It has been brought to my attention that a large portion of my readers are at a very special time in their lives. Are you currently making important decisions about which career to follow? It’s a big decision.
This being the case, I really feel I should do the stereotypically dull, ‘adult’ thing of giving you advice you never asked for. Except in this case, it’s not so dull. It could save your life. And mine.
As I write this, from my comfy chair in a little wooden house somewhere on the east coast of America, I am waiting for the apocalypse. Not zombies – hey, here’s hoping! – but a Frankenstorm, a mish-mash clusterfrak of high pressure whatevers meeting tropical something or others. Drumroll … *Hurricane Sandy*. (This is such a crap name for a hurricane. I mean, Sandy? Just reminds me of Grease, or a sleepy old Labrador, or a boring kind of hair colour. Hurricanes should be called something more exotic, like Salamazaar, or Souxsie, or Sheeeeeeesh. ).
Anyhoo, by the time you read this, you’ll know just what Sandy wrought upon me and my neighbours. Maybe we’ll be fine. But maybe, just maybe, it might be the end of civilization as we know it. Power cuts and food shortages, leading to rioting, anarchy, and the breakdown of all established order. It could totally happen. And if it does, what will the new society be like? Who lives? Who survives?
In the event of all hell breaking loose sometime in the future, the choices you make now, my young (and old) friends, are going to affect whether you flourish or fade. So which careers will survive the zombie apocalypse? I list my thoughts –because this is clearly what I spend all my time ruminating upon – below:
- The Geeks. Yeah, yeah. The Geeks shall inherit the earth. Whoever said that originally (not me), was definitely on to something. Let’s get more specific: not so much the computery nerds or maths wizards, because in our post-apocalyptic society you can wave goodbye to all technology created after about 1971, clearly – but more like the Old School Geeks. The practical ones. Engineers. Architects. People who can build stuff, or mend stuff. Those guys and gals on Scrap Heap Challenge. Car mechanics. Welders. And plumbers! Oh yeah, they’ll be laughing. When the apocalypse comes, we’ll do anything for these folks. So study practical sciences, people, and/or tinkering with things. I don’t care that you hate it, you’ll thank me for it when you’re a highly valued member of society.
- Writers. Yeah. I’m not just saying this because I am one. Just think about it. It’s the only one of the arty-farty careers which will be worth a damn. You think you’re gonna act/dance/paint/music your way out of this mess? No way, forget about that worthless degree. But if you are a writer, you’ve got something going for you. Someone needs to report this sh*t, and let’s face it, Twitter ain’t gonna be up and running, is it? We’ll be back to pen and ink – maybe newspapers, if we’re really lucky – or pigeon post and a man on a galloping horse to spread the word of whatever is happening, where to go, what to do. We’re going to need someone to write that stuff. Plus we’ll have a responsibility to tell future generations what went down so that they don’t shag the whole thing up all over again. Believe me, WRITERS WILL SURVIVE, because we know the twists and turns any story can take, and we always expect the worst possible scenario. So get scribbling!
- Celebrity chefs. Or actually, anyone who can cook, because, you know, FOOD. After the initial orgy of ransacking supermarkets, there’ll be very little left over. When life gives you lemons, you may or may not know the recipe for lemonade. If you do, you’ll win friends. When life gives you half a can of chick peas and some of the crumbly bits in the bottom of a box of Special K, if you can turn that into something edible then you’ll be in high demand indeed.
- Obvious: doctors, nurses, dentists, vets. Anyone who can save a life, or know how to end one. Anyone who can saw off a leg or stitch up a great big oozy wound. (Because there will be a lot of those.)
- Professional athletes. But only some of them – the ones that can run really fast and for a really long time. For obvious reasons they’ll survive, but then we’ll need them when the petrol reserves have run dry and someone needs to make a dash to the 7-11 to see if there’s any Pot Noodle left on the shelves. Plus, if they do get zombified, at least they’ll acquire a personality.
- Folks with guns. OK, this is not really a profession, as such. But I guess it would cover a fairly select group … (in the UK, at least) … farmers … the army … certain police men and women? The only problem with this is that a lot of these people will already have been eaten, because in the case of the last two groups at least, they would have been on the front line when the zoms first struck. Ammo only lasts so long. But maybe farmers will have done OK. As long as their tweed and Hunter wellies didn’t slow them down so much that they got chomped. Also – again, FOOD. Farmers grow things. They’ll be pretty damn useful if they can just keep the Undead off their land.
- Finally, undertakers. Because we want those dead people buried, and buried deep. Anyone who knows how to do that gets a big thump on the back from me.
So, friends – ignore the so-called best jobs of 2012 according to whatever search engine you favour. Software Engineer? Yeah, right, we’ll need all that software for our nonexistent technology. Human Resource Manager? Guess what, post-apocalypse our human resources have pretty much dried up. No, if you want to survive, get on the path to success right now with my suggestions above. And if you have your own thoughts … post ‘em in the comments below. Best suggestion will win a signed copy of the UK edition of UNDEAD, and the new book, UNFED. Just remember that to achieve your dreams, you have to work hard, and have smarts. As every zombie knows, it pays to have braaaaaaaaaaaains ….
I grew up in the North East of England, but I don’t sound like it (except when shouting at the footy). Now I live in the North East of the USA, another place full of crazy sports fans with mad accents. In between the two I lived in London – mainly in the North East of London, actually – do we see a pattern here..?
I trained as an actor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and trod the boards for a few years, then became a producer, running my own touring theatre company. It was during this time that I started writing plays for children and pantomimes, some of which are still being performed today. In fact, if you watched a panto at a school in England any time over the last twelve years, there’s a pretty good chance that I wrote it. (That’s if it was any good. If not, then it was definitely not one of mine.) In 2008 the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators named me a winner of their search for new writers, and published my work in their inaugural anthology, Undiscovered Voices.
My first novel UNDEAD was published by Chicken House on 1st September 2011. The sequel UNFED was published 6th September 2012.
UNDEAD: Out of sight, out of their minds: It’s a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby. The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty. Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back. But they’ve changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they’re zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin’ fast, because that’s the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates’ next meal. It’s kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
UNFED: The good news: Bobby survived her Undead school trip. Bad news: her best mate, Smitty, is missing. Bobby knows she’s got to find him even if it means risking it all and going out into the starving-zombie-infested wastelands again. Even if it means taking fellow survivors including a couple of old frenemies along for the ride. And even if the zombies are not the only ones who are chasing them this time.
KIRSTY MCKAY ONLINE
Chicken house are kindly giving away TWO (2) sets of Undead and Unfed For entry please leave a comment then fill out the form below This giveaway is UK Only and ends 12:00am GMT 30th November 2012 GIVEAWAY CLOSED