Beyond the Surface: 40 Eye-Opening Facts About Everyday Professions


1Worker's Safety

Worker's Safety

A woman named Frances Perkins was outside the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory during the fire and saw dozens of people jump to their deaths due to unsafe work conditions. She went on to become the first female Secretary of Labor and founded the Factory Investigating Commission to improve work safety.

2. During the Chernobyl meltdown, electrician Aleksandr Lelechenko saved his younger colleagues from radiation exposure by walking through radioactive water three times to effect emergency repairs alone. He died in Kiev hospital less than 2 weeks after the disaster.

3. The term “nutritionist” is not legally protected nor regulated, so anyone can advertise themselves as a nutritionist regardless of education or credentials. But “dietitian” or specifically “registered dietitian” legally requires education via credited curriculum and passing a registration exam.

4. Referring to a bathroom or water closet as a Crapper stems from Thomas Crapper. Thomas was an English businessman and plumber who made significant improvements to toilet design. He held 3 toilet patents and we still use most of them today.

5. Denmark was the first nation to pay worker compensation to women, nurses, and air hostesses, who had developed breast cancer after years of night-shift work in government-sponsored jobs.

6Rat Lawyer

Rat Lawyer

In 16th century France, a lawyer successfully defended a group of rats in a court of law, which accused them of eating the barley crop of local farmers. The court put up posters in nearby towns summoning the rats to court and asked the townspeople to move their cats indoors for their safety.

7. In 2017, statistician Nathan Yau charted divorce rates among various careers. Bartenders, flight attendants, massage therapists, and nurses had the highest divorce rates at around 45-50%. Meanwhile, actuaries had the lowest at 17%, followed by software developers, engineers, scientists, and eye doctors.

8. A woman named Irena Sendler worked as a plumber in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War 2, and saved over 2,500 Jewish children, smuggling many of them out in her toolbox. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and lost to Al Gore.

9. Math Duels were common in Italy in the 1500s. Mathematicians challenged each other to prove their mental superiority as well as to win fame and riches along with better salaries and more students. Those who lost would lose their job for the rest of their life as a teacher.

10. The only private building on the National Mall in the United States is owned by the American Pharmacists Association.

11Notre Dame Firefighters

Notre Dame Firefighters

Firefighters that responded to 2019’s fire at Notre Dame knew which works of art to rescue and in which order following a protocol developed exactly for such kind of a disaster.

12. There was an elevator driver strike in New York City in 1945. Up until then, people were afraid to use automatic elevators but the strike drove their mass adoption. The elevator driver job demand started to decline which ultimately meant their job is lost forever.

13. In the movie Legally Blonde, Elle Woods commits a huge ethical violation in and, in real life, she would’ve been barred from practicing law and may be subject to fines or prison time after she posed as a lawyer in attempts to get Paulette Bonafont√© custody over her dog despite only being a first-year law student.

14. Oliva Sabuco de Nantes Barrera (1562-1646) was a philosopher/psychologist who wrote at age 25 about human and animal psychology, especially on the effects emotions have on our health. Her hypotheses fall much in line with modern observations and likely contributed to today’s applied psychology.

15. A veterinarian is often the first to see signs of domestic and child abuse.

16Teacher's Stress

Teacher's Stress

Bad classroom acoustics and high loudness levels in the classroom can have a negative effect on a teacher’s stress levels.

17. The St. Patrick’s Day tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green arose by accident when a group of plumbers used green dye to trace illegal substances that were polluting the river. The dyeing of the river is still sponsored by the local plumbers union.

18. Barth√©lemy Thimonnier was a French tailor who invented the first (practical) sewing machine and opened the first machine-based clothing manufacturing company in the world. His factory was burned down by a mob of tailors who feared that his invention would ruin their business.

19. Draco was an Athenian lawyer who gave the city its first written code. The word Draconian originated from his name as his laws were so brutal. According to legend, he died due to his popularity. After giving a speech at a theatre, he was smothered when the audience threw their cloaks at him.

20. In 2012, an Indian nurse looking after the Duchess of Cambridge was prank-called by an Australian radio station pretending to be the Queen. This led to her revealing confidential information which was then broadcast on the radio. 3 days later, she committed suicide by hanging.

21Chernobyl Firefighter

Chernobyl Firefighter

The first firemen to respond to the Chernobyl meltdown stood above the burning core, which emitted radiation at 30,000 roentgen per hour. When they died a few weeks later, their bodies were so radioactive they were buried in coffins made of lead with the lids welded shut.

22. Executives at McGraw Hill were curious to find out why their accountant was on television racing a McLaren F1 GTR, chartering Concorde trips and showing up to work in a Ferrari. Turns out he had been embezzling £2.8 million from them the past 5 years since he was recruited.

23. Colin Murdoch was a New Zealand pharmacist who made a number of significant inventions, in particular the tranquilizer gun, the disposable hypodermic syringe, and the child-proof medicine containers.

24. In the mid-19th century, a fight between clowns and firemen blew up into a full-scale riot and led to the entire Toronto police force losing their jobs.

25. There was a spate of waiters poisoning poor tippers in Chicago in 1918