What will you do for a living?

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If we have electricity, telecommunications, banking, etc... I will continue working with these wonderful machines called computers. If that is no longer possible, I hope to use both my teaching skills and barter to make ends meet.

What about you, what will you do for a living?

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), December 26, 1998


That's a good question. Gary North has a forum devoted just to this, with a lot of good suggestions for low-tech economy employment (other than digging ditches) PostApocEmployment. North has also covered this in the most recent emailed Remnant Review, where he stated he'd become a local schoolmaster. Teacher sounds good, I have several advanced degrees including PhD, in technical subjects. Wife is a an advanced practice nurse, can prescribe, suture, the works. Of course, if we're really "back on the land" in a kind of self-imposed Pol Pot depopulation of the cities scenarios, maybe we'll be making or growing most of what we need for ourselves rather than being employed in any tradition sense. Suggestions I've heard include: My problem is, the more prepared I get, the less I can really make myself believe it will all go down. Is this y2k numbing, or "habituation" like the reduced effects of heroin over time, or what ? Just one reading of GN's introduction page used to give me enough scare charge for a whole week of furious grain ordering, aladdin lamp buying, wood splitting, etc. Now even repeated deliberate exposures to InfoMagic have little effect. y2k scare-inflationary spiral. I'm looking forward to the next Cory Hamasaki article "Why InfoMagic is a Pollyanna" to scare me into the next round of prep (though honestly I'm not sure what more I can do.)

Despite the obvious sincerity and intelligence of MOST people on this and other boards, it feels more and more like I'm part of just another special-interest or hobby group, like people who are into Civil War Re-enactment or any other arbitrary thing. But surely y2k will be more "real"than that ?


-- Runway Cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), December 26, 1998.

RC, maybe it'll be a real Civil War Re-enactment

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 27, 1998.

" My problem is, the more prepared I get, the less I can really make myself believe it will all go down. Is this y2k numbing, or habituation"

Same here Cat. Sometimes I listen to myself when I am "Y2King" to the FIs and DWGIs and know I must sound nuts. This whole thing sounds like bad science fiction, only its not fiction. I don't know if it is numbing or a type of saturation that causes this effect - perhaps it is some kind of psychological defense mechansim that keeps us from really going off the deep end. Maybe thats why we need a bigger and bigger shock (infomagic as pollyanna) just to get the same reaction we did with good ol' scary Gary.

You posted lots of good ideas for 'makes sense' jobs. I forgot about fishing, which is more than a hobby with me, and thanks for the cool link, Cat.

I am hoping that we can get lots of ideas from folks by hearing about what they will be doing.

RC: p.s. If you haven't read the Euro and Y2K thread you may want to since it seems that you and I are tied for asking the forums most vexing questions. (I think you win!) It is still active. LOL.

Bye for now, Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), December 27, 1998.

Hmm, Rob, Leska, let's see if we can get more reader/writership for this important thread through introduction of the following sensational, but completely true, story about post-apocalyptic employment.

I'm such a GI old-timer that I remember a post months ago on GN's forum, that appeared to be completely genuine, that surely should qualify as among the top 10 classic y2k posts of all time, if anybody survives to write the final history of y2k (Game Time: The Bug that Failed). This was from a lady, writing in apparent sincerity and considerable intelligence, who currently owns a massage parlor somewhere in the south. She wrote that she has a good number of employees and customers, and that as a practitioner of the oldest profession, she expected to remain in business. She then proceeded to write, in great detail, about her preparations at her place of business. It was actually more detailed, better thought-out tactical preps than many I've seen from the y2k pro's on these fora. She talked about propane fuel, wall and window hardening, visibility, contracting with local guards for defence, food and water for employees (who she expected to move in permanently for shelter), etc. She talked about her relations with the local law enforcement authorities and everything. And she got a number of responses posted offering further practical suggestions !

Well, regardless of what you think of the morality of it, it was truly a classic y2k post, and I wish I'd saved it for future historians. Perhaps some of you y2k fossils out there remember it.


-- Runway Cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), December 27, 1998.

RC, is there a search engine for GN's Forums? Somebody may help you find that post and then you can put it here, plus the follow-ups, so we can all learn more tactical pointers.

We too worry about what type of job we'll end up doing post-Y2K, should we survive. Imagine there will be plenty of tasks for all, rebuilding. It would be great to build long-lasting fortress/castles to stand as monuments to a willing feudal stepping-stone.

xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), December 27, 1998.

I think that my dad and I will be growing gardens and selling Non hybred seeds. If you think about TEOTWAWKI it could be a very profitble and helpful means of survival for the future. People must eat. You can only store so much food for only so long. I would much rather fend for myself than go stand in a government food line with my special "food card" or "mark" to sustain myself. Christmas is over, we will see more people waking up. This has legs of it's own now. You can't stop it. Many of you out there know what i'm saying, how I feel. You've been reading this forum long enough now. You've seen the awareness growing. I've watched people I work with that were dgi's suddenly "Get it". Not from anything I said about "It", but from 60 minutes or the local newspaper or some other magazine article. They are waking up and it will be a mad rush to the local wal-mart with shortages long before the big day. The only thing that scares me about this whole thing is what our government will do. Our freedom is the only thing that will get us through to the other side of this. Without freedom and the rule of law we are lost.We as a people will find out how strong we and our leaders are. Sorry I got off the subject. Lots of pent up feelings here tonight. Seeds. Plant a seed for the future. Rocky H

-- Rocky H (rharp1@webtv.net), December 27, 1998.

Speaking of more people getting it, and "Aladdin" lamps, I went to get some Aladdin lamps today, shelf of hardware store was bare, when I asked the lady said: "well, that's become a real popular item. A guy just came in and bought us completely out. I don't quite understand it..."

I do.

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), December 27, 1998.

You must understand that prostiutes and such folks are very practical - it is a requirement for survival in what they do. As for the moral side - is it more moral for me to deny someone the right to do as they please if it in no way affects me - or to try to punish them for offending me?

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), December 27, 1998.

"My problem is, the more prepared I get, the less I can really make myself believe it will all go down." RC, you have diagnosed my problem exactly. At first, reading of future calamity would send me running to the stores, and I loathe and despise shopping. But now, I too am beginning to feel like the nut, friends think I am. But, there are more people preparing than you think. I recently asked at the Mennonite store, where I buy bulk food, if y2k had increased their business. They said it had, but that most people didn't mention y2k.

Concerning work after y2k, as retirees, if everything goes kablooey, we will lose our income. But I can sew, raise a garden and can. My husband taught hand to hand combat during the Korean War and can fix absolutely anything. We hope this will see us through.

-- gilda jessie (jess@listbot.com), December 27, 1998.


The oldest profession is the oldest for a reason, and will continue as long as the Y2K impact is something short of extinction of our species. This brings up an interesting point in that for those members of society that are on the 'fringe' of society like these folks,and also drug dealers, bookies, etc.. They. are used to dealing with others and living just outside the box to some extent. so they can provide a valuable lesson to us who are the 9 to 5ers potentially. They would certainly have a different perspective to see all this from, don't you think?

Leska, Blue, Paul - What are you all thinking of doing post Y2K?

Rocky - Thanks for the thoughtful post, sounds like you have a good plan since we do in fact have to eat and if things get bad and stay bad for longer than each of us anticipate, you will be among the first to be of help to other folks who did not prepare in the way that you did. It is better to know how to farm/garden and have the supplies to do so, including the land, than jjust about anything else I can think of. How long will our stored food last? Will it be long enough?

THis reminds me of one of my favorite expressions: Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day - but teach them how to fish and you feed them for a life time.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), December 27, 1998.

Baker: cereal and acorn breads, tortillas, and chipattis.

-- Mitchell Barnes (spanda@inreach.com), December 27, 1998.

The numbing that was mentioned is not unknown. Myself and others have mentioned the vicarious enjoyment of planning and considering the future, after an initial terrible fear. It may be a subconcious conversion of that fear into something livable. What ever, I am thinking along the lines of nothing available on the store shelves after 10-1-99 and perhaps no store shelves after 1-1-00 but the feeling is that of a challange, not of panic.

What to do for a living >2k is something I have already thought about. You beat me to the question on the forum. Too many posts, so little time.

Besides the list above I would add soap maker and ink maker. It used to be lamp black that was used. What about toner carbon now? What was the binder to make it flow and stick? We must find quills and/or the old style dipping pens. Remember the ink wells built into school desks?

As for the soap, I've picked up a trial batch, about 12 lbs, of suet and rendered it down. Not gone further yet but so far, pretty easy. Book says we will end up with soap with glyserin and other qualities that exceeds that bought in stores.

Needed occupations would be nice to fulfill but more importantly, at least in the most dire of situations >2k, they might take on a "protected" status similar to that of the Red Cross during times of war. Like the Postman movie; messengers. Or perhaps jobs such as honeydipper, water filtration and delivery. Who would be inclined to wipe out a service that they themselves needed? Once or twice they may benefit in plundering but in the end they would be as bad off as those they plunder. One can only hope.

An Ice House might be a nice first attempt at entrapaneurism. As soon as the lights go out in January 2k, start chopping, salting and storing blocks of ice off the lakes. Must have the building, straw, salt and water supply and cutting and handling tools ready.

Steam power. If there are any tanks, pipes, steam operable mechanisms laying about behind the barn or scrap yards, that could in any manner be made to produce steam pressure or mechanical motion from steam pressure, oil them up now. Steam engines really aren't that difficult to build.

Steam engine disk shaped pistons are wrapped with hemp around their outer edge for a pressure seal against the cylinder wall. A connecting rod through a hole (sealed with hemp) at the end of a cylinder (perhaps an old water tank) will connect the piston to the crank and bring out the mechanical power. A couple of sliding valves, one on each end of a cylinder alternately apply steam pressure to push the piston from end to end. Of course you need a big fire, but wood, coal and oil have moved large ships and other major operations in this manner. It would be a very worthwhile engery connversion for sawing logs and other uses >2k.

Perhaps I'll become a real baker.


-- Floyd Baker (fbaker@wzrd.com), December 27, 1998.

Bagga, I'd be careful about perturbing Jerry with a name like Doughnut.

MoVe Immediate (who wonders why Bagga doesn't understand that "Crazy Eddie's" is an obscure reference for most of us)

-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), December 27, 1998.

Rob said:

You must understand that prostitutes and such folks are very practical - it is a requirement for survival in what they do.

Yep, and related to the question of the survivability of marginal people and petty crime, here's an interesting description from Steve Solomon's book Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, describing his relocation to Oregon (I have a friend just like Benny, and I'd rather have him next to me in a firefight than any yuppie I've ever met).

... I settled there, put in a big garden, learned to make homebrew, grew a winter garden, studied other money-saving self-sufficiency tricks, ... and started a seed business. I didn't realize that in certain Oregon fringe hill communities like Williams, Deadwood, and Lorane, perhaps 10%, in some places more than that, made a good portion of their living raising dope.

Benny was a local, hired for the day to help pour and finish the slab for my first little seed warehouse. He was small, quick, graceful and drank Bud steadily while he smoothed the concrete. There was something about him I liked, but I didn't get to find out what it was. Benny did his work and shyly left.

Later, the carpenters told me Benny was a Vietnam vet - Special Forces, highly decorated, too much combat, perhaps a little psycho - and, as I could see, vaguely feared.... When Benny decided I could be trusted, he revealed his real business [growing marijuana]... I began to discover that a lot of Lorane households containing folks under 40 grew pot.

... from the first, what I liked about Benny was that he was still a warrior, still dangerous, and a profiteer, which is a sort of warrior/entrepreneur with a dash of the criminal who wants something for next to nothing and who enjoys personal risk. ... I like and feel safer around uncivilized, dangerous people like Benny. It's the meek fellow, the kind most people feel comfortable with, that you can't depend on when life gets hairy.


-- Runway Cat (runway_cat@hotmail.com), December 27, 1998.

>>I like and feel safer around uncivilized, dangerous people like Benny. It's the meek fellow, the kind most people feel comfortable with, that you can't depend on when life gets hairy.<<


My sentiments exactly.

"Show me a man who has both feet firmly planted on the ground and I will show you a man who has one hell of a time putting on his pants."

I'll take the "Benny" any day.


-- sweetolebob (La) (buffgun@hotmail.com), December 27, 1998.

I'll do what I've always done, build or repair things for those who don't know how. If things get really sh!tty, even the "Road Warriors" like to drink beer, I'll make them some. ;)

-- Uncle Deedah (oncebitten@twiceshy.com), December 27, 1998.

Since Ive already changed careers about ten times this lifetime, its just one more opportunity to expand my horizons (low tolerance for boredom).

Id use my organization and management abilities for lots of things, in 1999 Ill be developing how to knowledge thats useful, I can teach camping skills and water purification, cooking over a campfire, definately love working in a garden and all things related (think Findhorn), I can hammer a straight nail, candle and soap makings fun, healing with herbs and aromatherapy, great on coming up with creative ideas and work-around solutions, not to mention the metaphysical side of the equation. Boy, there sure is lots of stuff one can do! I also plan to be part of a community group with complimentary skills, where ever I am.

This could be fun. *Sigh*


-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 27, 1998.

Another of the many perceptive observations from the forum. "Benny" would also be my kind of person. You know where you're at with a man like him. And its not necessarily a bad place to be. They tend to keep the rest of us honest.

My favorite story is of a guy driving down the road with a car approaching in the opposite direction. The second car has the high beams on and refuses to lower them after repeated flashing from the first car. This aggravates the man in the first car so he steers directly into the second car, killing the driver in a head-on collision.

The man in the first car happened to have lived but will people who hear the story be so uncareing the next time they have their brights on? A bit extreme of course but it does let people know there are people out there who won't take their sh*t. The world is a better place perhaps? :-)


-- Floyd Baker (fbaker@wzrd.com), December 27, 1998.

The reason Bagga doesn't understand that 'Crazy Eddie's' is an obscure reference, MVI, is because Chittum lives in New Jersey.....

-- (1@2.3), December 28, 1998.

1, Hmmm new blood. You might want to think twice about going cruller to cruller with the doughnut man. The Chittum ref tells me you're not that new. Try to stay on topic. The locals get very testy about that.

-- Jimmy Bagga Doughnuts (jim1bets@worldnet.att.net), December 28, 1998.

brewing alcohol for fuel, fixing small engines & vehicles

-- Jeanne (kenj2@aol.com), December 31, 1998.

If I ain't trying to fix the EDI my company transacts with Medicare and Medicaid, I will be a Bartender.

For free.

-- Lisa (nomail@work.com), December 31, 1998.

Worm farmer...or is that rancher?

MoVe Immediate

-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), December 31, 1998.

... rancher.

-- No Spam Please (anon@ymous.com), December 31, 1998.

Whatever happens to civilisation, there'll be scope for entrepreneurs. At worst I'll be scavenging metals or partially-destroyed goods from the cities, coming up with a use for them and selling the combinations at more than the individual bits are worth. At best I'll be running a vertically-integrated productive company that keeps the flame of capitalism going through the darkness.


-- Leo (leo_champion@hotmail.com), December 31, 1998.

I am working with a terrific group of people who are creating a conscious community. These are the new friends we've made in the VERY small town we now call home.

I'll probably be a "professional" forager and cook... creating new foods from available sources. Be part of a homeschooling team of parent/teachers. Join with others singing and playing instruments in front of a fireplace instead of watching TV at night.

I think "work" will have a whole new meaning after 2000. Work will be in the garden, making things by hand, etc. "Career" will probably be a retired word altogether.

-- Sara Nealy (saran@ptd.net), December 31, 1998.

Well, I asked for it and I got it. Lots of good ideas on the thread. Thanks Gang.

"I think 'work' will have a whole new meaning after 2000"

Yes, Sara. That was the whole idea of why I posted this question.

-- Rob Michaels (sonofdust@net.com), January 01, 1999.

Guys, has it occurred to anyone that most of us won't need to worry about that kinda stuff? The way I'm preparing, I'll have enough rice to last me for a couple of years, and the ability to grow enough food to be self-sufficient for as far ahead as I can imagine.

There are people out in the country who will be prepared for even more than this.

When you're going for self-sufficiency and survival, you're going to be Self-sufficient. Right?

-- Leo (lchampion@ozemail.com.au), March 21, 1999.


Not everyone who tries to be self-sufficient will succeed. There are not enough experienced farmers compared to the population that they support. It takes time , a long time, to learn. This is what carrying capacity refers to. The longer the bad times last, the more people will outlive their preparations and ability to be self-sufficient. They will depend on their skills, barter, and knowledge rather than self-sufficiency at that point. The majority of people have no intention of being completely self-sufficient anyway. If they are preparing at all, it is for a "storm", rather than TEOTWAWKI or anything even approaching that. Even we GIs are preparing at various levels depending on our abilities and expectations. This leads us back to Robs' question. Think about it.

-- (think@about.it), March 21, 1999.

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