Had you lived 500 years ago, what would your profession be?

A thought came to me this morning while driving to work: had I lived in medieval times, I would have no skill of any worth for that time period. My skills and interests are purely in the soft sector, but I doubt there would be any use for those in the middle ages. I can’t hunt, farm, smith, carpent, cobble and even if I had to, I’d lead a miserable life trying to get by. Sciences would be more my thing, but I doubt I have the stomach to collect the eyes of newt necessary for the ‘science’ of those days.

I’d probably be married to some shrew of a wife and bugger the farm hand whenever she was not looking. Then got burned at the stake when I discovered alchemy and was accused of working with the devil.

How about you? How would your life translate to the middle ages?

Courtesan. :smiley:

I am an able craftswoman. Assuming that I’d been born into a healthy body*, I can cook (over a campfire/in a fireplace as well as with a microwave and other modern methods), sew by hand, knit, crochet, tat, etc. I’m also a decent woodworker, I’ve made pottery items that weren’t half bad (and I’m sure that I’d get better with practice), and I can take things apart and put them back together again, and have them work better. I am extremely handy.

*If I was born into a body like the one I currently inhabit, I’d have died during my first pregnancy from a couple of different things. Also, I’m as nearsighted as a mole, so I’d have to knit or crochet, and not walk around without a guide.

I’d probably be a churl. Or maybe a varley knave.

If family history is to be believed, back then, I’d have been royalty. Wrong side of the bedsheets - and a female bastard to boot - further down the line, alas.

But translate me as I am to 16th century England and I’d likely be a scribe or accountant to a fish merchant.

Village idiot.

Based on what my family history looks like, probably a small farmer.
Based on what someone with my talents and knowledge could do in those times, I’d probably be a Rasputin-like figure.

As the OP seems to be asking only about translating skills (i.e., forget about family background, poster’s gender, etc.), I imagine I would have been either some sort of artisan (if born into an appropriate class) or a very hands-on smallholder. Given my lack of skill at delicate work, I’d be more likely to be a blacksmith than a goldsmith (both professions were open to women in my homeland, but neither in my mother’s; which professions were available to women varied a lot by location).

Something with textiles - spinning, weaving. Knitting/crochet, too (if it’s around by now?).
Although I probably wouldn’t have survived to adulthood without becoming horribly disfigured, as I had one of these things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemangioma on my left eye as a baby that would’ve blinded me in my left eye if it hadn’t been treated by modern medicine (As an aside, when I was treated, the drug they used had never been tried on infants my age before – I’m mentioned in the paper describing the study as one of the principle subjects.)

I’d have been a small farmer, smith and/or soldier, just like most men of that era. My current occupation simply didn’t exist back in those days.


Well, not only skills, but basically everything that makes you you. I.e. gender, sexual preference, physical advantages or disadvantages, skills, interests, etc.

My parents were not rich or even well off (although I wouldn’t consider them poor), so I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford any schooling. They would probably be farmers, which means I’d be one too, but pretty bad at it. Since I also prefer men, I would have to get married eventually, but be persuing any kind of boy ass I could find, and probably remain childless. My wife would resent me, but unable to leave me would make my life a living hell. I would escape this with the only interest I have that I can translate: science. I probably wouldn’t be able to read, but would find some interesting knick-knacks at a traveling fair where an alchemist would show me some tricks in mixing stuff to get blue smoke or something. I’d buy some stuff and either blow up my house, or get taken away by some witch hunter (after rumors of me buggering the neighbouring farm hands and dabbling in arcana).

A pretty dismal life.


Well if I can put aside the fact that I’m a gay woman, which would result in being forced into a loveless marriage, churning out kids to some smelly oaf…

And if I can also ignore my family tree that would suggest a career as an unskilled farm hand or soldier…

Given the creative skills I use in my current profession (graphic designer), if I could choose, I’d be an artist churning out frescoes for the church, perhaps apprenticed to Michelangelo or similar. In an ideal world.

I do think, barring the unknown benefits I’ve reaped from immunisation, that I’d be alive and relatively healthy. I’m now 40 and have had no major health scares and don’t need glasses. Another plus for being an artist!

Could you not have become a Nun?

Oohh… That reminds me, I’d rather be a monk than a alchemist. I’m quite good at caligraphy and having all those men around would probably keep my love life pretty happy, too. If only I could get around being an atheist, but I could probably fake that.

Gentleman thief. Like Raffles but with more scurvy.


I’d be a blacksmith. I’m 6’6" and 330# so I’m sure I would have been easily apprenticed. I’m an engineer now so I have a mechanically inclined mind and would probably have been pretty successful.

Assuming I was in England, I’d have to be an archivist/librarian at an Oxford college, seeing as I’ve already done that twice.