Why a trade school education could save you in the zombie apocalypse
You’re probably tired of hearing this, but zombies are big. Pop culturally speaking, they are HUGE, riding a wave of popularity in recent years. The Walking Dead TV show is pulling in viewers by the millions, the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies become a bestseller, and a movie version of World War Z starring Brad Pitt is in development. It’s not just for the science fiction and horror enthusiasts anymore – everyone is tuning into the craze.
Torie Bosch from Slate.com has an interesting theory as to why, and it has to do with the economic downturn, the tanking value of advanced degrees, and the rise of the much more practical, hands-on training.
Some particularly enlightening quotes from Bosch’s article:
• “The zombie apocalypse is a white-collar nightmare: a world with no need for the skills we have developed. Lawyers, journalists, investment bankers – they are liabilities, not leaders, in the zombie-infested world.”
• “In The Walking Dead, the strongest survivors come from blue-collar backgrounds – cops, hunters, mechanics.”
• “In the zombie apocalypse, your J.D. is worthless – which is actually not so different from the real world of recent years.”
• “Skills in auto maintenance, farming, plumbing, and electrical work – not to mention marksmanship – land blue-collar folks at the top of the new social order.”
Bosch is looking at the whole zombie parallel on a very high, theoretical level, but if you break it down, she makes a good point. No, there aren’t zombies infesting our streets, but things are changing. High school kids are spending a hundred thousand dollars to become lawyers and then finding that there isn’t any room for another lawyer in the U.S. right now. Hours and hours and years and years of education, and they’re unemployed.
Meanwhile, many more practical people are going to trade schools and technical schools; learning specific, useful skills with hands-on tactics; and then quickly graduating and putting what they learned to use in society. It’s smart, and it’s about 12 times more functional in today’s job market than a master’s in philosophy.
Electricians, HVAC technicians, nurses – these are jobs that our society needs to operate. Going to trade schools or technical schools to gain skills in these fields is only going to benefit you and those around you, both now and in the long run. And in the current economic turmoil, where college graduates with advanced degrees are protesting outside of Wall Street because they can’t find a job with a decent paycheck, our society is starting to take a look at these so-called “blue-collar” jobs and realize that they’re vastly more important and deserve far more respect than they’ve been given in the past. They’re employed; they’re finding jobs.
Trade and technical workers have the skills to keep society alive and functioning after the zombie apocalypse. How many white-collar workers (besides doctors) can claim that?
Bosch quotes Max Brooks’ World War Z to illustrate her point, and it does drive things home nicely:
“You’re a high-powered corporate attorney. You’ve spent most of your life reviewing contracts, brokering deals, talking on the phone. That’s what you’re good at, that’s what made you rich and what allowed you to hire a plumber to fix your toilet, which allowed you to keep talking on the phone. The more work you do, the more money you make, the more peons you hire to free you up to make more money. That’s the way the world works. But one day it doesn’t. No one needs a contract reviewed or a deal brokered. What it does need is toilets fixed.”