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3/29/12

5 TEOTWAWKI Professions

A question came up recently in the comments thread, a new prepper looking for advice around how to prepare for providing for a family post-collapse. Here are 5 potential professions that are generally portable and would make a survivor a valued addition to a survival group, as well as provide great barter potential.

1. Food Production
Food production will be a hugely important skill in a long term collapse, and it's something that few people are skilled in these days. Even people who make a living through farming today will have a tough transition to a world with limited fuel-powered tractors, pesticides and so on. Knowledge and skills in food production--things like gardening, raising livestock, hydroponics, aquaponics, traditional farming techniques and related skills--will be hugely important to keeping communities fed and alive after a large-scale collapse. Knowledge is very portable, as are seeds.

2. Sewing
Hand sewing and the ability to repair and make a wide variety of things would be quite valuable. While the average person can probably sew a hole in their pants, can the sew up a backpack, chest rig, pants, tent, sleeping bag, shirt or similar? Probably not. As pre-collapse goods wear out and disappear, sewn goods will become very valuable. A sewing kit and associated tools is quite light weight, and cloth can be scavenged or bartered for. Though less mobile, a treadle/foot powered sewing machine would make life a lot easier.

3. Community Defense
The average American has little experience with weapons and defense, and when there's mobs of potential enemies roving the lands, those who do will find their services in high demand. Whether it's serving as a guard or defender, or helping train and prepare a community defense force for troubled times, people with skills in this area will have an easier time finding a place in a post-collapse world. Defensive weaponry, a trustworthy appearance and credentials would help.

4. Medical/Dental
Demand for medical services will skyrocket in a more dangerous, accident-prone post-collapse world. The traveling doctor, making house calls on patients, would see a resurgence. Formal training/credentials would be important, as would the appropriate equipment, and probably also a sound knowledge of natural remedies. Very valuable and likely to help keep you alive in many circumstances.

5. Radio Operator
HAM Radio operators are not exactly common these days, but they could be a source of information and communications with the outside world. A portable, solar-powered HAM set up and knowledge of communications tech would make a survivor a handy person to have around in troubled times. Access to information and the ability to send messages over a long distance would put your services in high demand.

There's five professions--I'll post up 5 more next week. To those interested, I'm sure my seasoned survival readers will have plenty of other ideas in the comments section,

24 comments :

  1. In an initial PAW event, I just dont see HAM radio operator as an in need position.

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    1. Why not? If there are people out there to communicate and swap information with, there's value. Hard knowing what is happening outside your immediate area otherwise.

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    2. Ham operators will be the life blood of most communities. They will be in the dark about what is going on otherwise. I agree with you all the way.

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    3. There's more licensed hams now than at any time in history I believe. If you think you might need one later, just look up their addresses today.

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  2. So glad you posted this! I was wondering what skills would be most valuable to learn. Can't wait to read the rest!

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  3. In addition to getting better at BBQ/smoking skills, I'm teaching myself charcuterie - making sausages and cured meats. I figure that (if there's food at all) if the food tastes good enough, I could do trades like a whole slaughtered hog for a cured ham or 2, and and in a pinch, neighbors might help watch my back to keep the sausage coming. :)

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  4. I'd add cook and bicycle mechanic to the list.

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  5. Even though I don't drink. Someone able to make alcohol and/or fuel would be highly sought after. I know there are ways to do it with a still.

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  6. Blacksmith,Carpenter,Tinker,Pottery Maker,Basket Maker,Gun Smith. Just a few of the many different things we will need. Teachers will be a big one too.

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  7. Community Organizer, Wolf.

    You forgot Community Organizer.

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  8. WOLVERINES!!!March 30, 2012

    Guess it would depend on how far back the collapse knocks us? 50, 100, 200 years? And also, is it just the U.S. or the whole world? I'd guess any large collapse would put us back to the 1950's or so atleast. I really wish my older relatives who grew up in the 1930-50's were still alive to play 20 questions with. So yeah, maybe village elder would be a useful occupation...they've been there and done that.

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  9. Community Organizer, love that one...

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  10. Energy technician,such as low tech lighting and REFRIGERATION will be big wants for ASHTF.

    If you have a masonry block machine (CINVA-RAM, etc.), the units will be extremely useful for building cisterns and hard structures.

    And don't forget messenger service, somebody with a bicycle and the young enough will likely earn some trade goods.

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  11. Something I used to see all the time when I was a kid was a guy with a metal lathe and perhaps a milling machine in his garage or basement. A lot of that industry is now done in China but there was a time when some communites made a living in this industry. Throw in a welder and you could make or fix anything.

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    1. Neat, if you have a large generator, fuel, access to falling water and a pelton wheel and belts or the material to make them and everything needed to tie it all to your lathe/mill! How about skills, hand files, calipers, etc., the things that were originally used to make the machine tools..........think, think....

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  12. Rastus McGeeMarch 30, 2012

    I feel suited to trapper, fisher , hunter, provider of and trader of hides and meat...as well as a beer/fermenter..

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  13. I would put mechanic high on the list. Someone who has knowledge of and can repair machines and small engines would be probably higher on the list than anyone else other than a doctor.

    Here's my thought process:

    Even if the collapse was caused by an EMP- lawn mowers, chain saws, tillers, basic generators, etc, would still run if I am not mistaken. Someone who can keep saws and generators running and those who have the mechanical and electrical know-how to use existing engines (lawn mowers, leaf blowers) to create power generation equipment would be a prized member of any group.

    Thoughts on others:
    a cook - definitely; but not necessarily a New York city chef, more like a grandma who could make a good meal out of minimal things and leftovers and who has experience canning food.
    a machinist - sure; if tools of the trade are available; someone who could make replacement parts for a gun or a bike.
    an electrician- if at all possible; someone with soldering skills to keep the radios and other gear operational by scavenging parts from discarded TVs, PCs, etc.

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    1. Small engine repair was my thought especially a traveling mechanic

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    2. You are, I believe, mistaken.Unless you are looking at the older gen of mowers, saws, etc., then electronics are used to trigger the ignition systems, and an EMP event would probably disable all of them! Older saws, mowers, almost any of the older motors, use points/condensers and a coil, and are really "cast iron." get some, a vertical and a horizontal, and you will be yards ahead!

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  14. What about water diviner ? All these suburbian houses that rely on the water pipes from a far away source will need a well, and it's far easier to dig a working well when someone has a clue of where to dig.
    In the old days, another job related to water was the porteur d'eau, someone who was carrying water in buckets from the fountain to the customers. Though you won't earn as much as a doctor with this activity :-)

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  15. Individual highly trained in Mechanical/Electrical Skills is going to be HIGHLY sought after in a PAW situation. One who is skilled in the repair of both electrical and internal combustion systems.
    Blacksmith with a REAL working forge is a must.

    Chemist?
    Carpenter?

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    1. Now you are getting real! I am a mechanic/auto electric system repair person(generators, alternators, starters) by design, and I always get a kick out of uninformed persons and their views. Give me an old generator and a motor, and I'll be making DC power quickly. Throw in an alternator and an inverter that were protected from the pulse, and you will have lights and AC quickly! All the modern conveniences(gas powered generators, etc) are nice, but they have "heels" and we should be ready to work around them.

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  16. Chimney sweep in cold climates, everybody will be heating with wood. also lumberjack with human powered ax- 2 man crosscut saw

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  17. Great list. I would definitely say that any of those professions listed would be in high demand for any group of survivors. Those are all things that would be needed that not many people really know how to do anymore. Even sewing, no one know how to sew anymore!(for the most part)

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