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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 01:21 PM

The case for blue-collar work: College no longer guarantees success

I have a graduate degree, and I work two part-time jobs. One is teaching writing at a university; the other working at a supermarket. People don't believe me when I tell them I make more money per hour bagging groceries than I do lecturing on literary techniques.

On occasion I run into old colleagues from my early career days while I'm on shift at the grocery. Their reactions range from mild embarrassment to disdain (curled lip and all) to pity; usually a combination of all three. Sometimes there's an awkward backpedaling on their part: "Well it's a tough economy out there," or "Hey, whatever pays the bills, right?" before they shoulder their reusable ChicoBags and beat a hasty retreat.

We are a society that glamorizes white-collar professionals at the expense of their blue-collar counterparts. We take our cues from the likes of Mad Men, White Collar, or The Apprentice, not Dirty Jobs (whose name alone tells us how we as a culture deem the show's profiled professions, however lucrative). We all want to "suit up", not "uniform up". We associate office jobs with higher levels of class, income and education; "menial" jobs with lower status.

The traditional formula has always been: college = white-collar job = success. To achieve this covetable endgame, parents prep their children, as young as four-years-old, for the college path. Private pre-nursery school interviews are conducted with the sort of competitive rigor reserved for university admissions. What's most disturbing in all of this is not our desire to want the best for our children, but how narrow our definition of success is.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/19/college-no-longer-guarantees-success

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Reply The case for blue-collar work: College no longer guarantees success (Original post)
Redfairen Feb 2013 OP
get the red out Feb 2013 #1
Manifestor_of_Light Feb 2013 #2
unionthug777 Feb 2013 #3
yurbud Feb 2013 #4

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 01:53 PM

1. That's a great read

I've been saying something like this for a long time, when did honest work for honest wages become second class in this country? Why don't we honor blue collar people?

A lot of kids who are literally pushed into college would be better off in the long run if they worked toward a trade instead. Our society becomes so obsessed with certain ideals without thinking them completely through. It does a disservice to many people.

I was an idiot, got a very useless degree, but have made myself employable and am grateful for it. At one point I was running a register at a grocery store and people I had known when I was in la la land back in College would come through and I'd end up feeling so low it was like I'd been caught robbing a bank or beating up an old lady or something. My bills got paid though, I always consoled myself with that.

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 02:22 PM

2. In other news, water is wet.

This has been going on for decades. Lots of baby boomers never got good jobs or raises, despite being the best-educated generation in history.

I graduated from law school 28 years ago, and that doctorate I worked so hard to get did nothing to help me get a job.


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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 05:05 PM

3. i enjoy my job !!!

i am a union electrician, and i get to work at places many people will never see. to be more precise, rooftops of power plants ( excellent view )...and.............well...........other rooftops....hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...guess that doesn't sound like much....well..........anyways....i couldn't go to the same desk/cubicle everyday !!!! i get to go to different jobsites....different cities...and.............ummmmmmmmmmmmm.........not have to wear a suit and tie !!!!.....when i come home dirty and tired, it's a small sense of satisfaction. knowing i helped build something....seeing its completion....that's just me. blue collar. unionthug. lol

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Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 06:46 PM

4. there is dignity in all work and all work should provide a decent standard of living but

there are fewer and fewer jobs for those without a college degree or even grad degree.

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