Second World Problems: Career prospects so bleak even arms dealing seems appealing

TW: war, arms trade

I feel like a war is about to break out, but don’t take my word for it. I have very dubious sources. This is the fifty-seventh war scare my friends and I have broadcasted: though we’ve not had such frequent fearmongering in a while, this time we might just fearmonger it into existence. I mean, that’s what they almost did a few years back, no?

Anyway, as a social science student, my job prospects were nigh inexistent even before the pandemic. I was recently fired (again) from a media company because of the pandemic. That killed any unrealistic hopes I had of getting a social science-related job. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful. If this really is the calm before the Second Great Depression, or the calm before the Third World War, at least it woke me up before I could waste the prime of my youth chasing freelance gigs. I don’t have much imagination when it comes to jobs: it’s always been either translator or freelance writer. I considered the likelihood of finding a job in the middle of a war. Would I hold up a cardboard sign saying ‘translator for hire; will work for half a bowl of porridge’ on Alexanderplatz hoping bureaucrats would pick me out of the crowd? I can’t imagine translators were getting snatched up in the 1920s. It’s probably best to start working my way up the arms dealing ladder.

It’s a common trap to only look for job titles that look exactly like your course. Chemical engineering – chemical engineer. Pharmacology – pharmacologist. Graphic design – graphic designer. It makes perfect sense. But there are so many more jobs out there that don’t have a corresponding course preparing you for it. Case in point – identity document forgery; guns for hire; war profiteering. The only way you can learn is on the job and the only way to get the job is to land in a very specific set of circumstances. I’m really starting to resent that I wasn’t born into a family of arm dealers. It’s going to be much harder for me to compete with other arms dealers if I were to start from scratch without connections.

Well, there’s the alternative – there’s always money in forging IDs. You’d probably need someone on the inside to help you get the names and biometrics in the system though. Another advantage I don’t have. I wonder how visa systems are going to change if a world war were to break out. Would borders still be open at all? So much has changed since the Cold War and 9/11. There are so many astonishing examples of great application of technology on restrictions of movement. There’d be a huge market for immigration lawyers if folks were still allowed in. You’d definitely see a massive influx of refugees. Is it already too late to take a law conversion course? The war would probably start before I could pass the bar. That’d be a lot of money and energy wasted. Energy I could have used to consume pointless media and build the foundations of my arms dealing empire.

I suppose knowing more about logistics would be useful if food shortage is going to be an issue. If a pandemic and a little snow could empty shelves, I’d be surprised if a war doesn’t. Shame no one from WWII left a tutorial on how to exploit the opportunity. Not that anyone building a logistics company from the ground up could compete with FedEx, DHL, and UPS anyway. Still, it would be sad if Amazon comes out of the war as the biggest winner.

What else can I do to not starve in a war…War correspondents might need a photographer or two. Do war photographers do videography, too? Photography skills I can sharpen up on my own but learning how to use Broadcast Camcorders from home is going to be hard. Plus, I’ve always worried about being on the frontline with glasses. What if I drop them? That’s a lot of unnecessary stress. I’d be dragging so many people down.

Did the prolific writers in WWII survive just by writing or did they pick up side gigs, too? They must have, right? Surely inflation wouldn’t have allowed you to conjure up a livelihood by way of philosophising. Not to say I am any good at thinking or writing, but outside of thinking and writing, there really isn’t any skill I possess that can get my hide through a global conflict. As a cosmopolitan avocado-muncher, building secluded mountain cabins and growing potatoes has never been my forte. Finding my way into the arms dealing system is probably still the easiest way to stay relevant in an outright conflict and log out of the game early by dying a gruesome death at the hands of militias. Jesus, now that I can picture a whole career in this I’m not even that anti-war anymore.

[Ka Leung – she/her]

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