author is a mobile home installer.

Well. Let's not be hasty.
posted by ardgedee at 2:36 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


The opposite job of a civil engineer is a slaughterer and meat packer. Ooookkkkaaayyyyy.
posted by lordrunningclam at 2:38 PM on August 8


I have to disagree with repairing mechanical equipment as a librarian's least used skill. I am constantly fixing things: the photocopiers, the microfilm machine, the locking mechanism on the reference desk drawer!
posted by interplanetjanet at 2:41 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


You can also take a quiz based on the DoL database that straight up tells you which jobs best fit your temperament. I'm apparently meant to be a model, a floral designer, a private household cook, a music therapist, or a "sewer, hand."
posted by Iridic at 2:42 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


The opposite of my job is an agricultural grader. But the opposite of an agricultural grader is a chief executive. And the opposite of a chief executive is still an agricultural grader. The lesson here is that I really should be a chief executive by now, and also fuck this, I'd make a great model!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:42 PM on August 8 [4 favorites]


The opposite job of a writer and author is a mobile home installer.

The mobile home installer knows how to finish a storey.
posted by zamboni at 2:44 PM on August 8 [25 favorites]


How is "professor" not a job?

You're so smart, why don't you tell us, professor?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 2:45 PM on August 8 [14 favorites]


I've held jobs with both model and physicist as their opposites. This makes sense to me.
posted by asperity at 2:47 PM on August 8


They don't have user experience designer so I put in the closest match which is graphic designer and I got physicist, I guess like everyone else. But the funny thing is that I use almost all the skills attributed to physicist.

The other closest match, commercial & industrial designer got model, and I guess that one does add up.

Somebody should have really tested this better before putting it live.
posted by bleep at 2:48 PM on August 8


The opposite job from Artist is Physicist. So...by association, does that mean I am also a Model?
posted by sexyrobot at 2:49 PM on August 8


They don't have comedian, clown, funny guy, or smart ass. So all my guidance councilors were wrong.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:50 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


"Data scientist" (my title) is not a choice. I'm thinking the opposite of that would be anecdote artist (is that another name for comedian?) The opposite of "statistician" (which is what I really am, but if they want to call me a data scientist and pay me more I'm not complaining) is an agricultural grader.

The funny thing is that some data scientist somewhere is probably working on coming up with models to put agricultural graders out of work.
posted by madcaptenor at 2:50 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I'm not seeing any opposite job for robot. Null set or universal set?

And OMG, Iridic: I tried that test, got my interest profile, and checked out jobs fitting that profile that I could do with little or no preparation. Results:

1. Hunters & Trappers
2. Models

I give up.
posted by maudlin at 2:51 PM on August 8


Opposite job of Computer Hardware Engineer is Dry Cleaner Presser, even though those are the only types of people I've seen pulling out unlabeled spray cans and squirting them on stuff to see if it helps.
posted by w0mbat at 2:51 PM on August 8 [8 favorites]


The opposite job of "Best of the Web" appears to be "NYT column writer".
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:52 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


"The opposite job of a news editor is a model." Ouch. I know they talk about a face made for radio and all, but...

The closest I could get to project manager: "The opposite job of an architectural and engineering manager is a model."

Really I guess I'm just a computer operator, and same deal.
posted by limeonaire at 3:05 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The opposite job of a computer and information system manager is an agricultural grader.

I always thought that was a piece of machinery, not a job.
posted by GuyZero at 3:06 PM on August 8


Metafilter: the opposite of lots of jobs is Model
posted by ovenmitt at 3:07 PM on August 8


The opposite of historian is lumberjack.

Apparently the opposite of customer service representative is also lumberjack.
posted by Fizz at 3:07 PM on August 8


I'm hoping this is the result of a dare or a bet, lost.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:10 PM on August 8


What I'm learning here is that the Department of Labor has no idea what jobs people do or what those jobs entail.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:15 PM on August 8 [9 favorites]


"Model" being the "opposite" (farthest away on some theoretical plot of skills) seems to imply that modelling uses a relatively unique set of skills and that it is itself a unique job.

It also seems to imply that they poorly defined the term "opposite."

For example, Hawaii is the furthest state from most (if not all) other US States. However, while one might expect Maine and Hawaii to be opposites, but one wouldn't expect every state's opposite to be Hawaii. That's a useless definition, and not even fun.
posted by explosion at 3:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


> The real question is whether iterating on the opposite function will always converge to a model/physicist cycle or if other cycles exist.

Spoken like a mathematician, whose opposite is a mine shuttle car operator, which falls directly into the physicist/model attractor.

But as a physicist, I have to quibble. Physicists model all sorts of things! Me? I model jgenes. *sashay*
posted by Westringia F. at 3:21 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


The opposite job of a civil engineer is a slaughterer and meat packer. Ooookkkkaaayyyyy.

I didn't get that either.

It turns out there is no opposite-job for "student".
posted by curious nu at 3:21 PM on August 8


The opposite of Hawaii is Alaska. The opposite of Maine is California. The opposite of Washington is Florida, except that the opposite of Western Washington is Eastern Washington.

I totally want to be a Hunter & Trapper Model. What does that entail?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:24 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


Wait -- why does "mathematics" appear twice (6th and 8th) on the list of skills physicist use the most? Even mathematicians don't use that much math!
posted by Westringia F. at 3:29 PM on August 8


I think it's a dig. I think they're suggesting you should maybe sharpen up your math skills. Clearly this was written by an engineer.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:32 PM on August 8


I always wanted to be a lumberjack.
posted by yhbc at 3:34 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


And that's OK.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:37 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


The opposite job of an electrician is a high school principal.

Looks pretty good though I do have some issues with the top 10 tasks of an electrician. Some of the skills sound like something out of the 60s (telecommunications as a skill, what does that even mean) and we use computers all the time so having computer use as our third least used skill is pretty out of date.

maudlin: ""The opposite job of a librarian is a model"

Wait, I thought half of all librarians are models; has Hollywood lied to me again?

aubilenon: "Like asking "What's the opposite of lasagna?"
"

A raw piece of whole fruit.

Iridic: "You can also take a quiz based on the DoL database that straight up tells you which jobs best fit your temperament. I'm apparently meant to be a model, a floral designer, a private household cook, a music therapist, or a "sewer, hand.""

We took a similar placement quiz in highschool and all the techy, computer geek guys had "Wine Taster" as one of the recommended top 5 jobs. I don't necessarily disagree with the suggestion but pushing some random student into pursing a job in wine tasting seems irresponsible.
posted by Mitheral at 3:41 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


"The opposite job of a librarian is a model"

Model is also the opposite of both airline pilot and art director.

Most of the jobs I have had do not have entries (not entirely unsurprising, as my last full-time job, I was literally the only person on the planet with that job title). I plugged in all the ones that did have hits and the thing that I learned each time: I was not cut out to be a physicist. Of course the long-suffering Mr. Ryder, marking my physic tests in tenth grade, could have told you that.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:49 PM on August 8


Apparently I am in a quantum state of both having a job (civil servant) but also not being recognised as having a job (no results with any combination or variation of relevant words) so I am already doing my opposite job, I think?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:54 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The opposite job of a graphic designer is a physicist.

I'm right there with kindergarten teachers.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:58 PM on August 8


well well well. now that I know the occupation of my bizarro-world archnemesis, unremarkable cow tektite, tracking her down will be that much easier

she's out there, somewhere, sorting agricultural products according to size, quality, and type...
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:13 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


The opposite of a machinist is a chief executive. I guess I could buy that. Looks to me it's the difference between making things, and making things happen.
posted by 2N2222 at 4:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Take this one step further and find out where your opposite job would be.
posted by AFABulous at 4:18 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I totally want to be a Hunter & Trapper Model.

I'd rather be a Trapper Keeper model.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:20 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The opposite job of a graphic designer is a physicist.

This was about as spot-on as could be.

In 7th grade (70s) we had to take a job aptitude test, and I got priest or nurse. Which, no.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:29 PM on August 8


My opposite job would be if I were paid to comment on MetaFilter, but instead I was always off doing [REDACTED].
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:30 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I had to try like 8 things before I found something that could conceivably be my job. (Definitely no instructional technologist, but also no instructional designer, or technical trainer, or trainer of anything except athletes and dogs.) But apparently agricultural grader is a thing.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:32 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


"Model" is also the opposite of "Radio and television announcer", probably based on the classic wisecrack "great face for radio".

The opposite job of "Best of the Web" appears to be "NYT column writer".
Actually, it's "The Upshot", which is the NYT's fully-automated device for creating web content with high clickbait potential for desirable demographics. Although "Thomas Friedman's cab driver" may also apply.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:39 PM on August 8


The opposite of an architectural drafter is a model.

OK.

The opposite of an architect is slaughterer and meat packer.

Hmm.
posted by mightshould at 4:42 PM on August 8


So nothing for "professor" or "faculty" or "university" or "college" or "higher education". Humph.
posted by erniepan at 4:44 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


That'll teach you. Or not.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:45 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


I would be, apparently, a model. I didn't realize this is the opposite job for a producer. And since they don't have "multimedia producer" as a choice, I had to stick with the overarching category.

But honestly, I'm glad I saw this if only for the list of transferable skills, and I will be revising my resume shortly with the help of that list.
posted by droplet at 5:08 PM on August 8


I suppose Hedy Lamarr was the most opposite person who ever existed.

On another note, I have many quibbles with their idea of what an "illustrator" is and does, so I guess I am just another misunderstood artist after all.
posted by shalom at 5:10 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


The opposite job of a mathematician is a mine shuttle car operator.
The opposite job of a mine shuttle car operator is a physicist.
The opposite of "involution" is "not an involution".
posted by Wolfdog at 5:14 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


(Speaking in my capacity as a mine shuttle car operator)
posted by Wolfdog at 5:15 PM on August 8


The opposite job of an urban and regional planner is an agricultural grader.

Well, duh.
posted by she's not there at 5:31 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The opposite of a choreographer is a physicist. Number four on a physicist’s list of most useful skills is “ability to organize groups in different ways”. Um... that is literally 50% of a choreographer’s job.
posted by sixswitch at 5:37 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


They means groups as in groups, fields, rings and other algebraic entities.
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


They can't organize sets in different ways though because of there was a comparison operator then it would be a group.
posted by GuyZero at 5:40 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


You'd be surprised, most of the theory of modern ballet is basically derived from SU(3) × SU(2) × U(1).
posted by Wolfdog at 5:54 PM on August 8 [6 favorites]


The opposite of a member of the clergy is a car washer. Given the current condition of my car, I'd say that checks out.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:58 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I can see that. If your job is to gather your flock, you're going to have a seriously messy car!

/traumatized car owner who is forced to park under a crow hangout
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:17 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Apparently the opposite of a Home Health Assistant is a Physicist.

Which suggests that Neil deGrasse Tyson is my nemesis. I like this.
posted by Archelaus at 6:22 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The opposite of art director is also a model, which is interesting because I was a model prior to becoming an art director. Is the circle thus complete? Can I change careers completely?
posted by Hermione Granger at 7:01 PM on August 8


The opposite of an historian is a lumberjack because a historian leaves the present and the lumberjack presents the leaves.
posted by storybored at 7:16 PM on August 8 [11 favorites]


oh can y’all mathsplain some more?

because the ‘groups’ pun was the only reason i posted. but i guess i didn’t make it obvious enough for you chuckleheads.

maybe we can do some warmups, all together, to get back to a good place. like... plié groups.
posted by sixswitch at 7:34 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


fwiw, i rolled my square roots of negative one too, sixswitch
posted by cortex at 7:45 PM on August 8


The opposite of art director is also a model, which is interesting because I was a model prior to becoming an art director. Is the circle thus complete? Can I change careers completely?

I reckon you can retire and be proud.
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:45 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


The opposite of historian is lumberjack.

I dunno what manner of historians you hang out with, but I with my beard, power tools, incredibly useless grasp of tons of obscure facts about three separate art movements and flannel politely disagree...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:49 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Physicist is the opposite of graphic designer, medical transcriptionist and kindergarten teacher, among other things. But the only opposite of physicist is model. This hurts my brain.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:14 PM on August 8


Metafilter: Three separate art movements and flannel
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:42 PM on August 8 [5 favorites]


Another librarian/model, here. That truly would be Opposite World.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:51 PM on August 8


I went with one of my adventure jobs from my 20s because my current job is safe and boring and opposed by models in this game: fishers and related fishing workers. #1 characteristic is "glare sensitivity" which yeah, I was a great sunscreen applier and also I was good at dodging the skipper's ire. The opposite is Physicists, with Physics at #1. Okay, maybe book learning Physics. Boat people eventually gain an intuitive felt sense of Physics. (Not me though, which made the job an adventure for everyone else on the boat, too.)
posted by notyou at 9:06 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


Lumberjack. YES (bored customer service peon here)
posted by soakimbo at 9:14 PM on August 8


This appears to contrast my role's "coordinating the work and activities of others" against the agricultural grader's "finger dexterity." Now how do they think I do all this coordinating with out dextrous pointy fingers?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 9:14 PM on August 8 [3 favorites]


The opposite job of a computer operator is a model

Harsh
posted by jcruelty at 10:04 PM on August 8


So the opposite of a chemist is a model.

If you are one of the other professions that got that, I happen to know that you are not as opposite as we are. The NYT telling me this is actually a second data point, confirming this research on Crooked Timber about our profession's physical beauty.
posted by mark k at 10:39 PM on August 8


Preschool teacher, like kindergarten teacher (and many others), is also opposite physicist. However I'm not sure they've got a very good grasp of what a preschool teacher does, considering my "least used" skills include

- Finger dexterity
- Troubleshooting
- Reaction Time
- Design
- Peripheral Vision
posted by emmling at 6:40 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


The opposite of historian is lumberjack.

posts a treatise
vs
tree 'tis a post
posted by Kabanos at 8:16 AM on August 9 [8 favorites]


I assume this means I can stop janitoring and seamlessly transition into any other field that is the opposite of physicist. Kiss my pre-school teaching runway model ass, losers!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:50 AM on August 9


No joke, I (PhD chemistry, working in IP and commercialization) often fantasize about going into: metalworking, welding, heavy construction, or custom effects pedal design and production these days. Hanging out with my father-in-law and all his heavy equipment and welding rigs will do that I guess.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:55 AM on August 9


Lumberjacks have no opposite career. Conclusion: eventually we'll all be lumberjacks.
posted by whir at 9:28 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


In principle, it should be possible for a career to be self-opposite, if it entails lots of polar pairs of skills.
posted by Wolfdog at 11:19 AM on August 9


Wolfdog, I think there's no notion of polar pairs of skills, and they just consider a job's opposite to be the job whose requirements overlap the least. In which case there couldn't be a job that's its own opposite.
posted by aubilenon at 11:36 AM on August 9


But a Guidance Counselor would be its own apposite.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:05 PM on August 9


Lumberjack is my opposite, to wit, artists' representative.
posted by bq at 12:32 PM on August 9


In which case there couldn't be a job that's its own opposite.

Unless there's a job that requires all skills uniformly (e.g. undercover kindergarten cop).
posted by Jpfed at 12:43 PM on August 9 [2 favorites]


Is Kansas the state furthest from Kansas?
posted by aubilenon at 2:44 PM on August 9


No, that would be Oz.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:58 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Nurses don't frequently use the "ability to time movements in anticipation of moving objects?" Has anyone from the Department of Labor ever been to a hospital?
posted by jesourie at 9:35 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Sounds like they are talking about the sort of rapid hand eye coordination needed to hit a ball with a stick. Is that sort of thing something nurses do a lot of?
posted by Mitheral at 1:05 PM on August 10


Mostly I was thinking about ducking to avoid thrown objects or flailing limbs while simultaneously attempting to perform delicate tasks like drawing blood or passing surgical instruments. There's some rapid hand-eye coordination involved in that.
posted by jesourie at 2:01 PM on August 10


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