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.