#1 The White Collar Man vs. The Blue Collar Man
03-02-2010, 02:12 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
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?
03-02-2010, 02:20 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.In most sports, cold-cocking an opposing player repeatedly in the face with a series of gigantic Slovakian uppercuts would get you a multi-game suspension without pay.
In hockey, it means you have to sit in the penalty box for five minutes.
03-02-2010, 08:50 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.
Please don't shoot me
03-02-2010, 09:02 AM"Today, [the American voter] chooses his rulers as he buys bootleg whiskey, never knowing precisely what he is getting, only certain that it is not what it pretends to be." - H.L. Mencken
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Northern Virginia
SonnabendGuest03-02-2010, 10:02 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.
03-02-2010, 10:11 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.
03-02-2010, 10:43 AM
Please don't shoot me
03-02-2010, 11:10 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. ;)
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