I thought this particular job was unusual, but I can certainly see how it was needed by many. In fact, it might be a good idea to have something like this when the grid goes down!
Imagine a world without your cell phone. Now imagine a world without alarm clocks. How would people get up in the morning? Thankfully, Britons had knocker-ups or human alarm clocks to help. Working-class folks depended on knocker-ups to run around town at a predetermined time in the morning and wake them up.
Since many working-class folks lived in tall apartment buildings, knocker-ups could not simply pound on the door a few times and move along. Instead, knocker-ups utilized long metal-tipped poles to knock on slabs of slate placed near bedroom windows. Customers would write the time they wished to be woken up on the slate slabs.
Diligent knocker-ups would not leave the window until the customer woke up. This left the embarrassing possibility that a client spent the night at a brothel and the knocker-up banged for hours and hours and then the whole village knew.
Nice factories even hired their own knocker-up to make sure their workers were on time for their soul-crushing Industrial Revolution jobs. Knocker-ups could not fight the rise of technology and, once alarm clocks came, they became completely obsolete.
Now days it would take a brave man to have this job around a Houston neighborhood. Either that, or he would have to be armed!
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies on the plate there!