Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Jobs

In order to define the Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Jobs I must first define how I envision post-apocalyptic life to be. It looks like Zombie Land, without the zombies. There are isolated locations with power, water, gas, and modern amenities haven't vanished, but they are much harder to come by. The human population has been reduced considerably, and the majority of people want to rebuild and enjoy their lives. Few people are insane murderous freaks a la Mad Max. Marauders and goons won't be terribly common, but like thieves; they will attack the weakest targets with the most gains. Therefore vigilance and protection are necessary.

Criteria for being the best job: Pay, Safety, and Happiness.

There is also a stipulation that this job must be realistic.  Treasure hunters, zephyr pilots, and awesome vigilante super hero dude are cool, but not really jobs. More like fantasy life styles that will get you killed instantly.

10. Mercenary
Pay: 8
Safety: 4
Happiness: 4
Total: 16

   Hit the Jump For More

    As the world tries to rebuild, people will need protection from the douche bags looking to take advantage of the weak and steal everything in sight.  Mercenaries will be in high demand and hired by pretty much everyone else on this list.  The pay is generally good and varies based on ability; the better you are at protecting your customer and shutting down the baddies, the more you get paid.  Unfortunately, shooting people for a living isn't the safest job. .People tend to shoot back.  You also don't get to work regular hours, don’t get many holidays, and the living conditions aren't always great, which results in a low happiness rating, unless you're a maniac.

9. Farmer
Pay: 6
Safety: 3
Happiness: 7
Total: 16

   Not much to say about farming; people are going to need food. Decent pay and low safety, but you get to be your own boss and make your own hours. Marauders will be attacking left and right as your crops and cattle begin to ripen up. Although the hire of mercenaries will be costly, the increased costs can always be pushed onto the customer.

8. Hunter
Pay: 5
Safety: 6
Happiness: 8

  Meat will once again become a luxury in post-apocalyptic society. It’s expensive to raise livestock, and whatever wiped out all the humans is probably causing problems with animals. The planet is currently filled with sissies who wouldn't know how to hunt a deer if their life depended on it. Hunting will be a valuable skill that most can't perform and a hunter’s haul will go for a pretty penny. Being a hunter has the added advantage of carrying a weapon. Who's going to rob someone that shoots things for a living?

7. Well Driller for Water
Pay: 7
Safety: 8
Happiness: 5
Total: 20

   In my opinion, one of the biggest problems post apocalypse for US citizens will be finding clean and plentiful water sources. Just think of all those people that have spent their entire Mexican vacation with diarrhea. Americans have had clean water sources so long we have lost the ability to fight off the various baddies that make their home in the water. Those individuals with the ability and equipment to drill wells will be valuable.

6. Brewer/Distiller
Pay: 10
Safety: 4
Happiness: 7
Total: 21

 If there is one thing that humanity has proven it's that we want to get drunk. People with the skills and resources to make decent brew or liquor will have a captive audience. Although, producers of the goofy juice will have those unsavory types seeking to take their wares by any means possible and when you consider how flammable most alcohol is the safety risks go up infinitely.

5. Small Engine Mechanic
Pay: 6
Safety: 10
Happiness: 6
Total: 22


   While gasoline may be hard to come be it won't be impossible to find, and small engines will still be in wide use.  A small engine mechanic should be able to fix lawnmowers, motorcycles, the average car, and most things in between.  The people with money and power will seek to keep their machinery running, putting these individuals in high demand. I gave this job a particularly high safety rating because services are hard to steal and the work can be done from a client’s home, garage, or some well-fortified location if desired.

4. Messenger: Horse, Bike, Car, And Foot
Pay: 5
Safety: 8
Happiness: 10
Total: 23

   With the downfall of government the postal service will fall as well, giving the private sector a chance to finally carry those first class letters, as well as other packages.  Working phones and internet connections will be rare luxuries. Messengers from the days of yore will make a comeback and have to build reputations for being the fastest and most reliable in order to make a buck.  While the pay may not be good the safety should be, assuming the expression, "Don't shoot the messenger" still holds up. To me, racing back and forth with various forms of transportation sounds really fun and why wouldn't one of the safest guys in town be happy?
3. Electrical Engineer
Pay: 10
Safety: 7
Happiness: 8
Total: 25

With the recent popularity of solar power, wind generation, and other forms of clean local energy, electricity should be one of the easier post-apocalyptic resources to come by.  However, finding skilled technicians that can fix, maintain, and utilize these electrical resources won't be, once again barring that you are at MIT when the apocalypse occurs. With their high demand and unique skill set Electrical Engineers will be well paid and enjoy the safety of knowing that the community can't do without them. Not to mention, they will be doing what they love, screwing around with gadgets and building stuff.

2. Gunsmith/Bullet Maker
Pay: 10
Safety: 10
Happiness: 7
Total: 27

    With no police or government in place, people will want bullets for protection, hunting, and more. Who knows it might even be the currency of the future. As one of the most important items for two professions on the list and countless others who would like protection, a Gunsmith/Bullet Maker will be living comfortably, and with all those guns and bullets who will want to mess with them?

1. Doctor
Pay: 10
Safety: 10
Happiness: 8
Total: 28

    Post apocalypse doctors will be the most important individuals on the planet. As members of civilized countries, we often take medical care for granted. But when you’re dying of an infection from a splinter you will be seeking a medical profession immediately and paying top dollar to get whatever care you can. Doctors will be safe because of their intrinsic value to the community and society at large.  If you're planning to survive the apocalypse and want to be the cock of the walk, I recommend heading to med school ASAP. 

There are probably millions of things I did not consider so please enlighten/flame me in the comments.

Why prostitute didn't make the list

Pay: 4
Safety: 1
Happiness: 3
Total: 8

   For some reason, people seem to think prostitution in the post-apocalyptic world would be a high paying job. WTF, who are these people? Reason one: it will be horrible--VD, expect to lose your mind from syphilis in 3 - 6 months, which, my friend, is a career ender. Reason two: with a few police around, I doubt public safety concerns will focus on the wellbeing of hookers. Murder, rape, assault, and theft of service will be part of everyday life. Finally, it's not that hard to have sex. Any broad with a lack of morals and tacky boots will be hitting the street in no time to get a few dollars, which roughly translates to depressed wages.

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11 Response to Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Jobs

November 25, 2010 at 4:42 AM


Scrounger might be a good job title too.

December 3, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Would the messenger ever be carrying packages? It seems like, depending on the package, the safety rating might drop a bit. I think that would still be my top pick, though it might be depressing seeing that everywhere is the same wasteland, but it could also be cool to see how different communities have pulled together or haven't pulled together.

March 12, 2011 at 1:43 PM

I would have to put mechanical engineer up there with electrical(not just because I am one ;). ME's have the hands on skills to make machines work, as well as design the machinery.

October 8, 2011 at 4:25 AM

EE my EYE!!!
most "engineers" have minimal to no hands-on experience.
HOWEVER, Electricians such as myself, have most of the
school and all the experience that will be required. Plus I
am prepared for SHTF so I plan on being there afterwards.
True college educated engineers will, as a general rule,
Likely have a lower survival rate than the general population.
Articles like this will help us all bridge the gap so THANK YOU!!!

Kirk the ME
October 16, 2011 at 9:02 PM

RGR the Electrician,

You have a valid point, technicians would be highly valuable, especially in the short term. But come on, I think the little green monster is rearing it's ugly head. "lower survival rate than the gen. pop"? We're talking a population full of wal-mart greeters, bankers, hairdressers, accountants, secretaries, real estate agents, sales people, etc. Thats just a cheap shot bro.

February 12, 2012 at 8:01 PM

I would have put Nurses on the list, unless you include them under doctors... Sure doctors are important, but if you work in a hospital you quickly realize the vast majority of medical care comes from nurses. Doctors will still have a place of course, but nurses will be more wide spread, and especially with nurses that have been working for a long time, will have similar skills and knowledge set of doctors. Something to keep in mind.

March 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Doctors and most people with modern medical education have their practice based entirely on chemical treatment from pharmaceutical companies. Without access to the exotic chemicals and chem-labs that make the drugs doctors are familiar with, I think they will have a hard time adjusting to the new medical reality.

Herbologists will start apothecaries, the medical institutions for the new age, whose strength will be supported by the size and diversity of their medical herb gardens. Growth of penicillin (a fungus) will be equally important.

March 18, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I'm 3 months away from completion and so far my bunker will house the following. If anyone has any further professions they think would be beneficial please let me know.

2 Policeman
4 Military personnel (2 Marines, 2 Army)
2 Doctors
4 Nurses
1 Dentist
1 Dentists assistant
1 Optometrist
1 above assistant
1 Vetranarian
2 Lab Technicians (1 of each specific field)
1 Pharmacist
2 Carpenters
2 Electricians
1 Plumber
4 Botanists
1 Mortician
1 Brewer
2 Mechanics

Just under half of the professionals listed above are married to the others listed which narrowed down my living space and increased the storage space. This still leaves 6 residents still un-occupied for last minute additions. Two are 2 bedroom and 4 are 3 bedroom apartment size homes.

March 28, 2014 at 5:50 PM

what about traders

May 19, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Where do I send my application?
Renaissance woman.
"I can do/have done that. There they go, I must hurry, I'm their leader".

June 24, 2017 at 8:31 PM

I'd think a waterman would be on there. Someone who can catch fish, dive for shellfish, and sail a boat that doesn't need gas would be in demand. There's no more secure place than a small island with a tight community of watermen.

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