McThag has a great post up on White Collar vs Blue Collar. Go read the whole thing, because I’d just need to quote the whole thing.
Still I start with this one:
When did it get decided that blue collar people were the poor?
I know a lot of blue collar folks and they damn sure aren’t poor.
I’ll turn it around and point out that I know a TON of people who are firmly white-collar who ARE poor. At least in the paycheck-to-paycheck side. They aren’t homeless, but they are fucked economically. Further there are a ton of people serving coffee and waiting tables (blue collar jobs) with bachelors and masters degrees in worthless markets. Are these people White collar or blue collar?
And yes I know a TON of blue collar guys who are VERY well off. My Plumber does VERY well for himself, as does my carpenter, as does my mechanic. There are TONS of jobs where your hands get dirty and your collar is blue where you can make a damn good living.
Also there are TONS of white collar jobs where the pay is TERRIBLE…and to get them you need a four-year degree! This was the basis for the #Occupy riots. People who had gotten under CRUSHING debt and simply will NEVER be able to pay it off unless they do something drastic.
I almost fell into that trap. I loved the ocean and sea life, so I decided to get my degree in Marine Biology. Thankfully I don’t have the aversion to “Blue Collar Work” that seems to be preached in schools these days, and I spent 5 years working on commercial fishing boats collecting research data. It was dirty, smelly, dangerous, and exhausting, and I enjoyed it, and it paid well.
When I got married and decided it wasn’t fitting my lifestyle anymore I started to look for a lab job where I could do something closer to the 9-5 weekends off sort of life. I found that the jobs were TERRIBLE! They had good hours, and weren’t offshore, but the pay was AWFUL! I could have gotten roped into that if I somehow felt my identity was tied to fish.
It wasn’t and I started working in the pharmaceutical industry. Since I was a marine biologist, I needed to start at the bottom. My degree looked good on my resume, but for that job I didn’t NEED it, there are lots of people doing what I did with just an HS diploma and a few certifications.
Again, I was a white-collar guy, but my job made that collar look awful blue.
In the end our current school system is somehow saying that blue collar work is bad, and getting a degree has no drawbacks. It sure does!
More on that here:
If my daughter shows ANY interest in blue collar work, she will get all the encouragement from me, just as if she chose to go to college for her career plans. Of course if she wants to study Russian art, or Polynesian literature, or get any sort of BA degree she will be informed that she will not get any financial help from me! No point on throwing good money away on bad sheepskin!