Long time Swift reader Przemyslaw from Poland brought this to our attention and translated out of the original Polish:

On 24 February 2009 three Polish scientists, led by professor ŁukaszA. Turski, initiated an open protest letter to the Polish Minister of Labour against the official list of jobs and professions recently published on the web pages of Labour Offices. The protest concerns the fact that among professions such as engineer, scientist, teacher or physician in the list there are also "professions" such as: astrologer, dowser, fortune-teller, healer (here called "bioenergotherapist") or reflexologist. The list not only records the professions names but in a detailed way describes their nature and job tasks. For instance the record concerning a fortune-teller says:

*** Name: Fortune-teller

Code: 514903

Synthesis: Consciously using inborn abilities for dealing in the field of supernatural phenomena the fortune-teller insights into the future and past events by way of different forms of traditional fortune-telling such as: cards (especially tarot), kaballah, I-ching (according to ancient Chinese "Book of transformations"), chiromancy (fortune-telling from hand), catoptromancy and crystalomancy (foretelling the future based on mirror or crystal) etc.

Job tasks: - foretelling the future, sometimes revealing the past - depending on applied method and the level of knowledge - related with a specific counseling or psychotherapy; - giving advices relating to the missing persons or things; - explaining the background and conditions of phenomena described as supernatural.

"explaining the background and conditions of phenomena described as supernatural"? I believe they just called the JREF fortune tellers!

Additional job tasks: - using the abilities of clairvoyance, clairaudience, using medium support for fortune-telling, using telepathy, teleportation and drawing from information contained in morphogenetic fields; - using methods characteristic of astrology, numerology, psychographology or other biotronics domains. ***

Jeff comments: One wonders how they would verify whether or not someone is qualified for this position. I would suggest making all applicants pass the $1,000,000 Challenge before they'd be considered for a position.

The authors of the protest letter say that listing such dubious "professions" among the hard working people's jobs is a scandal and demand the removal of the questioned "professions" from the list.

The letter titled "List w obronie rozumu" ("Letter in the defence of reason") was published on the website of Center of Theoretical Physics of Polish Academy of Sciences. From 24 February to 2 March it was signed by about five thousand people (not only scientists). On 2 March 2009 the letter was printed and officially sent to the Minister. The letter and related materials can be found here (though in Polish): http://www.cft.edu.pl/protest/materialy.php

The reaction? The Minister, Ms Jolanta Fedak, says in a radio interview "Yes, that's true that a fortune-teller is in the list. But there are no immoral jobs such as a mafia member or a pimp." The minister added that also "the oldest profession in the world" (a synonym for "prostitute") will not be listed. When asked if she thinks a fortune-teller is a "moral job", she responded "Perhaps fortune-telling based on cards is a kind of deception but people simply enjoy it." However she also added that they are currently discussing in the Ministry if the questioned jobs should be removed from the list.

I will update you on the progress of the event.

Thank you Przemyslaw for reporting on that. Ms. Fedak seems more worried about morality than whether or not something exists, which makes sense perhaps. As for the defense of fortune telling as "people really enjoy it," can't I use the same defense for the undoutedly existing profession of prostituion?

By the way, here is the text for the job category underwhich Fortune Teller falls according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics here in the US:


Performing artists who specialize in the entertainment of audiences and clientele of establishments. Occupations found in this category include: Hypnotists (exclude medical), Ventriloquists, Magicians, Fortune Tellers, Stunt Persons, Clowns, Impersonators, etc.

I'm not sure what stunt persons and fortune tellers have in common, but the difference between magicians and fortune tellers is clear: one of them is being honest about lying to you.