Fallback careers: locksmithing


in Economics, Security

Starting a PhD program in the fall, I am fully aware that the associated job prospects are poor. It’s a long investment of time, and the skills to be acquired are of interest to only a very few employers who already have a great many applicants and who are mostly losing funding.

Investing in a practical skill seems like a decent risk mitigation strategy. I can keep doing some commercial photography on the side, but that’s another field crowded with amateurs chasing too little work for poor monetary returns.

Perhaps it would be worthwhile to become certified as a locksmith. It would be interesting, and I suspect it’s a growth business. I think the future will be full of fear, with people keen to protect what they have from others who will try to take it. The world’s governments also have an unsavoury enthusiasm for completely eliminating individual privacy.

That creates double opportunities for locksmiths, since they have skills demanded by both those trying to keep attackers out and by those determined to break in.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan June 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

That sounds like a really good idea. Another idea might be to train as an electrician: I suspect more people will be interested in solar panels/microhydro/wind power/etc. in the future, and being able to wire those systems will be an in-demand skill. Also, cultivating potatoes is a growth industry.

souris June 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

More advantages to being a locksmith: people are generally really happy to see you, and (unlike a plumber) you don’t generally have to worry about what kind of muck is going to fall out of a lock.

And with so many electronic locks nowadays, a move sideways into electrician would be a natural. :-)

Byron Smith July 2, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Twice I’ve locked myself out of a flat in the last ten years (once almost ten years ago and once just a couple of months ago) and engaged the services of a locksmith. Both times, I was jaw-droppingly stunned at how quickly a locksmith was able to access my (locked) home. Each time, with locks that I considered to be at least of decent standard, access was gained in under five seconds. Both times, I wondered about the vetting and accreditation of locksmiths and the huge potential for misuse of their skills.

Milan July 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm

A cheap snap gun can probably open your door in under five seconds, with no skill required.

Milan July 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Even high security locks are often highly vulnerable to bump keys, which also require no skill.

Byron Smith July 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Yes, the first guy used a snap guy. At the time, I hadn’t seen one before.

Locksmith NYC July 8, 2012 at 5:49 am

As a locksmith I can tell you that not everything is so good in this proffesion, even I like being a locksmith – there are times that you don’t have any work, or if you have – you must work in 2-5 AM, so you can sleep.
But good luck anyway….

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