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I am working on a book based on the first century, I need to know the types of jobs you'd need to be in the upper class, as well as the poor.

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    Being upper class meant that you didn't have a 'job', pretty much by definition, other than being in the Senate or elected/appointed to some upper-level government position. – jamesqf Mar 8 '17 at 6:15
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    Prior to the Industrial Revolution, "upper class" was almost synonymous with "landowner". "Job" was a lower class activity. I recommend that you look into latifundia, which will help you to understand the economy. You'll also want to understand client/patron relationships, the bread dole, and Roman gangs. – Mark C. Wallace Mar 8 '17 at 9:13
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    And of course, there is the "cursus honorum" but they were public offices and not "jobs" (and in fact, IIRC, many of them were not only not paid at all(except with bribes and other corrupt practices) but involved paying for the expenses of the position). – SJuan76 Mar 8 '17 at 11:37
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    Being implicated in a political conspiracy of some kind was a bad career move – Ne Mo Mar 8 '17 at 14:45
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    Ne Mo - Being implicated in an unsuccessful political conspiracy was a bad career move, but not a successful one. "treason doth never prosper what's the reason. If it prosper none dare call it treason." – MAGolding Mar 8 '17 at 15:41
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There is an ample evidence (from authors like Plutarch, Cicero etc.) that the only occupations which were considered appropriate for the Romans from good families were military, politics, administration, law and literature. (To be sure many of them were involved in business but they did not like to advertise this). Doctors, engineers, artists (including painters, sculptors etc.) and architects were definitely out of the list of desirable professions for a noble. Let me illustrate this by a cite from Plutarch:

In other cases, admiration of the deed is not immediately accompanied by an impulse to do it. Nay, many times, on the contrary, while we delight in the work, we despise the workman, as, for instance, in the case of perfumes and dyes; we take a delight in them, but dyers and perfumers we regard as illiberal and vulgar folk. Therefore it was a fine saying of Antisthenes, when he heard that Ismenias was an excellent piper: "But he's a worthless man," said he, "otherwise he wouldn't be so good a piper." And so Philip once said to his son, who, as the wine went round, plucked the strings charmingly and skilfully, "Art thou not ashamed to pluck the strings so well?" It is enough, surely, if a king have leisure to hear others pluck the strings, and he pays great deference to the Muses if he be but a spectator of such contests.

Labour with one's own hands on lowly tasks gives witness, in the toil thus expended on useless things, to one's own indifference to higher things. No generous youth, from seeing the Zeus at Pisa, or the Hera at Argos, longs to be Pheidias or Polycleitus; nor to be Anacreon or Philetas or Archilochus out of pleasure in their poems. For it does not of necessity follow that, if the work delights you with its grace, the one who wrought it is worthy of your esteem.

(Plutarch, Pericles I-II).

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