I've noticed an interesting pattern in my discussions with people. It hasn't been even a quarter generation since the event, but everyone treats it as different epoch of history, and a nigh mythological one at that. Most are disinclined to speak of their prior jobs in the same way no one speaks of a former life as a priest of Apollo or a Mayan elder.
The only time it ever seems to come up is when they are complaining. No one introduces themselves as "I'm Bill, I was an accountant before the event." But get William hot under the collar while under siege and you'll get an off hand comment like "these things are worse than people asking for refunds on April 15" or some other oddly inappropriate comment.
Perhaps its becasue they don't want to face the past. They had a family, friends, home life and virtual realities back in the same time they have a job. Now... not so much. Even the doctors and surgeons don't tend to mention their expertise up front. Not that I blame them - they were hit the hardest. Physically from being on the front lines trying to figure out what was going on. Inside, well all doctors feel it when they lose a patient, and most of them lost a few thousand...
Of course, for all the nostalgia, it wasn't that great. Infection raters were on the rise as were sea levels. A lot of people were displaced, and when you got a refugee problem like that, people turn. And don't get me even started on that f-ing war down in South America. The closest actual military people were 200 kilometers from any given firefight, and civilian casualties still went through the roof. Use only drones, pull apart the infrastructure, let it collapse, then waltz in. But when its decentralized and the utilities are buying power back from citizens with green energy what do you do? Suddenly, every hacienda with photovoltaics and hotel with windmills is part of the war effort.
And they wonder why tranquilizers sell so well.
Of course, it would be more ghoulish than anything walking around out there to say things have made a turn for the better after the event. There are some enclaves of people who think so, but I'd prefer to give them a wide berth. No, its much, much worse. But its a second chance. A bad second chance is better than none at all.
Prison records, work records, the slate has been wiped clean. And there aren't really the old jobs that let one fall back into the old complacent standards. Some of the people up in one of the NESTS or eeking out in some other arco might try. So long as people have hair, there's going to be barbers, con men to fleece them, and bankers to play off both sides. ha. But most of use are thinking it over.
Even though they've gotten their second chance, its still stuck doing the same ol' same old. It might be digging potatoes rather than data mining - but everyone is still stuck in tasks that don't have individual meaning. It might put food on your plate overall, but that one potato right there or the one left of it - doesn't matter which you pull up first.
I've been going for Keruac's "On the Road" or Walt's "Pioneers O' Pioneers".
My mission is to draw people on out here. We all got to eat, so I can't take every farmer of course, and well some people just have the temperament for it wand wouldn't take to me. But this is the one chance everyone has to be an explorer, to see everything old like new. Five, ten years top things are going to be running like before. Don't you doubt it, people can do some great things when they work together. But I want them to have a taste of the real life beforehand.