How to stop people from looking down on manual labor jobs

Discussion in 'The War Room' started by Melilot, May 14, 2014.

  1. Melilot

    Melilot Brown Belt

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    Having moved from Germany to the US at a young age, I was surprised at the difference in the way we hierarchise so-called "blue-collar" and "white-collar" jobs.

    In Germany, when a child tells his parents he wants to become a chef, a car mechanic, or a carpenter, the parent is just as glad and supportive as when the child wants to pursue a career in academics, law or medicine.

    The vocational training system in Germany is also set-up in a similar fashion to the university system; meaning that there are several reputable and highly regarded schools that offer the best vocational training.

    Getting a degree from one of these schools is worth much more than a degree from a particular humanities university, which are separate institutions and have fewer ties with the vocational training academies than the polytechnic unis which operate independantly from the humanities universities.

    Do things need to change in the US in terms of the status and appeal of manual labour jobs, especially at a time when people are overeducated and ending up with degrees that are essentially worthless?
     
  2. drstrangelov

    drstrangelov Hey.

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    The idea that people look down on manual labor is nothing more than blue collar insecurity being projected onto other people. In the United States the rich look down upon the poor, and how you got rich is only really important when it interacts with when you got rich, old money versus new. If you make your millions cleaning toilets then you're a businessman, not a shit scrubber. And if you're a broke ass lawyer, then only broke ass people who are insecure about their own educations really see that education as significant.
     
  3. panamaican

    panamaican Senior Moderator Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Things certainly need to change, America went through a period where we started pushing college as the ultimate academic goal and that anything short of that represented failure.

    The outcome is that anyone who chose a profession that didn't involve college were perceived as having been forced into that profession by an inability to get into (or out of) college.

    As skyrocketing college debt continues to, well, skyrocket then people will gradually come back to earth (pun intended) on the value of non-college based professions.
     
  4. SammyPops

    SammyPops Gold Belt

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    When I was a teen in the 90s in Canada, we were al encouraged to go to unvierstiy and people certainly discounted if not looked down upone such jobs/trades.

    That has changed big time for the better.
     
  5. oldshadow

    oldshadow Steel Belt

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    Well one thing we need to copy from Germany is the way their trade schools are set up.
     
  6. LucasWithLidOff

    LucasWithLidOff Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    And how they elect research scientists to political office instead of whiskey dick lawyers.
     
  7. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Definitely need to take a page from the German playbook on vocational training. Also, I would be in favor of using the tax code to incentivize the sort of employer sponsored apprentice -> journeyman style work training that I think is pretty common there. Of course, German business and unions work together a lot more effectively than in America, which probably contributes to the willingness of firms to invest in skilled labor.
     
  8. CableandThanos

    CableandThanos Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    nvmd
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  9. kahiljabroni

    kahiljabroni Black Belt

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    Yeh this exists..people assume blue collar guys are dummies and broke.
     
  10. shera

    shera Brown Belt

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    It's pathetic with the levels of unemplyment you have here, there's actually a shortage of blue collar professionals because colleges have dropped all vocational training. We actually have a massive shortage of qualified welders in this country and for some projects we hire from overseas and provide them with work visas. That's crazy.
     
  11. James Keith

    James Keith Silver Belt

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    The family in beverly hills worth 100 million looks down on the family next door worth 50 million.

    Just get over it.
     
  12. LucasWithLidOff

    LucasWithLidOff Double Yellow Card Double Yellow Card

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    Ban homeless people.
     
  13. MMAgirlie

    MMAgirlie Banned Banned

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    I don't know... Where I come from, some physical jobs like plumber and electrician are *very* highly regarded. Conversely, all but a few types of university degrees are looked at as a waste of time, and there is a pervasive attitude of "Oh, she thinks she's better than us" and hostility over having a degree - even if it is something that you really don't bring up in conversation.

    I do agree a lot of people look down on manual labour jobs and it would be nice to change that - in my eyes, a master carpenter or electrician is pretty much on par with a Ph.D in a field, perhaps even more laudable. There are people on both ends of the spectrum though, those who look at academia as a huge waste of time, and those who inversely look at manual labour as the stuff of peons.
     
  14. IIIIIIII

    IIIIIIII Titanium Belt

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    i think that they do. i also think that america needs to remove the stigma that is attached to manual-labor jobs. many jobs that fall into this category require a lot of education. any job where you get, "dirty", like in mechanics, engineering, etc. tend to be looked in that way.

    also, i believe that germany is the #1 exporter in the world. they are highly-educated folks who make top-notch products. they know what they're doing.
     
  15. ajwbjj87

    ajwbjj87 Black Belt

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    Yup pretty much there are very intelligent people who work labor intensive jobs, however some never had the funds to go to school so you just need to make the best of your situation
     
  16. Zankou

    Zankou Bringing peace and love Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    At the risk of stating the obvious, you are entirely correct that it is ridiculous to look down on manual labor jobs.

    BUT

    In a diverse society such as America, manual labor jobs will always go disproportionately to a lower social class, and for that reason will be stigmatized as "outside" the higher social class. In other words, manual labor has come to be associated with an under-competitive ethnic underclass. And for that reason, it will be looked down on, whereas if it's just another ethnic German fixing your car with unionized labor, you don't have that problem.

    This is why we have the ridiculous situation in America where people will work as an office minion, treated like crap and paid virtually nothing, rather than make 5x as much money and do more interesting manual work. Why? Because social status, contrary to what is commonly believed, is by far the most important motivator of human activity. Everything else is secondary. And office jobs are perceived as a different caste from manual labor, not just on the same continuum.
     
  17. Satsui Ryu

    Satsui Ryu Black Belt

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    Service economy.
     
  18. LogicalInsanity

    LogicalInsanity Co-Founder of SDLS (Sexual Deviant Leftist Scum)

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    I don't look down on any man who earns an honest living...I don't care if your folding khakis at the Gap, laying brick, or being a cashier at Mcdonalds...
     
  19. WorldofWarcraft

    WorldofWarcraft Holy Paladin Banned

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    Not really. How many kids do you know that aspire to become electricians, mechanics, plumbers, etc..?

    A decade ago, in a 20/20 segment, a guy goes to a high school, and asks the students in the auditorium to write down how much money they'll be making when they hit 30. The median was around $350k a year or so. And they were asked not what jobs they WANT to have by then, but what jobs they WILL be working when they're 30. The jobs they listed were NBA stars, CEO of a record company, and some of the most ridiculous bullshit I've seen.
     
  20. Bagatur

    Bagatur Red Belt

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    not gonna change.
    working with your hands will always be looked down upon compared to working with your brain.
     

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