When the zombie apocalypse hits, pity the cake decorators who have no customers, the techno geeks who have no electronics to program, and the accountants who have no books to cook. If you are a cobbler, you may be in luck, because you may find a lucrative new career in reinforcing ladies’ heels with metal spikes that could be used to penetrate a skull during an attack or repairing steel toed boots to keep them in good order. But, don’t count on these occupations keeping you out of the unemployment line (where you will be at risk of being eaten if you stand there for very long!) People with certain skills will be needed to keep pockets of survivors safe and to help build rebuild civilization.
The most immediate threat will be the hazard of the number of walking dead people. Even if you manage to escape to an area where zombies are less of a concern, you’ll also have to worry about roaming gangs and your hungry next door neighbor who smells that bacon cooking over your campfire. So, military personnel, police officers, and hunters (actually, anyone who has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it) will be in high demand.
In an apocalyptic scenario, you won’t be able to call for an ambulance in an emergency. Even if hospitals are still functioning, they are likely to be overloaded from the numbers of people with injuries, stress-induced heart attacks, and disease. This makes every doctor, nurse, Emergency Medical Technician, care giver, or anyone with at least minimal training in health care highly valuable.
Can you imagine what would happen if the food supply chains break down? Grocery store shelves would empty quickly, and there wouldn’t be daily trucks coming in to restock them. This would make knowledge of gardening principles like planting seeds, and growing fruits, vegetables, and grains to the harvesting stage very important. If you aren’t already nurturing a vegetable patch in your backyard, it might be a good idea to become pals with a farmer, gardener, or horticulturist and learn some tips on how to grow your own food. Of course, many crops take months to grow and cannot be grown during the winter climate, so foraging skills will also be important. Gardeners, hikers, or nature group leaders who know which local edible plants can be safely consumed may be some of the only people around without empty bellies.
Even though most people will be sheltering in existing buildings, construction workers and road crew members who can swing a mean hammer, wield a pickaxe, or lay brick will be essential to fortify living areas, build perimeter fences, and create structures to protect gardens. They might also be needed to help clear roads of abandoned vehicles and rebuild anything that has been damaged by the hordes of hungry zombies.
Without phone service or power supply, communication will be limited. If you’ve never heard of a “ham radio” (also called “amateur radio”), you might be surprised to know that Ham Radio Operators might be the only people in the know during a crisis, because they can talk to other operators across the globe from fixed or mobile stations. Although, amateur radio operation is considered as a hobby rather than a profession now, in an emergency situation, the proficiency in this type of communication will rise to the top tier of importance.
The chaos of an apocalypse will cause many people to revert to their most basic survival instincts. This will create all kinds of strife within groups of survivors who will be scared to death and fighting for limited resources. Leadership will be needed to keep the peace. This could come in the form of a government official, business leader, judge, or lawyer who is skilled at working with people who have opposing views. Clergy members will also be valuable to promote harmony and be grief counselors.
And finally, it is a sad fact that there will be many dead to bury. For purposes of disease control, hygiene, and downright sanity, it would not be a good idea to leave bodies lying around in the open. In an apocalyptic scenario, we may go back to the days of the Black Plague when a bell ringer walked through towns crying, “Bring out your dead!” Who will have the arduous task of safely laying them to rest? There are few grave diggers in our modern pre-apocalyptic society, so the chore may fall to street workers accustomed to digging holes by hand or with a back hoe to get to underground pipes. Undertakers will also be needed to conduct mass burials or hellish bonfire cremations.
If you are preparing for a zombie apocalypse, is it time for a career change? If you aren’t already employed in one of the above professions, think about the skills you have now. With a little innovative thinking, you might find a way to revamp your career into something useful. A perfumer might sell concoctions to mask the odor of death; a salesperson might use their sweet-talking tongue to sell scavenged pitchforks and crowbars as essential weaponry; or a teacher may find new students to school in the art of survival.
Build your résumé now to include versatile functions that will make any group want you on their team, because when dangers are high and resources are scarce, your new occupation may be the difference between life and death.
Michelle DePaepe writes paranormal and horror tales. She is the author of Eaters, a zombie apocalypse novel, published by Permuted Press, and two independently published novels: The Gardener and Vampire Music. She lives in the United States with her family and a menagerie of creatures that include a dog, three cats, and an unspecified number of spiders that creep around during the night while she is pounding away on the keyboard. When not writing, she can be found haunting local thrift stores, books stores, and the garden.
Cheryl and her fiancé, Mark, a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan, are on their way back to Denver after a reunion camping trip in the mountains when they receive word that an epidemic is spreading like wildfire. But this is no ordinary virus. Those infected, dubbed “Eaters”, are reanimated corpses whose lust for rotten food quickly turns to an insatiable desire for human flesh. When Mark becomes infected, Cheryl is forced to venture into this insane new world on her own. Hoping to find her family, she strikes out on a blood-soaked journey that forges her will and forever changes her.
MICHELLE DEPAEPE ONLINE
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