As a '90s kid, I'm generally pretty pumped to be in the midst of the massive nostalgia wave known as the '90s renaissance currently flooding our daily lives. To be honest, though, I'm a bit bummed there are certain relics that didn't make the jump — think careers from the '90s that don't exist anymore. I may be able to once again rock matte brown lipstick without fear of being ostracized by my social circle, and I can even start my day on the right foot by chowing down on a bowl of French Toast Crunch the size of my head, but I'll likely never be able to land some of the jobs I so desperately wanted during that formative decade.
There are just some careers that didn't translate. Technology, not surprisingly, has much to do with the incompatibility of these careers, but it isn't the only contributing factor. Time marches on, and tastes evolve. Fortunately, people in the '90s had tastes so stellar they lend well to a resurgence — hence the many foods, drinks, fashions, and fads from that iconic time that are being resurrected at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, though, some of the jobs that seemed so critical during the '90s have since been rendered obsolete or tragically un-hip. Thus, career extinction.
Join me in taking a nostalgic look back at a few of the things we could have been, had things played out differently.
1. Video Rental Clerk
The rise of video streaming and online viewing monoliths like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime left little room for brick-and-mortar video stores to thrive. Why put forth the effort it requires to actually get dressed and stroll up and down endless aisles of a linoleum-floored video store when you can just cue something up on your laptop? While it's admittedly possible there are a few actual video rental stores left in the world — along with existentialist associates, a la Clerks or Scream — I think we can all agree that if this gig hasn't gone the way of the Dodo entirely, its days are numbered. Very few people are making it a Blockbuster night these days.
2. Editor at Sassy
Oh how I dreamed of landing a job at Sassy magazine when I "grew up"! It was the greatest teen magazine of all time, was it not? I imagined I'd one day be spending my afternoons interviewing the hottest new indie act on the music scene or writing snarky odes to dating in the grunge era. Alas, Sassy officially folded near the end of the decade, leaving me to mourn the life I would never have as editor of this groundbreaking girls' mag.
3. A Film Boxer and/or Mover
Remember that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire when Daniel — in a bid to get his life together and impress his ex, Miranda — goes to work at a television station? In one particularly memorable scene, he is wheeling a bunch of film canisters across the studio, presumably to be shipped, when he begins playing around with some toy dinosaurs from one of the sets. The CEO sees him, he gets to pitch an idea for his own show, and countless '90s kids thought, "Hey, being a film boxer-slash-mover doesn't sound so bad." We'll never know, though. Today's equivalent of this position entails compressing and emailing video files on sets. Seriously ... said person is called a Digital Imaging Technician, and that's their specialty.
4. A Pager Salesperson
Sometime after the '90s, society experienced a pager apocalypse. These anachronistic devices, which were once such symbols of social status, are now relegated to hospitals and other official capacities. As such, there's no longer a need to have seemingly super-hip young people hawking them from kiosks at the mall. It's a good thing Helga's dad from Hey Arnold! isn't still around, or he'd be looking at one heck of a layoff.
5. A Laser Portrait Photographer
In full disclosure, the company responsible for these comically bad '90s photo staples is still around. Like Glamour Shots on an acid trip, these memories captured the true essence of the '90s, making the photogs who took them the pinnacle of cool. I don't know about you, but I begged my parents to spend the extra five bucks it costed to secure this space-aged photo option. (I'm now reexamining my life choices accordingly.) No longer does LifeTouch offer the criss-cross, light-saber like effect, though, so if the '90s built your future goals around getting to create these guys, well, you're likely a little disappointed.
6. Host of Singled Out
Or TRL, for that matter. MTV mastered the art of irresistible to watch shows in the '90s — shows which launched dreams for '90s kids of one day being passed Carson Daly's proverbial veejay baton or taking over Jenny McCarthy and later Carmen Electra's oh-so-important role as matchmaker of hopeful and horny 20-somethings. Tragically, Singled Out fizzled out after only a few years. TRL managed to hold on during the early 2000s before going extinct, taking with it our childhood aspirations. Thanks for that, MTV.