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Thursday, February 5, 2009

SHTF: Post SHTF employment, jobs, skills and work

In light of my past post about surviving layoffs and today's economy. One of the SHTF forums I frequent brought up this topic for discussion.

Let me preface with an explaination what I mean by post-SHTF. I am not talking about the current economic or employment scenario we have today. Loading up a yard cart and going door to door in your neighborhood offering to sharpen saw blades might get you a bunch of odd looks and the possibility of a confrontation with the law.

Rather, post-SHTF employment and jobs means work after the economy has collapsed; i.e. no welfare, no SS, no Medicare, no paycheck or job to go to. The government is gone or limping along at the federal level with few if any employees and only a token head of state hiding in a bunker somewhere. The streets are either deserted and home to looters and thieves.

You and yours are living in a rural or suburban enclave and have to do business or trade with others to items you need.

So, that being the case, here are my list of realistic post-shtf jobs and employment.

- medical and dental work.
No, nothing complex, but basic medical treatment and advice. Doctors, nurses and dentists will have plenty to do, but will have to do their work without benefit of most drugs or electricity. However, having a doctor check a child and determine that indeed the appendix is in danger of rupture and surgery is required, will be a must have skill.
In addition, knowledge and skills with natural remedies will be priceless. But these homemade potions and herbs have to work to some degree, so don't plan on figuring out this skill after the SHTF.
Finally, any sort of related health skill will be useful such as massage therapy, accupuncture, chiropracters, midwife, etc. Those folks will have their "hands" full as hospitals and doctor's offices close.
A reminder, there will be no advanced medicine available or will be severly limited. That means high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, depression, etc will either run their natural course or the patient will have to adjust. Quickly.

- personal care
How often do you get a haircut? Once a month or every six weeks? What happens when Supercuts is a distant memory? Who wants to have head lice or scabies? People with hair skills will have their work "cut" out for them. Sure, Sonny can get a crew cut or butch with the home barber kit, but what about Mom or daughter?

- food production and preparation
Most people have brown thumbs and cannot produce a thing to eat from dirt. Those with gardening know how, or better, the ability to produce extra will have work out the wazzoo. That also applies also to those with canning, preservation, butchering and drying skills.
The hunter will have work, but with 300 million mouths in the US, wild animals will be overhunted and domestics will be the new food source. Take it as you will.
Raising chickens, rabbits and goats will be a cash industry post-shtf.

- labor of all types
Like it or not, most of America is soft and weak and used to having others do for them. Family men who cannot change a lightbulb or mow their own lawn. Mothers who cannot clean their home or do the laundry.
These are opportunities, as basic as they are, for the hardy do it yourselfer to offer services and training to these lost souls.
More advanced skills like sewing will be highly in demand. Basic work like taking in laundry will provide work for families.

- Mechanical, electrical, carpentry
If gasoline runs out, fixing the Escalade will not be in demand. However, keeping a generator or rototiller working will be.
Same with installing a basic power generation system using salvaged solar panels or an excersize bike and car batteries.
How about having those shot out windows fixed or the roof leak repaired?
Yes, having real fix it skills, not some shade tree service, will be in demand from skilled professionals. Having the tools, non-powered to do it, will also be mandatory. So stock up on hand saws and drills.

- security
The soldier of fortune, former police officer or even the black belt, former nightclub bouncer will have plenty of work.
Think of all the folks who are afraid of guns right now. Or have never handled one. Or the number of people who do not know how to defend themselves. Or know how to set up a defensive perimeter around a home, town or farm.
These skills and the mindset which accompany them will be priceless as your town goes to war between the haves and havenots, the raider and producer and the looter and survivor. Remember the TV show Jericho? The neighboring town attacked Jericho for farm land and food. Having a man like the Mayor who had combat experience made the difference when the town was under attack.

- scavenger
The ability to find hard to get products will be.. interesting. And potentially profitable.

Tell me. What skill do you see as needed and worthwhile to pursue after the SHTF? Remember, think what others will pay for, not what your dream job will be.


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