Before we get into the list of best jobs during this recession, let’s have a moment of recognition for the industries that have been getting creamed over the last couple years. The current economic downturn has been especially unkind to investment bankers, factory workers, drivers, anyone associated with the real estate industry, anyone associated with the auto industry, journalists, doctors, artists, government employees who get paid out of shrinking budgets, service people, the entire restaurant industry, movie producers, scriptwriters, most small-business owners, most large-business owners, people who buy gas, people who own residential property, people who own commercial property, stockholders, board members, travel agents, baristas, people without high school degrees and small- to mid-market veteran television personalities. There are probably more, but we need to get on with things.
Not everyone is cut out to be a cop — especially those who get off on abusing that bit of authority and power — but we need good police during times of financial instability more than ever. Unlike most civil servants who draw their pay from declining tax revenues, cops can justify their existence by pointing to rising crime rates that are an inevitable byproduct of widespread unemployment. Sure, police departments feel budget restraints like everyone else, but in a country where a lot of things are slowing down, their workload is increasing.
With the rise in crime rates and that gun-hating Muslim socialist in the White House, it’s no wonder that aspiring gun nuts are coming out of the woodwork. Issuances of concealed-weapons permits are up — almost double in the Triad — as are first-time gun sales. Also good news for the ammunition industry, which can’t seem to make it fast enough.
Sad but true: The easiest marks are those who can afford to lose money the least. Desperation makes men and women do desperate things. Among those who come out of this recession ahead will be purveyors of get-rich-quick schemes, brokers of too-goodto-be-true deals, inventors of money- and labor-saving devices, insurance salesmen and anyone claiming she can show you how to get something for doing nothing.
I’m not talking about the monster truck here — though that Gravedigger should remain relatively unaffected by the economic crisis. What I’m saying is, the wheel of life keeps on turning, and somebody has got to put all those stiffs in the ground. Until people can figure out a way to make money off their own corpses, that is.
Visionary In Japanese, the word for “crisis” is the same as the word for “opportunity.” It’s true that when everything is in flux, great opportunities arise for those who have the vision and courage to see it through. Warren Buffet, for example, is making some great deals for Berkshire Hathaway, as is that Mexican guy who bought into the New York Times. Somewhere right now the next Bill Gates is tinkering with something that will save journalism, replace the internal combustion engine or capture coal smog.
Sure, one in 10 Americans is unemployed, our currency is approaching the peso in relative value and we no longer lead the world in anything except available commercial real estate and fat people, but we’re still sending spaceships and spacemen into outer space for space walks and other space missions. All you need is some specialized training in science and aeronautics, and a fondness for Tang.
Anybody out there thinking about buying a new car this year? Didn’t think so. Fact is, it’s probably not a good idea to buy a new car until the auto industry settles down a bit and you know you’ll be able to get parts for it. A tight credit market further limits new car sales. But everybody’s got to keep their wheels on the road, which means that those who know how to fix cars should have plenty of work lined up.
Drug dealers, prostitutes, bookies, liquor salesmen, bartenders, strippers, blackjack dealers, moonshiners and smugglers should weather the storm just fine.
Sure, journalism as a profession is imploding due — like everything else — to greed, ineptitude and shortsightedness. And good luck trying to get a job at a daily newspaper right now. But for many on the fringes of the chattering classes, this is a golden age. As readers abandon daily newspapers for electronic media and some cities see the constriction — or even eradication — of their news sources, upstart bloggers are attempting to grab their share of the pie. The advantages to blogging are numerous: instant publication without pesky editors or fact-checkers, the ability to work from a basement in pajamas, product placement. The downside: It is highly unlikely that you can make a living doing it just yet.