Let's say it was a nuclear holocaust and billions died. The setting is the US so distances are large - people are very far spread apart. There are bigger settlements/cities but for our purposes we'll focus on a smaller settlement, let's say of about 150ish people.

What are some jobs to be expected in a settlement like this, particularly ones where you wouldn't have to venture outside much, if at all? Off the top of my head, doctors/medics probably would be staying indoors most of the time. Maybe the same with cooks. And if the settlement had a growing number of young people, teachers maybe?

Note: not a cash-based economy but rather just for keeping the settlement growing and growing into something bigger

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    $\begingroup$ Does "outside" mean outside the boundaries of the settlement, or outside of any building, even within the settlement? $\endgroup$
    – Priska
    Oct 6, 2019 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ What does the word "jobs" mean? Do you expect a money-based economy to still exist somehow? Shouldn't "jobs" be "occupations"? In the previous occasions when civilization collapsed and dark ages began, there were very few "jobs", but everybody had an occupation and worked hard. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Oct 6, 2019 at 5:06
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    $\begingroup$ With post-apocalypitc subsistence farming, around 2/3 of your 150 folks will be children...many of whom won't survive to adulthood. Your 50-or-or so adults will be perhaps 10 family groups. You won't have much specialization in such a tiny community. If fortunate, the community might have one part-time schoolteacher...and part time field-hand. Definitely no indoor-only medic or cook. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Oct 6, 2019 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ Also, in the US, folks tend to family farmhouses instead of multi-family farming villages - a legacy of farmers generally owning their land instead of renting. If you use villages, you will need to explain to your readers why the longer commute is worthwhile. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    Oct 6, 2019 at 21:01

5 Answers 5


A tiny village of 150 people will likely have every single person needing to contribute to the farming economy somehow, simply in order to remain fed. Even the local blacksmith will be out at harvest time, if only to check and do repairs on tools in the field or help fix a wagon. Similarly, doctors (or barbers if they have really devolved that far) will be making house calls, and most injuries will be outdoors due to the nature of the farming work, so they will need to go out and attend to the injured.

To supplement the food supplies, most people will either hunt, or perhaps tend to a small herb and vegetable garden outside the house. They will also need to spend a lot of time outdoors doing things like repairing fences and outbuildings, cutting wood, drawing water, setting traps for vermin and so on. Even if we postulate they have managed to salvage high tech items from the pre apocalyptic times like solar panels, they still need to go outdoors to clean and service them.

perhaps the best thing to do would be to study how the Amish live and work to see how much is required to live in a non or minimally mechanized world.


Depends on just how much salvaged stuff they have. If the timeframe envisions needing teachers, most relics will wear out. Assume that they need to replace them:

  • Food
    Possible but unlikely. Perhaps some experts at preserving food by canning, pickling, smoking, etc.
    Are mills operated by hand? Milling grain could be an indoor drudge job.
  • Clothing Much more likely indoors. Spinners, weavers, tailors, ... clothing will be a much greater percentage of the economy than it is now.
  • Containers
    The food storage, among others, will need potters and coopers. That could be done indoors.
  • Metalworking
    There could be blacksmiths, who could work in their smithy.

Aside from what is written already.

Electrical engineer/electrician. Pretty simple. People would still need electricity and a person with the ability to keep a generator running is worth their weight in gold. They fix the lights, the monitors, the hospital equipment, the floodlights, the electrical fence...etc They would be as valuable as a doctor.

Carpenter/woodworker. Again one of those professions that we need in order to life a relatively human life. Not so valuable but I recon that the ability to work with the materials given would be highly sought after. Metalworker/smith. This is important. Tools breakdown all the darn time. From nails to knives to shovels to the rest. The ability to produce and maintain those tools is what gives a settlement it's place in the world. Otherwise they are too dependent on others.

Gunsmith. Man oh man. Guns is important. With basic training people can maintain their weapons. But they break. And with no big factories flooding the market with Aks/ARs then the ability to salvage, maintain, and produce the finer parts of firearms insures that you town is safe. It is optional thought. But an important note is that most places would be unique with one having a surgeon the other an engineer...etc and when you get to the larger places those professions become common.

Handymen. Self explanatory.

Administrators. That would cross with the elders/leaders/rulers...etc of the place. But you need someone to keep tracks of bullets and blankets and water bottles...etc and those skilled enough are as important as someone with a gun.

Sniper. Everyone would know how to shoot a gun. But not everybody can effectively engage targets at a kilo and a half. They would be rare and most likely would be hunter/sniper or such. But they would be valuable and would spend a lot of time in their own town as you don't risk them. I'd imagine that your settlement has open flat terrain, probably the fields that feed you, around it and that is a perfect for a sniper. I think the rest does not need a lot of specialization or requires going outside.

Everybody can shovel garbage, shoot a gun, look at a security monitor, drive a car, stand on duty, stack stuff...etc. But the above stuff requires more knowledge and vital for surviving or thriving.


Not a Job per-se but more focussed on the "does not need to go outside" part of your question:

Frail grandparent

The spry ones might still be needed on the farm or doing odd jobs around the village but at some point they will be elderly (and/or lazy and respected enough) to have nothing to do but watch the kids, drink tea and gossip.


To go along with teachers and doctors, therapists / psychologists could be quite useful in a post apocalyptic society. A lot of people will have gone through a massive trauma and lost many loved ones. People will struggle to adapt to a new lifestyle, cooped up in a small colony, fighting to survive in this harsh world. Who wouldn't snap?


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