Open Thread: In a Low-Tech, Post-Apocalyptic World What Would You Want Your Job to Be?

I asked this on Twitter last night, but thought it would make a good cross-platform discussion:

What would you want your job to be in a low-tech post-apocalypse?

I think I’d go with “messenger.” I don’t have a lot of practical skills, but I can run long distances and convey information. I haven’t read David Brin’s The Postman, but I think starting a postal service would be up my ally.


  1. Archivist monk, a la A Canticle for Leibowitz.

  2. brewmaster

  3. probably a Soylent Green ingredient

  4. Same as it is now – shaman.
    (Probably get better paid there.)

  5. Permaculture & farming infrastructure know-how is my hedge fund, without question. I was fortunate to inherit a modest account through osmosis, growing up in the Northeast Kingdom, but in the past 5 I’ve been getting back to it earnestly.

    I am willing to bet that hardcover copies of “Edible Forest Gardens” will be worth, like, entire truckloads of human beings in a low-tech future with 300+ million barely competent consumers scrambling to find a hustle.

    Dead-serious jokes aside, though, the work that John Todd has been doing up in PEI and here on UVM campus should be a part of the future mutant toolkit — “living technology” was his name for it, but it’s just deliberate, engineered bioremediation. There’s still a lot to learn and billions of permutations to experiment with there.

  6. Hunter

  7. For most of us reading this, job opportunities in a post-apocalyptic world are basically limited to corpse.

    A world where tech civilization has been more or less wipe out has a far lower human carrying capacity, even absent whatever specific events that made up an apocalypse. The survivors of disaster who are immediately screwed after disaster? Anyone who needs regular access to modern medicine either to live (diabetes, for instance) or has neurological problems requiring Big Pharma products for long-term functioning.

  8. Archivist, probably not of the monk variety.

  9. johnny brainwash

    May 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Hermit. Crotchety mad old hermit.

    Not too far from that now, come to think of it.

  10. Recently had a very similar 100+ comment thread about this on G+. It died down after a few weeks, but you should have been there.

  11. Messenger was always what I went with when I played this thought experiment in the past, but I think more honestly I’ll be the guy the new feudal lords keep in food and drinks cause I’m fun to hang with. Eddie Eventgoer lives.

  12. Troubadour

  13. Supreme dictator with minions galore.

  14. I often ask myself this, as in the 9-5 world Im a web developer, and I know that would possibly be the most useless skill-set post-apocalypse. I guess I would have to revert to skills learned in my wasted youth and become some sort of Farmer (Pharma)…

  15. Farmer – I have patience and a little experience at it

  16. I think I would still want to be a bookdealer, or whatever form of information broker was around in that new age. Though I do have a nice varied arsenal of primitive skills I’ve picked up… but honestly, depending on the nature of collapse, I think choosing one’s position/job would be even more of a luxury than it is now. I would, by default, and in no particular order, be: a farmer, a hunter, a father, a lover, a pro-creator, a handy-man, a scavenger, a teacher… you get the picture.

    And I highly recommend The Postman. I finally read that one last year, to further round out the ridiculous dozens of disaster novels I’ve digested over the decades. It was quite entertaining… and somehow I’d managed to avoid watching the film all these years, so that was a treat to watch Kevin Costner butcher the role after such a good book. There should be a term for that…

    anyway, enjoy it when you get to it. i’m going to steal your post for Last Earth Distro, I’ll let you know if anyone comes up with anything interesting.

  17. Just to present another perspective, my friends and I did NOT like the Postman by Brin. Discontinuous ending, for one thing.

  18. oh yeah, witch doctor would suit me 😉

  19. The blog title says it all…Healer, wise-man, and “wizard”. The Necromancer. Thus, of the somewhat maudlin variety.

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