February 12, 2016

Careers For A Post-Industrial World

When cars are no longer running we will need more horses and farriers.

I am currently what we call retired, although it doesn't always feel like that leisure time picture painted by investment advertisements. I prefer to think that I am still working hard and productively contributing as a caregiver here at home.

If I were just starting out, or had young children planning for the future, I would be considering preparing for a post-industrial, post-oil world. Regardless, I am still preparing for simpler times.

Never mind high tech - the future is going to be all about low tech ways that worked in the past, and still work now. Good bye computer engineer, hello dip pen/ink maker.

I tried to think of a few other jobs that forward thinkers might consider:

  • ice seller
  • stable hand
  • carpenter
  • baker
  • blacksmith
  • cook
  • farmer
  • crafter
  • artist 
  • musician (unplugged)
  • teacher
  • soap maker
  • chimney sweep
  • child care worker
  • couturier
  • farrier
  • herbalist/healer

It has only been about 300 years that our society has been structured in the way it is now. Not only is consumerism a very recent invention, so is capitalism and seemingly unlimited, cheap energy. Not so long ago we got along just fine without plastic crap, instant travel and communication, and just about everything else we think we would die without.

And we will again.

Some may think that such a change will be awful, but it will have its benefits and charms. Just ask the chimney sweep.

"Chim chim-in-ey, chim chim-in-ey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be."

You might not live long enough to find out what the post-industrial world looks like, but your kids or grand kids might. On the other hand, it might come sooner than anyone expects.

What would you do for a career in a post-industrial world? 


  1. I can knit, and am learning to spin, so I will be making nice warm clothes for all!

    i would need someone to help with the sheep and shearing, however...

    1. I will help with the sheep and shearing and you can make me a sweater.

  2. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Things I wish we had locally: weaver, fiber mill, grain mill, cobbler, and tanner. I'd support them all in a heartbeat if I could find them!

    Also worth considering: natural building specialist, non-digital printer, tree service, wood carver, general potter, and boat maker.

    As for me, we made the transition back in 2010 when my husband and I quit our jobs to farm. After he got laid off in the recession, we realized that "security" wasn't so secure when it depended on someone else's business decisions, but people (including us!) will always need to eat. For so many reasons, it was the best decision we ever made! I also work part time as a youth pastor, and I love the opportunity to teach thinking outside of the box to my high schoolers!To know someone who is educated and who CHOSE to leave behind societal expectations is hugely freeing.... it's much easier to see yourself doing something crazy when you have someone else's road map to use for reference.

    P.S.- Thanks for being one of our many road maps!

    1. Love the additions to the list. Every community should also have a luthier. And a book binder to go with your non-digital printer. And newspapers will have to be on paper again. Better not melt down the presses that are currently being mothballed.

      Congratulations on your successful transition to a simpler, more secure future. Glad you and your husband were "crazy" enough to go for it. It is proof that it CAN be done. Thanks for visiting our blog and sharing your inspirational story.

  3. I would enjoy teaching, tutoring and mentoring. I'd also enjoy sewing clothes and quilting. I'd enjoy cooking a community meal once a week or so. Growing food and preserving it would be fun too.

    Once again I'm on a mission to get rid of more crap in preparation for relocating. I saw my sewing machine and wondered if I would return to sewing. I got to thinking about making some curtains for my future home. That made the decision, I'm keeping my sewing machine. If we don't have electricity in the post industrial world, I'll sew by hand!

    Fun post!

    1. Anonymous5:59 PM

      I sew sometimes too :) If your machine is old enough (without the computer bits in it) it can work without electricity - you just handwind it, as if you are sewing over a multi-layered patch. And I bet you can even fix it up so it can be foot-pedalled!


  4. Oh I forgot carpentry! I'd love to learn to make my own very simple furniture and make it to trade with others. The community I plan to relocate to might have some furniture makers or maybe some classes. Really looking forward to that. I'm enjoying learning about home repair, especially the carpentry part on one of my new odd jobs.

    1. A relocation can be very exciting, and I am getting excited for you, having recently relocated ourselves. I hope it turns out as well for you as it has for us.

      Ever since taking a class in furniture making in high school I have wanted a wood shop. We have never had the space for one, but when we are looking for our sanctuary it includes a garage or basement shop space.

  5. Anonymous6:55 PM

    Wow, love your blog. I will have to spend some time surfing around. How about alternative healing professions, and small grid farming?

    1. Welcome! Please do surf, enjoy, and share your ideas with us.


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