“When I grow up I want to be…”

One of the questions I often ask myself at two or three o’clock in the morning is what kinds of jobs are we going to have in the future?

OK, I know I need to get out more… But if we seriously think that life in the future is going to become much more local than it is today, then it’s not enough to make sure we have sustainable energy and local food. It’s not enough to make sure we make our communities stronger and more exciting. We also need find and create new jobs.

Now, I’m sure that the next 30 years are going to be as different from anything I can imagine now, as today is different from anything I could have imagined 30 years ago. But as one Farnham Transitioner overheard recently, there’s very little point in any student now starting out on a degree to become a petroleum engineer. And as Richard Morrison said in today’s Times newspaper, “I think we may be on the cusp of the most surprising social change in our lifetimes: a rediscovery of the pleasures to be had in thrift, in simplicity and in parochialism…”

So, with those two thoughts in mind, how about this list as a starter for some of the jobs my three children might like to do?

When I was a kid I can remember wanting to be a thatcher or a stone mason. I think I’d definitely rather do any of the jobs listed below than be a “hedge fund manager” or “junk mail marketing manager”.

Woodland Crafts:
Coppicers, hurdle makers, rake makers, fork makers, besom makers, handle makers, hoop makers, ladder makers, crib makers, broaches and peg makers, clog sole cutters, bodgers, charcoal burners, oak basket makers, trug makers, stick and staff makers, field gate makers, willow basket makers, net makers.

Building Crafts:
Stone masons, joiners, roofers, floor layers, wallers, thatchers, slaters, lime burners, paint makers, glass blowers, glaziers, stained glass artists, mud brick makers, tile makers, chimney sweeps, plumbers, decorators, bridge builders, French polishers, sign writers.

Field Crafts:
Hedge layers, dry stone wallers, stile makers, well diggers, peat cutters, gardeners, horticulturists, vintners, arborists, tree surgeons, foresters, farmers, shepherds, shearers, bee keepers, millers, fishermen, orchardists, veterinarians.

Workshop Crafts:
Chair makers, iron founders, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, coopers, coppersmiths, tinsmiths, wood turners, coach builders, boat builders, sail makers, rope makers, wainwrights, block makers, leather tanners, harness makers, saddlers, horse collar makers, boot and shoe makers, cobblers, clog makers, knife makers, cutters, millstone dressers, potters, printers, typographers, calligraphers, bookbinders, paper makers, furniture makers, jewellers, mechanics, boiler makers, boiler men, soap makers, gunsmith, sword smith, brush maker, candle maker, artist, sculptor, firework maker, cycle builder, bone carver, musical instrument maker, clay pipe maker, tool maker.

Textile Crafts:
Spinner, weaver, dyer, silk grower, tailor, seamstress, milliner, hatter, lace maker, button maker, mat and rug maker, crochet worker, tatting and macramé worker, knitter, quilter, smock worker, embroiderer, leather worker, felt maker.

Domestic crafts:
Fish smoker, bacon curer, butter maker, cheese maker, brewer, cider maker, wine maker, distiller, herbalist, ice cream maker, butcher, fishmonger, pie maker, pickle maker, baker, barrister and coffee roaster, homeopath, reflexologist, osteopath, naturopath, storyteller, teacher naturalist, historian, jester, actor, administrator, philosopher, labourer, poet, writer, midwife, publican, bookseller, librarian and idiot – there is no unemployment in this traditional model!

The source for this list? Today’s transition blog.

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3 Responses to “When I grow up I want to be…”

  1. Gary says:

    When I grow up I want to be Response Able 😉

  2. finnjackson says:

    Thanks Paula – I have added the nhtg link to the website!

  3. paula burgess says:

    Hi Finn,

    This is something that I think about all the time also (although I have to say not at 2am in the morning). So many jobs these days are effectively ‘meaningless’, and unfulfilling. Gone are the days when a career was for life! It would be great to have a job that you actually felt was of benefit to someone.

    There are a great many places teaching traditional skills again. One of these is Natural England http://www.nhtg.org.uk/ which have lots of courses leading to careers in traditional skills.

    There are also lots of places such as Bore Place in Kent and the Weald and Downland museum near Chichester which have ‘shorter’ and weekend courses in traditional crafts.

    Within the next few years I hope to have retrained myself, and have ditched my corporate chains 🙂

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