Thursday, 6 March 2014

Wage slave - entry level jobs for your near future dystopia! (part 1)

Your Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun player character became a gun toting oh-so-cool future criminal for any number of reasons, and unemployment was probably high on that list. 

When half the jobs have been automated and the other half have been outsourced, what are the legitimate options for someone who grew up in the inundated city slums, without access to education or networks? The following list presents a few, in the hope of fleshing out city setting and providing some innocent bystanders to get caught in the inevitable crossfire. 

(As a side note, I compiled about two thirds of this list in a VFTE post back in 2009. I've had to take a few out because they came true...)

3d Printshop Attendant - you work for a shop running a few expensive printers, dealing with jobs that the average home fabricator can't handle. Lose your job if someone gets disguised gun parts past you.

Aid Worker - Fifty million displaced ecogees need food and medicine and paper refugee clothing. You're there to provide it.

Animal Control Officer - hunt down escaped designer pets and malfunctioning cyberanimals. Night vision goggles, chunky motion sensor and a shotgun surprisingly mandatory.



Augmented Reality Designer - design Augmented Reality signs and spaces for small businesses, etc. Not as well paid as you'd imagine because everyone and his uncle (who earns £13563 a week without leaving his desk you could too visit this link) thought this would be their ticket to riches in the early 2020s.

Automated Decision Monitor - keep a real-time eye on decisions being made by automated systems. Check the Urban Renewal Conglomerate's construction drones aren't demolishing (the wrong) inhabited squats. Check the nanobots haven't decided to eat all petrochemical products. If you see something odd, ignore it, cause global apocalypse.

Biomass farmer - look after corporate biomass facilities, ultra-dense greenhouses using specially designed black leafed bushes to produce as much biomass and nutrients as possible. Involves maintaining water spraying drones, checking for sabotage, and clearing out invasive leaves. Earn a diploma in compost management.

Block Warden - works for the slumlord corporations keeping everything in the housing block running fairly smoothly, taking questions and complaints from people, ignoring questions and complaints from people...

If Egyptian, regard the western TEFL kids in your compound with a mixture of benign bemusement and confused resignation. 

Chicken Little Trimmer - from an old (and awesome) '50s novel called the Space Merchants: cut chunks of meat (like a doner kebab man) from a giant genetically engineered slab of meat, that will grow indefinitely if not "trimmed".




Chipped 'free' Laborer - a worker with a chipware socket, paid by the hour to do temp jobs using skill chips provided by the employer of the week, who buses them to the work site. Used as a source of cheap labour by corporations to undercut skilled workers and reduce wage levels across the board. 

'Citizen Journalist' - writer working for a press agency, reporting whatever she sees that might be interesting in exchange for petty cash. 

City Farm Worker - work in community gardens or some kind of inner city stack farm producing real food for ideological or commercial reasons.

Clean-up 'Specialist' - inundated cities require clean-up and reclamation. Get some disposable workers, give them NBC gear, and send them to remove sewage swamped water from devastated regions. Get priced out of your own shitty rented house once redevelopment and gentrification begins.

Commenter - get paid to post comments on the internet. Shout down your bosses' political opponents, astroturf a political movement, give the impression of large scale dissenting opinion to received scientific fact, plug products...

Consumer Advocate - paid by a consumer organisation or church to bombard 'immoral' companies with emails, to create moral panics or even crash their servers.

Coolhunter - locate 'cool' trends and betray them to an advertising agency. Not as well paid as you'd like to imagine.

Cyberanimal Handler - feeds the enhanced security dogs when they aren't on patrol. Balls of steel required: literally, if the animal takes a sudden disliking to you.

Cyberwear Technical Support - "Help! My cyberbrain is malfunctioning!" "Have you tried turning it on and off?"

Designer Ecosystem Monitor - make a futile attempt at the behest of the government, the agricorps (yeah, right) and the ecogroups to prevent the abuse of GM plants or their escape into the greater ecosystem. Might involve use of a flamethrower!

Dog Walker - the first group of people to do badly in a recession, as the Londoners catering to American business people found out in 2008. In wealthier cultures, you'll provide exercise for vanity pets.



Euthanasia Attendant - Turn on the lethal injection bot, and smile sweetly.

(When I first wrote this list, this was a joke. Not any more!)

Fishermen - nomads who follow the few surviving (and RFID tagged) schools, avoiding the naval and agricorp defences to steal a small catch.

Flying Car Fuel Attendant - work with Aerodynes/Spinners/AVs and the sort of people who can afford flying cars. Work on top of a windy skyscraper. 

Gardener - keep corpzone lawns trimmed. Go home to the concrete jungle.

Home Companion - live with an elderly person, helping them to cope with everyday life. Not as well paid as it should be, because this the dark future where everyone got fucked out of their pension.

Industrial Origamist - print cheap paper frame bikes, paper refugee clothing, paper furniture, smart paper toys...

Intercourse Trainer - In an age when people have access to lots of virtual sex, many people often find normal intercourse to be a wet, smelly disappointment. Cultural critics call it "the new virginity." A select group of trainers are available to help! Become proficient with the real thing, or practice before you get married (when social convention might force you do it for real). 

You aren't legally a prostitute - the lawyers and the Union are very clear about that. The hiring process is exacting. Implanted biomonitors mandatory. 

Related to an (alleged) Japanese profession: people who will take your virginity in a pleasant manner without any of the scuffling or emotional devastation assumed to go along with the act.

TL:DR... part 2 here!