Friday, February 29, 2008

Growth careers

Will attorneys, cosmetologists and life coaches be employable in the future? How about hedge fund managers and kitchen designers, oh my? Even my own profession, neuromuscular massage therapy, which I think will be extremely useful when drugs and surgery are no longer an option, will not exist in the same form anymore.

Here's my take on some careers that may be exploding in the near future:

1. Thrift store owner / Resaler

Since nearly every consumer product in the future will be sold in a thrift/consignment store, there will be a lot of opportunities to start such stores. At least one every few miles will be needed, since people will not be able to get much further without cheap and readily available fuel. What might be useful? How about used tools or other specialty items? Any type of store that helps people "do it yourself" will be appreciated.

2. Brewmaster

I predict the demand for beer will not decrease. Get yourself some brewing equipment, about 1000 bottles, a few hundred pounds of wheat and hops, and a few solar water heating/ solar panels to ensure cooking electricity is available - and you've got yourself the start of a brewery. You could even stock some of those kits to start off with and move towards more home-made ingredients. Grow your own wheat and hops and you've got a long term occupation you can pass on to the grandkids.

3. Garden starter

There are a lot of clueless people out there who have never seen a vegetable growing before. They don't know what a fertilizer is and they don't know what compost is. Take pity on them and offer your services - for a fee. Get in there, create a garden bed (or plot), plant a few dwarf fruit trees, some seeds and transplants and leave them the packets. Tell them how often to water and fertilize and build them a compost pile. Include a veggie cookbook in the package. Voila! They are on their way to surviving!

4. Security guard

People tend to like to keep themselves and their property safe. If they feel threatened, but have little ability to move away, they will be willing to pay for security services for their neighborhood. I see this as the future for able-bodied vets and police. Have you been to the gym lately?

5. Delivery person

It is more energy efficient for one person to go to the "store" or farmer's market and bring back enough for the neighborhood. But how will you deliver the goods? A Prius or other ultra-efficient car is one interim option. In the long term, it might be nice to have a rickshaw-like contraption with plenty of extra parts. Don't forget a nice pistol.

6. Repairman Jack

Can you fix plumbing? Solar panels? Bikes? Repair tools? Hang a window? Well, then, learn how now and you will be in demand when it is difficult to find anything "new" available.

Don't limit yourself to these options. Think about who will be able to pay for your services. But be civic -minded - payment may not be in money anymore - it may be in food, goods, services or even IOUs and goodwill. Those will be much more useful than money or gold.

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