This afternoon I came across a re-run on TV of the show, The End of Suburbia. It is a 2004 production, and it's interesting to see how things have progressed in the 4 years since it was made. In it, James Kunstler was talking about what kind of career he could expect to have in post-peak oil society. He noted that his current career as an author would have to change since mass distribution of books would certainly be unlikely when mass transportation of food isn't even possible. He said he would probably start a small newspaper in whatever urban village he found himself in at the time. This got me thinking: What would I do? I'm a psychologist, and I doubt there will be much call for this kind of work when everyone's busy meeting the fundamental needs of life like growing, harvesting and storing food, fetching and carrying water and trying to stay clothed and warm/cool.
I work in a jail setting, doing mostly crisis-related, problem solving kinds of stuff, very much in a triage-like environment. A lot of the time, being a psychologist in a jail is akin to what I imagine being a surgeon in a M*A*S*H unit would be like: do what's got to be done, do it quick, and do it right the first time. Maybe familiarity with how people act in certain crises would be helpful, and I could be useful for a while in helping people deal with and adapt to unfamiliar circumstances. (As long as I was adapting alright myself, that is.) But when it becomes apparent that the emergency isn't a short one but a long one, what then? I do have some skill in helping people deal with chronic stressors, but really, I doubt people will have time for this kind of thing, what with the above-noted food/clothing/shelter issues to face. I probably won't have time for it either, since I'll be dealing with the same immediate concerns myself.
So what's an interconnection-loving, paradox-pondering, pattern-seeking, 'head-shrinking' kind of gal to do?
I really have no idea. After going to school for so many years with just one focus, and then applying that knowledge in such a specialized area for another bunch of years, it's hard to see yourself doing something different. I hope to become more knowledgeable about plants and herbs, but that's going to take a long while. There are lots of willow bushes on our property and I could make things out of those to barter with, like baskets and such, but I'm unskilled in that area as well. I do love the irony of a psychologist becoming a basket weaver though!
What about you? Have you thought about what you might do when the current ways of doing things just aren't feasible anymore? Are you trying to steer your kids/nieces/nephews away from occupations like "computer game designer" towards some more universally practical work path? Do you have any hobbies that will come in handy, like woodworking or winemaking or quilting?