How Useful Would Your Job Be if the World Ends?


Ann Coulter in her latest column says:

First, the taxpayer subsidizes the wasted human space teaching these moronic courses (at prices far outpacing inflation), and then the taxpayer pays the incomes of the graduates who are resigned to filling ever-growing no-show, self-paced and self-evaluated government jobs.

Who else would employ a graduate with a degree in Women’s Studies, Early Childhood Education, Physical Education , Sociology or Queer Studies but the government?

That last line harkens to a concept that occassionally returns to me – how useful or vital would your current profession and skill set be if civilization completely broke down? (The First Stage of a post-apocalyptic world)

Would you be able to do anything useful enough that you pull your own weight during the recovery stage? (The Second Stage of a post-apocalyptic world)

Would you even have anything to contribute to immediate survival or the decades-long task or rebuilding society – let alone a steady wage job – when there is no electricity, no government, no logistics, no time for leisure, and little or no rule of law?

What role would, say, a fulltime TV reporter have in the survival of her group wandering out in the mutant-infested, nuclear-irradiated wasteland?

How many government bureaucrats would be able to catch or find food in the safe-from-alien-ships woods, rather than just processing legislation strictly regulating such activities?

What skills could accounting or IT tech support bring to help fight off the coming Zombie Apocalype? (No offence meant to Louis)

Even if the worst has passed, and groups of survivors slowly start to rebuild the world, how long do you think it will be before a writer for a fashion magazine will be considered worthwhile to spend scant resources on?

Here are some of my educated guesses for various professions:

Soldiers, outdoorsmen, hunters – Obvious first picks for any group interested in survival. Law enforcement such as urban police would be less skilled in wilderness survival, but may have useful crowd control skills. And of course, any firearms on their person is a huge bonus.

Farmers – Unless they are already based in their well protected farmland, only useful in the Second Stage when food cultivation starts up again.

Engineers – Very useful if they’re the hands-on kind, much less so if they’re the design-on-paper kind during the First Stage. Both may be in high demand in the Second Stage as complex machinery is recovered and repaired.

Anyone in media, entertainment, journalism, any job that uses lots of paper – First Stage dead weight. Might have marginal niches in Second Stage where entertainment can be afforded to keep up morale. Might have an advantage in selling their bodies if they have good looks.

Anyone in communications, sales, politics – Largely useless, but their experience might give them a boost to negotiation skills.

Teachers – Second Stage when re-civilization is ongoing.

Athletes – Their skills are not directly applicable, but their physical prowess is generally handy. Depends on the sport too, American football obviously trumps snooker.

Ultra-niche college course lecturers like Ann Coulter snarks on – Our condolences, try again in another few hundred years when humanity has recovered enough to be able to afford to flush its limited, hard-fought resources down your toilet. May have consolation use as zombie distraction fodder.

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Similar themed from Pando Daily:

Lesson No. 1: In 2007, the first thing to go was the bullsh*t. So you better learn how to make something.

And, unfortunately, many of the cerebral jobs that were going to ambitious young people were right in the thick of it. This included young lawyers, who pretty much can’t get jobs right now. This included young people in marketing and finance, two departments that do not bring in revenue or keep the factories running.

But guess what isn’t bullshit… making things. There are millions of unfilled jobs in America, and most of them are careers where you actually have to make and build stuff. If you grew up in an affluent environment, then you see your software engineer friends getting jobs easily. But it’s not just them. There are countless labor jobs — everything from HVAC to plumbing — that still pay big dollars. But rich kids don’t even know what those jobs entail.

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Related from io9 via Pajamas Media via AoSHQ… Excerpt:

Your new world lacks the creature comforts of today – no electricity, no communication, no instant access to a plethora of information. Hell, the information that lies in your head likely carries little value.

Do you want to live in a situation where every day includes a dangerous search for food, your nights involve defensive formations to protect those in your community, and you never know what the next moment will bring?

And AoSHQ:

Learn a trade, preferably one where you can get paid on a cash basis. No matter how bad the economy, people still need welders, electricians and carpenters. Teach your kids, too. It might help them put food on the table someday.

As for me, I’m a giant hypocrite on this one. I’m not mechanically inclined at all. I’ve been making additional money writing for the last ten years, but that’s not a skill that anyone will be demanding in an economic crash.


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