Three Letters Re: Preparedness Considerations for College Students

Dear Jim:
A suggestion for storing preparedness supplies while in college: Get a small self storage unit at a local self-store. I had one all through college, which made it much easier to move from apartment to apartment, as college students often do. It was very reasonably priced.

I made sure it was in a storage facility that actually locks and closes at night. The unit was on the north side of the building, so it did not get as hot as other units. Nowadays, many cities have indoor, climate controlled facilities that are even more secure.

The advantages are that your gear is all in one place, ready to go. I consider the facilities more secure than dwellings. They are certainly more anonymous than dwellings, as no one except who you tell will know anything about your personal business, and what is stored there. And as stated before, it makes moving much easier. – Mark R. in New Mexico



My comment on the college student who advises petroleum geologist as a post-TEOTWAWKI career and advises against anything to do with electricity. My advice would be the opposite. Anything to do with oil requires a huge infrastructure of refineries, financial institutions et cetera, while small hydro, wind and solar will still be going and still viable. The current production output dictates that there will be electric heaters, motors, computers etc available and anyone who can make or keep them operational will be in demand. I live in an area where almost all of the current production is hydro and because the plants are so old (50-90 years) they would still operating, especially small ones in out of the way places that are either not on the grid now or can be configured to run off the grid. – Karen L.


Hi –
Regarding Sam’s recent comments to avoid any career involving a computer, I believe that to be unwise advice. As with any career choice, there are sub-specialties within a given field that can be very lucrative. I’ve been an I.T. security professional for over 15 years, and I can say firsthand that choosing anything to do with networks or better yet information assurance and security would be a very, very wise choice.

Demand for skilled, intelligent computer and network security professionals is at an all-time high, and is increasing steadily. Further, the quality of the people graduating and the quality of those who have been in I.T. for 3 years or more is steadily decreasing. This is creating a “perfect storm” of high demand and low supply which translates directly into increased income, basically allowing a skilled I.T. security pro to name their price. On my team alone we have had two openings that we cannot fill and we’ve been interviewing so-called candidates (I use the term loosely since these folks barely qualified at any level) for months.

Information security is an even better choice if, like Sam and many others, you subscribe to the long, slow decline theory rather than the cataclysmic event theory of preparedness. As society slowly disintegrates, the demand for information security pros by large corporations, governments and even well-to-do individuals will only increase. People and companies will always want to make money…think of the TV series “Jericho” to see what I mean.

The trick is to keep your skills and training up to date, and to keep yourself from getting locked into any one position or company (or even geographical location) for any length of time. Stay mobile…a “hired gun” or troubleshooter, for example. A solid information security pro can easily command a salary in the $100,000-$200,000 range even in the Midwest. With the right combination of certifications, experience, and skills, a good pro can make even more working for a large company or law firm on the coasts, in the South, or even overseas.

A frugal prepper working as an infosys security pro for 3-5 years or so could sock away a serious amount of money, more than enough to buy a sizable chunk of productive land outright and stock it with everything needed to go off the grid. The point is not to over-react to what you think will happen…leverage your skills to make as much income as possible while you can, live well below your means, and use the difference to launch and establish the lifestyle you really want.

Another group in the I.T. industry that is in high demand are the business continuity and disaster recovery specialists, as well as facilities management professionals. Again, as things get worse in our society, the demand for people who can help ensure business continuity (and business security) for a large corporation can make a very respectable salary. In my experience, companies like GE, Proctor&Gamble, Wal-Mart, pharmaceutical companies, et cetera will do everything they can to keep making money no matter what, even if it looks like the world is ending, and they will pay handsomely for people who can help them do it. – JT