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White Collar vs. Blue Collar


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#1
keithr128

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I am a foreman at a union roofing shop, and though I am just 29 I have been in this trade for 16 years already, I worked nights and weekends (only 2 nights a week though) at the non-union company where my father still works today and when I turned 18 after high school I joined the local union in my area.
While I may not have gone to college, I think that the apprenticeship program that I went through was basically the same thing, you start out at 40% and go up 10% each year until you are considered a journeyman, I went to classes twice a week for 3½ hours per class after work and from June to October there were also two 8 hour Saturday classes each month
I did this year round, no summer break, spring break, winter break for 5 years.
The point that I am trying to get to is that when some white collar people find out what my average yearly income is their first reaction is to say "You are overpaid."
What they don't realize and don't seem to want to hear is that I work a lot more hours than the average person.
The average white collar person, at least from my experience works around 2080 hours and that includes paid holidays, sick days, personal days and vacation, I have none of that if I miss a day of work I don't get paid.
Last year (2007) I worked 2278 regular hours and 253 overtime hours and I didn't even work for the whole month of February and made $87,703.00 in regular pay and $14,610.75 in overtime hours plus $45,332.20 that went straight to my health plan, pension plan, retirement savings fund and "vacation" fund for a total of $147,645.95. The vacation fund is money held for us and given to us every 6 months so that we can take a vacation and use that money to cover the unpaid time that we are on vacation.
The idea for this topic came to me when, recently I was in Baltimore visiting a friend and his fiancée, while we were out this discussion came up and a friend of hers made the same comment mentioned above and also said "Someone that didn't go to college should not be making that much money unless they own a business."
My reason for this topic is to ask others for their opinion of this since I am sure there are loads of people on this site from both working classes.
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#2
BHowett

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Ha ha… this topic should be good, I learned along time ago never to discuss three things in an open forum.. politics, religion, and of course business. There are just too many opinions out there, and it will surly case users to get mad and post thinks they shouldn’t …

With out giving any big details… I will say I agree that people do tend to form certain opinions about certain jobs… in my job for example I am a Organized retail Crime investigator for a national retail chain, and most people are clueless to what kind of theft goes on in retail. So when they find out that I spend 90% of my time investigating theft trends and gathering field intelligence, and then the other 10% of my time locking people up, their reaction is I am over paid and don’t really do any real work… so I can kind of see where your coming from with this post. :)
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#3
keithr128

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Ha ha… this topic should be good, I learned along time ago never to discuss three things in an open forum.. politics, religion, and of course business.


I thought that too as I was typing that post up, but I have noticed that the majority of people on these forums will
give a rational argument and quality reasoning behind their thoughts on this subject and of course our crack team of moderators will do away with any trolls and flamers that may come along.

Thanks for your response BHowett.
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#4
dsenette

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"Someone that didn't go to college should not be making that much money unless they own a business."

i think this statement is indicative of the weight that people in our country (the US) put on a college education...i've known MANY people who've got master's degrees that are overpaid for what they do and couldn't work their way out of a paper bag....my grandfather graduated from the 7th grade....he went the farthest in school than any of his other brothers or sisters.....at one time he owned his own shipyard in southern Louisiana and built 100s of wooden and steel hull ships (not boats...ships...his largest was 180" steel hull crew boat for the navy)...all this without even a high school education....the man can take out an old school carpenter's ruler (you know the old wooden ones that fold up) and do anything that you can do with a graphing calculator (i've seen him do some complex long division and fractions and all kinds of crazy stuff with that ruler)....now if he wanted to get a job comparable to his position at HIS shipyard at another shipyard now....he'd get laughed out the door because he doesn't have a degree in engineering....so what

i run into similar problems myself...i went to ITT and got an associates degree in networking...i get guff from people that i know who've got a bachelor's degree from a "real" college all the time....yet....when they've got some funky routing problem....or can't figure out something in AD...who do you think they call?

there was a time when skills and experience outweighed education and you could apprentice with an expert and that was all the degree you needed...but that's not the case anymore....people are hung up on education
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#5
sari

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keithr128,

I would ignore anyone who had the gall to tell you that you're not worth the salary you're making. You're in a physically demanding job that many of these college-educated people wouldn't even want to do. You may not have a college degree, but you've still needed and completed training to do your job, and you've clearly worked to reach a higher level. Just because it doesn't require a degree doesn't make it easy or not worthy of decent pay. I think the people who feel this way sometimes think that a lack of a degree means lower intelligence, which therefore means you don't deserve to be paid more - we know that's not true..

I'll be honest - I come from a family where education is very highly regarded, and most members of my family attended Ivy League or other prestigious colleges and universities. I chose to break the mold by going to a state college in the south, because that's where I felt I belonged. Unfortunately, I was raised with feelings of bigotry towards blue collar workers - it came from my background. I had to work to overcome that. It helped that I married someone who was the first in his family to graduate from a 4 year university. His parents both dropped out of high school, got their GEDs, and worked in factories their entire lives, as did many of his relatives. To me, the important thing is they all have a tremendous work ethic - they always did their best and they were successful at what they did.

What I've come to realize over the years is that everyone has different interests and abilities, and there are an awful lot of jobs out there that aren't glamorous, or high-powered, but they are absolutely necessary. I think the important thing is that you are proud of what you do, that you always perform to the best of your ability, that you set a good example for your son. If you are fortunate enough, as you are, to earn a good living, don't let anyone make you feel ashamed of that - it's their small-mindedness that's making them say that.
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#6
Troy

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I think this relates well to the thread:

There recently was a billboard nearby, advertising for trades people, (there's a huge shortage at the moment over here). It's going to be hard to describe, so here goes...

On the very left, a small fancy boat, obviously still worth quite a good $$$, and underneath it "The Dentist's Boat".

In the middle, a medium-sized fancy boat, bigger than the Dentist's Boat, this one is "The Doctor's Boat".

On the right, there is a huge, fancy boat that just looks so much better than the other two combined! Underneath it, the sign said something like "The Carpenter who built their houses' boat".

It was very funny, more so than these words can describe. But the point of the advertisement was to get people to realise that there's plenty of money to be made, and you don't have to be a dentist or doctor (years and years of education's worth) to earn it.

As long as you enjoy your job. :)

Cheers

Troy
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#7
james_8970

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Generally speaking, during the 1990s and early 2000s, I found that many people placed a lot of weight on university education. I've been pushed down this road as of late without evening knowing what I want to do, but that's a different story for a different time. Basically what it comes down to is that today and in the future there are going to be two groups that will be on the higher pay scale. Of all the groups out there, I believe IT and trades will be the higher paying jobs, trades will likely edge out the IT sector. Many will likely disagree with my assumption, but from what I've seen over the past few years people are becoming lazier and lazier by the day and many have begun to value people in the trades more and more, because most would rather sit in front a TV screen or are too busy to complete the tasks themselves. Generally speaking, as there is a increased demand for these workers and a decreased in the amount of people wanting to do more physical jobs, the wages are forced to skyrocket and will continue to do so for a long way to come. This will primarily be fueled by the retirement of the babyboomers.

Many people factor education in a way too much when you make a reference to the pay scale. Ultimately what it comes down to is that you will be paid the most doing what you love to do, university/college education or not. I used to let people bother me when they tried to make themselves look superior by knocking me down, but I decided that I was just as good as them, if not better at many other tasks.
James
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#8
TheQuickBrownFox

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I'm still an undergraduate but I'm already convinced that education or the school's prestige isn't as "big" as they say it is. I myself am a student in arguably the best university in my country. Even if that's so, I meet a lot of people around my age and sometimes even younger than me who's A LOT better than me in my specialization even if they come from some random university or even just a 2-year training/education program.

What I really think is that at least in the IT sector, it's the desire to learn and practice our chosen specialization that makes us successful - hence end up with high paying jobs - and not the quality of education that we get. The formal education we get becomes outdated over time - we all know that. Therefore, it's the willingness and openness to learn,relearn and work hard that dictates what we can accomplish and gain - salary, reputation, whatever.

Edited by ditrackster, 13 May 2008 - 01:31 AM.

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#9
K Galli

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I've completed about half of my college degree and as part of the degree I have worked for companies with technicians and shop workers who do not have their college degrees. I have no idea what they are paid but I do know that if you want to get help with something you go to them. The managers and such that are meant to help me just push me away while the people in the receiving dock will take an hour of their day to explain the steps they have to go through just to accept a package. I also know that my uncle who went college and received a degree as an accountant dropped it after two years and went back to carpentry. In the end if you do a needed job and do it well you should be paid accordingly, no matter if that job is managing people or manging incoming packages.

On a side note, I'm constantly disgusted at the amount many sports players and actors/actresses are paid.
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#10
loophole

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If you do something and do it well you should be paid accordingly. You could spend 12 years in college, but if you suck at what you do then why should you be paid more just because you went to college?

On a side note, I'm constantly disgusted at the amount many sports players and actors/actresses are paid.

I agree it is annoying but it would be contradictory of my previous statement to say its wrong. I highly doubt anyone that could perform at a high level at any sport would turn down the money. I wouldn't.
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