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We can't tell what the future holds for Detroit, but that doesn't stop us from trying to make some educated guesses every year. Why? Because we have a sincere hope that the future holds good things for Detroit. It's right in our city's motto: "We hope for better things." And we really mean that.
Also, it's the end of the year, and we need to generate content that's quick and doesn't require a lot of reporting.
That's why we dug out our Metro Times crystal ball and asked a few questions. It sputtered and smoked and offered a weak glow, but here's what we believe we saw in answer to our questions:
Jobs for the New Detroiter
Detroit lost most of its factories years ago, and Dan Gilbert simply can't give everybody a job. And entrepreneurs can step into the breach only so far before we're opening coffee shops to sell people coffee while they walk to another coffee shop. For Detroit's young people, what will replace barista as the go-to occupation in 2015?
With international media descending on our fair city to ask questions and grill residents, being an expert on Detroit could become a profitable niche.
Pros: Possibilities for fame, being taken seriously.
Cons: Having to compete with Charlie LeDuff for attention; having to remember how to pronounce Lahser, Schoenherr, and Dequindre.
Sentry for Galapagos, etc.
If stylish arts organizations are going to touch down in our midst, we're going to need people to ensure that the only people gaining access are artists (or cocktail drinkers, or jaded rich people, or people who hate art but have money), so we'll need hardy souls to bar the poor, preferably with a stylish poleax.
Pros: Protecting the rich is a growth sector.
Cons: A hundred homeless storming the gates could leave you exhausted, stinky, and quite dead.
With MDOT's plan to establish buses as the main mode of transportation around metro Detroit, it seems a good bet that young people with good driving records could make their living ensuring people get where they need to go.
Pros: The one vehicle you can drive in Detroit without being crushed by the insurance costs.
Cons: The roads you drive on will be funded by Lansing; this might take more than one bottle jack.
With wealth becoming more and more unequal, why not pursue a career making something rich people seem to love? It's a classic no-brainer: serving a clientele that can drop a hundo or two without blinking.
Pros: The trade is artisanal, and rooted in history, as Detroit was once a great cigar center.
Cons: Three out of four Detroit billionaires are too old to smoke.
Raw Milk Bartender
Since Lansing is focused like a laser beam on reducing fussy regulations and unleashing the power of business, can it be long before they legalize the sale of unpasteurized milk? Think of the possibilities of a string of "bars" serving the creamy, rich-tasting beverage.
Pros: Serving a healthful, unprocessed product to a grateful public.
Cons: Being held on the ground for hours by a SWAT team once the USDA gets wind of what you're up to.
Oh, who cares? The possibilities for gainful employment are so dim for young people, you might as well get a sign, go out in the street in your rags, and beg for money.
Pros: Make your own hours, work with the public.
Cons: Those damn sentries at Galapagos.
Artisanal Crowdfunding Worker
Online crowdfunding. Remember that? It was a terrific trend whereby would-be entrepreneurs could engage the public and seek donations for cool ideas. But to truly raise funds these days, entrepreneurs need to bypass computers altogether, hiring street barkers to artisanally source those startup funds. A sandwich board, a plastic pail, and off you go, helping put together capital for worthy ventures.
Pros: More respectable than being a mendicant, smaller carbon footprint than online fundraiser.
Cons: People believe the guy with the "I can't lie: I need weed" sign more than they do you.
Got a sick throwing arm? You could become one of the first stars of the nascent sport of football bowling, or "fowling." Get in on the ground floor on what's sure to be a billion-dollar professional sports franchise.
Pros: You'll have the field to yourself, at least at first.
Cons: Rich kid from Southern California will cream you before it's on ESPN.
City Council Member
With Detroit broken up into districts, your chances of landing a job on Detroit City Council have never been better. Just move to a troubled district, change your name to the area's dominant ethnicity, and run like hell. You could be making more than $70,000 a year.
Pros: Limited responsibility, and Lansing-appointees with veto power mean you have no real authority anyway.
Cons: The dozens of other office-seekers who just moved to that troubled district with the same idea.
Automobile Factory Worker
It's only a matter of time. If incomes get driven down enough at home, our automotive companies are sure to finally move their productions facilities back to Detroit. With UAW negotiations under way, this could be the year wages finally are low enough to where you, the young Detroiter, look like a good employee.
Pros: You'll be a piece of living Detroit history, a production worker.
Cons: Working in your spare time as a mendicant to make ends meet.
Other stray predictions from the crystal ball:
March: Jonathan Franzen moves to Detroit; buys home in Indian Village, where he's photographed for the cover of his new book, Farther Away Still.
May: Robocop statue beaten to the punch by Quicken Loans-sponsored ED-209 crimefighting machine, which short circuits and levels the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.
August: The entire neighborhood of Bushwick is airlifted and dropped into a vacant section of Detroit's east side; Gov. Snyder approves airlift only if subways remain in Brooklyn.
September: Three blocks of Corktown destroyed in senseless poutine accident. — mt