What career should one pursue in these troubled economic times? Traditional career paths offer little promise in this jobless recovery. Here are four non-traditional careers to consider.
• Hunter Gatherer
With all the bankruptcies and frauds, the legal profession also comes to mind. But the bankrupt and the fraudsters have no money. Suing people with no money is not a promising career.
In fact, we may be witnessing the death of the great American dream that we could litigate ourselves to prosperity and national greatness.
There are ten million homes in America with market values below their outstanding mortgage. These homeowners can walk away and get nothing nothing, struggle with escalating payment as their mortgages reset, or burn their house down and collect the insurance.
The States of Nevada, California, and Florida alone will need over 8,000 additional arsonists with the next two years.
The Academy of Arson, founded by my unscrupulous twin brother, Clip Clifford, is the best preparation for this career. Here, one can learn from such luminaries (literally) as Anthony "Tony the Torch" Carvello and Vincent "Vinny Flames" Giordano.
Out of work investment bankers, private equity partners, and hedge fund traders will need counseling.
The best preparation for this is teaching abstinence-only sex education to teen-age boys.
Having persuaded teenager boys that sex is overrated, you are ready for the more difficult challenge of convincing former investment bankers, private equity partners, and hedge fund traders that there is more to life than money.
After we will lose confidence in paper currency, we will adopt a barter economy. Using the Internet we can create a highly efficient system of eBarter. eBarter will be the second fastest growing industry in America for the next decade.
In the traditional barter economy Gail, a Professor of Art History would approach Fred, an orthodontist, and offer to lecture him on the paintings of the Italian Baroque master Guido Reni in return for straightening her kids' teeth.
Fred would tell Gail to pound sand, and the barter economy would suffer.
eBarter would introduce new participants into this trade. Suppose Grog, a maker of loincloths, needs a new stone ax while Ogg makes stone axes and want to learn about Guido Reni. Since Fred, the orthodontist, enjoys kinky sex wearing a loincloth, through the Internet they arrange a four-way trade. Everybody wins.
eBarter enables a sophisticated economy. For example, one might barter 30% of services as a Microsoft software engineer for a house on the Snoqualmie Ridge with and three-car garage, or 1% for two pair of Jimmy Choos.
In fact, the only difference between eBarter and our present economy is that the former would not allow subprime mortgages, securitized asset back collateralized debt obligations, and credit default swaps.
No one would barter any property of her own for a credit default swap.
The Department of Commerce predicts that the U.S. will create 60 million new hunter/gatherer jobs over the next three years.
If I were a young man embarking on a career, hunter/gatherer would be my choice. What's not to like?
In hunter/gatherer societies, the workweek for adult males averages ten hours. And it's hardly work when all you do is go hunting with your buddies. It is like attending a NASCAR, rally, coming home a hero, and spending the rest of the week talking sports and politics.
Women hunter/gatherers don't have it as good. They work 70 hours a week, break their fingernails digging roots, and have children by the dozens. They will have to sue for gender discrimination.
Maybe there is a place for lawyers in the new economy.
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