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View Full Version : The White Collar Man vs. The Blue Collar Man



CaughtintheMiddle1990
03-02-2010, 01:12 AM
I'm in college, just starting my second semester but am beginning to have doubts...
I like to read a lot, and I don't mean to sound arrogant but literally evertything fed to me last semester was something I already knew or something that could be learned simply by opening a book on your own. My parents are professional people, Nurses, so I guess a job you could consider white collar ($80,000+ a year in the '90s when they worked)..But no so good personally, and they consider anyone without a degree to be a loser. Yet I look at the models of their parents--my grandfathers. Both were blue collar men, hard workers who had the opportunity to go to college (because of the GI Bill) but declined and one worked as a Security Guard/Postal Worker and the other a Foreman for the Park's Department, and both loved their jobs and were respected--Yet made crap money. But they nonetheless loved their jobs, made friends there and didn't seek anything more--and they were better people in general
My parents on the other hand, were miserable at their jobs for the large portion of their careers yet made good money--but had personal demons or issues perhaps greater than those of their parents.

Maybe it's just that they came from the whole Hippie materialistic generation, that one's goodness or worth is defined by a degree--As I've said my parents have called those without degrees losers--and maybe it's simply the divide I have with them and that whole generation's mindset--or maybe it's something larger that many overlook in society.

It's just sort of a dillema I face and maybe some of you can relate to...It's not that I don't have regard for intellectualism or knowledge but I think those are things that you can teach yourself by picking up a book or just observing life or interacting with others. I don't think there's too much in college (except maybe Medicine and Physics) that a person of average or above average intelligence couldn't teach themselves if they really wanted to learn and expand their knowledge.

On the other hand, I realize that a degree is a greatly respected thing in our society and leads to a much higher salary....But in many ways it seems it's an ornament to many, like "Look at me, I'm great, I have a degree, you don't, you're not."

It boils down to the question of--what defines success in life? Is it the money you make, the job you have? Does it mean being a professional or college grad? Or can success in life simply be defined by being happy at what you do, even if you're not a rich man by the end? Is wealth really everything.

It's a philosophical sort of question I pose to you and something I've been asking myself since I sort of stand at the crossroads of my own life....

To put it this way:

Who is the bigger success in life: The rich man who is wealthy beyond imagination yet knows no love and works and lives in misery or the poor man who works hard at a rough job, loves it, is beloved by all he knows and content with himself?

djones520
03-02-2010, 01:20 AM
I'm a meteorologist in the military. Does that make me a Grey Collar?

Success isn't just measured in dollars earned. It's measured in how fulfilling your life is. If your content pumping shit for a living, then whose to say it's a bad job? But if you feel like your selling your soul for a few bucks, then whats the point? You've only got one go around and you might as well make it as fulfilling as it can be.

FlaGator
03-02-2010, 07:50 AM
I am a software designer and database analyst. I am completely self taught but I started learning in the 80s when it was possible to learn on own and get a job without a degree. I have been in the field for 21 years and been has high as vice president in the Technology and Operations division of a Fortune 100 company. However, I was born with a God given aptitude for IT work. Understanding programming languages and grasping design patterns and applying them, has always come naturally. A big plus is that I love what I do and I thank God that He created me with the abilities necessary to do something that I love.

linda22003
03-02-2010, 08:02 AM
Who is the bigger success in life: The rich man who is wealthy beyond imagination yet knows no love and works and lives in misery or the poor man who works hard at a rough job, loves it, is beloved by all he knows and content with himself?

You seem to be under the faulty impression that these are the only two choices.

Sonnabend
03-02-2010, 09:02 AM
Why do I get the feeling that CU has become his workbench to bring the work he cant do himself?

A lot of this guy's questions sound suspiciously like his course material.

noonwitch
03-02-2010, 09:11 AM
I understand what you are saying, on one level. My favorite job, other than that of Delinquency worker, was working in the cafeteria at K-Mart. It was fun, it was basically a grill (not one of those old-style K-Mart cafeterias, with the nasty-looking food out where all could see it), and I had a certain amount of freedom with the menu when I was cooking, because the managers recognized I was a better cook than they usually employed. It paid minimum wage, however, and who can live off of that?

I have a complicated job-there are things I really enjoy about it, like working with kids and families who want help, and things I hate about it, like the eternal paperwork and dealing with dumb-ass lawyers. I don't make a lot of money, but a solid living- less than a teacher, more than a social worker in the private sector (except hospitals, they make good money there).

But Delinquency worker-that was the job. Unfortunately, our department no longer covers those services in the county in which I work. I loved chasing those little deviants around and giving them a hard time. I say that with love and appreciation for each one of the little bastards.

Rockntractor
03-02-2010, 09:39 AM
I'm a meteorologist in the military. Does that make me a Grey Collar?

Success isn't just measured in dollars earned. It's measured in how fulfilling your life is. If your content pumping shit for a living, then whose to say it's a bad job?
Well put but be careful! You could find yourself in deep shit!

FlaGator
03-02-2010, 09:43 AM
Why do I get the feeling that CU has become his workbench to bring the work he cant do himself?

A lot of this guy's questions sound suspiciously like his course material.

At least he is using one of the most intelligent sources of information in the known universe (if you ignore Rock and Bubba). Shows a well developed ability to find the right sources for answers to thorny problems.

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Rockntractor
03-02-2010, 09:48 AM
At least he is using one of the most intelligent sources of information in the known universe (if you ignore Rock and Bubba). Shows a well developed ability to find the right sources for answers to thorny problems.

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http://i686.photobucket.com/albums/vv230/upyourstruly/EvilMonkey.gif?t=1267541279

Gingersnap
03-02-2010, 10:10 AM
As Linda Numbers pointed out, your question isn't a zero-sum situation. Most people wouldn't be happy either living in emotional misery and making a ton of money or living paycheck-to-paycheck and having a happy family. (They wouldn't be too happy when that unexpected expense put them on the street.)

There are two parts to your question: how is status related to happiness and why are you paying such an enormous amount of money for a paper that is little better than a high school diploma was 30 years ago?

Genuinely well educated people don't look down on people without degrees. We (and I am genuinely well educated) recognize that knowledge and wisdom isn't confined to an academic setting or a particular school. We are also usually big fans of "quality". The ability to infuse quality into work comes from an attitude of craftsmanship, self discipline, and humility. These are all attitudes that are few and far between in academic settings.

So, really well educated people who think for themselves don't take "status" too seriously. Your work quality, your values, your level of personal honor, and your interactions with others make up your status - not your paperwork, lineage, or residence.

As to why a non-technical degree costs so much when it's rapidly becoming worth so little, that's a lag between education and employers. Fifty years ago an indifferent college grad had actual skills in analysis, communication, organization, planning, and presentation that few high school grads could match within the first five years of employment. College was an economic investment that paid off handsomely.

But like anything else, it's subject to market forces. In order to attract more students, colleges dropped entrance requirements and babied students along with worthless degrees, grade inflation, and endless remedial classes. Employers are no longer so impressed. The sheer numbers of graduates have diminished the worth of the education in most fields. So now you can look forward to an exciting career pouring Starbucks coffee or working in a chain bookstore with that Multimedia degree. ;)

AmPat
03-02-2010, 10:14 AM
Ginger, you elitist snob.*runs for cover*

NJCardFan
03-02-2010, 10:26 AM
As usual, Caughtinthemiddle has no understanding of reality. I don't know what planet you're living on but on my planet, nursing certainly isn't a white collar job. In fact, it's as dirty a job as one can get. Don't know of many white collar jobs that in one minute you're helping to deliver a baby while the next you're ankle deep in feces. White collar/blue collar isn't defined by the money you make or a piece of paper you earned in college. Teachers hold degrees, some doctorates, yet teaching is a blue collar job. I'm a corrections officer and if I never earn a promotion in my career, I will top out at around $80K a year, without overtime. Would you consider me a white collar worker? There are also college graduates working on oil rigs. Also, I know a lot of white collar workers who love their jobs. Same with blue collar workers. Then again, I know both types who hate their jobs. The moral is, go with what you love to do and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Gingersnap
03-02-2010, 10:31 AM
Ginger, you elitist snob.*runs for cover*

I usually think of myself as discriminating instead of snobbish but since they're both politically incorrect - whatever. :p

Rebel Yell
03-02-2010, 11:03 AM
Coming from someone with no college degree, only Navy training (which was college level electronics training), a colloge degree is more necessary today than ever. At the same time, it means less today than ever before because so many people have one.

You don't have to be rich to be happy, but being rich will not make you miserable either. I do agree, however, that most of the miserable people I know have money.

My advice to you would be to find something you love that will help you live comfortable and do it.

Gingersnap
03-02-2010, 11:48 AM
As usual, Caughtinthemiddle has no understanding of reality. I don't know what planet you're living on but on my planet, nursing certainly isn't a white collar job.

It sure is out here. RNs need a 4 year degree. A job isn't classified as white collar based on the working conditions or filth anymore; it's based on the type and length of education required as well as the career path. I know plenty of chemists who go home every night with acid holes in their jeans and I know plenty of geologists who do most of their work outside in all weathers and conditions. The high school drop out who calls me from a cube farm to pitch a survey or beg for donations is in a clean, regulated environment but she's not really in a white collar job.

CaughtintheMiddle1990
03-02-2010, 03:59 PM
As Linda Numbers pointed out, your question isn't a zero-sum situation. Most people wouldn't be happy either living in emotional misery and making a ton of money or living paycheck-to-paycheck and having a happy family. (They wouldn't be too happy when that unexpected expense put them on the street.)

There are two parts to your question: how is status related to happiness and why are you paying such an enormous amount of money for a paper that is little better than a high school diploma was 30 years ago?

Genuinely well educated people don't look down on people without degrees. We (and I am genuinely well educated) recognize that knowledge and wisdom isn't confined to an academic setting or a particular school. We are also usually big fans of "quality". The ability to infuse quality into work comes from an attitude of craftsmanship, self discipline, and humility. These are all attitudes that are few and far between in academic settings.

So, really well educated people who think for themselves don't take "status" too seriously. Your work quality, your values, your level of personal honor, and your interactions with others make up your status - not your paperwork, lineage, or residence.

As to why a non-technical degree costs so much when it's rapidly becoming worth so little, that's a lag between education and employers. Fifty years ago an indifferent college grad had actual skills in analysis, communication, organization, planning, and presentation that few high school grads could match within the first five years of employment. College was an economic investment that paid off handsomely.

But like anything else, it's subject to market forces. In order to attract more students, colleges dropped entrance requirements and babied students along with worthless degrees, grade inflation, and endless remedial classes. Employers are no longer so impressed. The sheer numbers of graduates have diminished the worth of the education in most fields. So now you can look forward to an exciting career pouring Starbucks coffee or working in a chain bookstore with that Multimedia degree. ;)

Well my mother (who has an Associates) says she feels that if someone doesn't have a college education, it says something about their character and determines their worth, in her opinion. And I detest elitist attitudes like that.

Gingersnap
03-02-2010, 04:23 PM
Well my mother (who has an Associates) says she feels that if someone doesn't have a college education, it says something about their character and determines their worth, in her opinion. And I detest elitist attitudes like that.

Your Mom is wrong. A college education "proves" that you can take tests (sometimes), that you can stick out a mind-numbing four years of hoop-jumping, and that you can pay for it (or trick someone else into paying for it).

None of that says a thing about your values, intellect, or your compassion which are pretty much what makes your up "character". ;)

CaughtintheMiddle1990
03-02-2010, 04:44 PM
As Linda Numbers pointed out, your question isn't a zero-sum situation. Most people wouldn't be happy either living in emotional misery and making a ton of money or living paycheck-to-paycheck and having a happy family. (They wouldn't be too happy when that unexpected expense put them on the street.)

There are two parts to your question: how is status related to happiness and why are you paying such an enormous amount of money for a paper that is little better than a high school diploma was 30 years ago?

Genuinely well educated people don't look down on people without degrees. We (and I am genuinely well educated) recognize that knowledge and wisdom isn't confined to an academic setting or a particular school. We are also usually big fans of "quality". The ability to infuse quality into work comes from an attitude of craftsmanship, self discipline, and humility. These are all attitudes that are few and far between in academic settings.

So, really well educated people who think for themselves don't take "status" too seriously. Your work quality, your values, your level of personal honor, and your interactions with others make up your status - not your paperwork, lineage, or residence.

As to why a non-technical degree costs so much when it's rapidly becoming worth so little, that's a lag between education and employers. Fifty years ago an indifferent college grad had actual skills in analysis, communication, organization, planning, and presentation that few high school grads could match within the first five years of employment. College was an economic investment that paid off handsomely.

But like anything else, it's subject to market forces. In order to attract more students, colleges dropped entrance requirements and babied students along with worthless degrees, grade inflation, and endless remedial classes. Employers are no longer so impressed. The sheer numbers of graduates have diminished the worth of the education in most fields. So now you can look forward to an exciting career pouring Starbucks coffee or working in a chain bookstore with that Multimedia degree. ;)


Your Mom is wrong. A college education "proves" that you can take tests (sometimes), that you can stick out a mind-numbing four years of hoop-jumping, and that you can pay for it (or trick someone else into paying for it).

None of that says a thing about your values, intellect, or your compassion which are pretty much what makes your up "character". ;)

We had a big argument about it.

My late grandpa (her dad) who she loved (but I never met as he died before I was born) was a WWII wounded vet and thus I'm sure eligible for the GI Bill...But he never took advantage of it and instead worked as a grocer, a Taxi Driver, a Pressman, a chauffeur (all side jobs) with his main long term jobs being a Post-Man and Security Guard--He worked with the Pinkertons and later private firms. He always worked two or three jobs, and enjoyed the Security work especially--I think it reminded him of his days in the army (as before WWII he was in the army essentially as a Security Guard for the Panama Canal at Fort Kobbe).

He was also very non judgmental. She claims to have loved him yet would look down on someone like him simply because he never had a degree.

Rebel Yell
03-02-2010, 05:01 PM
Well my mother (who has an Associates) says she feels that if someone doesn't have a college education, it says something about their character and determines their worth, in her opinion. And I detest elitist attitudes like that.

My old man, yes I call him old man, has a 5th grade education. He had to drop out to do the farming when my grandaddy got sick one year. That's the way it was back then. He grew up to drive a truck for someone else, saved his money bought his own truck. He hired a driver to run a second truck for him, and now has retired at 65 with his house, 30 acres of land, all his vehicles, and tractors are paid for. Just keep the lights on and pay the taxes.

That, my friend, is character. Not a piece of paper.

NJCardFan
03-04-2010, 07:23 AM
Well my mother (who has an Associates) says she feels that if someone doesn't have a college education, it says something about their character and determines their worth, in her opinion. And I detest elitist attitudes like that.
No offense but your mother can kiss my fat hairy ass. I know college educated people who have the character of a common house fly. I also know people who never went to college and who could give us all a lesson in character. A piece of paper doesn't a good person make. And for the record, an associates degree means shit.

linda22003
03-04-2010, 07:54 AM
Well my mother (who has an Associates) says she feels that if someone doesn't have a college education, it says something about their character and determines their worth, in her opinion. And I detest elitist attitudes like that.

My parents pretty much thought the same thing, but they both had doctorates, not two-year junior degrees. :rolleyes:

CaughtintheMiddle1990
03-04-2010, 11:26 AM
My parents pretty much thought the same thing, but they both had doctorates, not two-year junior degrees. :rolleyes:

An elitist attitude is still an elitist attitude, no matter the level of one's accomplishment.

AmPat
03-04-2010, 11:33 AM
It's more fun to slap an elitist than anybody else. Usually the elitist is self appointed. Take for example Barney, Nancy, OBlah Blah, Holder, Reid,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,need I go on?

linda22003
03-04-2010, 11:41 AM
An elitist attitude is still an elitist attitude, no matter the level of one's accomplishment.

I'm just saying she doesn't have all that much of a reason for it.

Articulate_Ape
03-04-2010, 02:01 PM
...nursing certainly isn't a white collar job.

Her collar looks pretty damned white to me. I'm just sayin'. :p

http://www.ibspro.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Nursing.jpg

Wei Wu Wei
03-04-2010, 02:41 PM
OP, since you're in college and you're beginning to ask yourself all these questions, I advise that you take some philosophy classes.

Philosophy is tough stuff, (also not highly regarded amongst those who only care about money) and it can very directly address your questions about what it means to be successful, what it means to be alive, what is worth living and dying for, and much more.

You shouldn't expect easy answers but as long as you can open your mind and be somewhat comfortable with not-knowing you should have a good time.

Wei Wu Wei
03-04-2010, 02:44 PM
Also, I advise you to not treat a college like a trade school.

If you want to learn some skills to go straight to work and make some money, learn a trade. It's cheaper and you'll end up with less debt and fast paychecks.

Use this time to expand yourself, your mind, question everything you accept as obvious, and challenge yourself hard.

In a few years the time for deep introspective growth will end because you'll have to start paying bills, and the sort of flexibility your mind develops will determine what kind of adult you're able to be.

Sonnabend
03-04-2010, 02:48 PM
OP, since you're in college and you're beginning to ask yourself all these questions, I advise that you take some philosophy classes.

Translation: It's time to be indoctrinated. Start reading Noam Chomsky and get an injection of BDS.

Gingersnap
03-04-2010, 02:59 PM
In a few years the time for deep introspective growth will end because you'll have to start paying bills, and the sort of flexibility your mind develops will determine what kind of adult you're able to be.

Gee, it must be awful to graduate from college and then have your intellect frozen in time because you can't handle ordinary adult tasks and continue serious study. :(


Although this problem would explain a lot of things.

Wei Wu Wei
03-04-2010, 03:04 PM
Gee, it must be awful to graduate from college and then have your intellect frozen in time because you can't handle ordinary adult tasks and continue serious study. :(


Although this problem would explain a lot of things.

No one reads or sits around thinking about "pointless" stuff as much after they graduate, that's just a fact.

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
(Source: Jerold Jenkins, www.JenkinsGroupInc.com)

Gingersnap
03-04-2010, 03:23 PM
No one reads or sits around thinking about "pointless" stuff as much after they graduate, that's just a fact.

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
(Source: Jerold Jenkins, www.JenkinsGroupInc.com)

So, the only way to get people to think, as you say, "about pointless stuff" is to force them into Higher Ed? Why bother if they just sit through a mandatory class to make a requirement and then never use the skills a minute later?

My experience is that people with native intelligence are always curious and they never stop learning or thinking "about pointless stuff" and this is true regardless of their environment, income, or educational access.

Mediocre intellects are never inspired or passionate about "pointless stuff" regardless of the presentation, ease of access, or degree of difficulty. These are the people (college-educated or not) who focused their last intellectual effort on erectile aids and celebrity diets.

Most really rigorous learning takes place outside of academic settings (apart from mathematics).

AmPat
03-04-2010, 05:20 PM
[QUOTE=Wei Wu Wei;244033]No one reads or sits around thinking about "pointless" stuff as much after they graduate, that's just a fact.

1/3 of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.66% do.
42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.58% do.
80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year. Does this include borrowed, checked out, or bought online?70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.Could the ease of internet purchasing be a consideration?
Just a couple of comments for your consideration.