You’ve probably heard someone make a reference to ‘collar jobs’ of some colour or other before, probably a person who was over 40 though. It was an unofficial system that essentially grouped and low-key ranked certain jobs together. The thing is these terms were invented in the 20s and 30s. In 2019 these lines are so blurred it’s hard to see the relevance for these terms anymore. Not to mention old dress codes often need not apply.
Let’s break it down.
The OG Terminology
While there are a few colours kicking around, the main terms you would have heard are ‘White Collar’ and ‘Blue Collar’.
The former was coined by an American writer in the 1930s in reference to clerical, administrative and managerial roles. Aka, these were the salaried, professional jobs. Dare I say, there was even a stigma around these being ‘better’ jobs.
The latter was a term first used in 1924 to talk about the ‘working class’. These were the people who were in manual work and paid per hour or per work done. And there was a certain snobbish assumption that these jobs involved less brain power and didn’t need education beyond high school.
The whole societal and therefore working structure is (thankfully) hugely different from back in the day when these terms were invented. The trades are highly sought after, often salaried and generally very well paid work. Plus there’s always the option to work for yourself by starting your own business. So what colour do you fall under then?
Even for ‘White’ collar jobs, it seems a crazy task to try and identify them any more. Businesses are changing and growing. There is a huge rise of entrepreneurs and a class system is basically obsolete. And there are so many pathways to get into all jobs that don’t necessarily involve university degrees.
The New Outlook
Technology has changed, demands have changed and jobs roles have morphed and blended so much that there just is no black and white classification across industries anymore.
In fact, due to the growing need for workers to be able to have hands-on knowledge with the ability to wield diplomatic office skills, one could argue there’s a need to be a little bit of both.
And then you need to throw in the rise of technology and a need for workers to be able to successfully use it and keep up with the changes. In fact, it’s such a big trend that people who develop the skills needed in technology jobs outside of university are even starting to be known by their own name: New Collar Workers.
What Does It All Mean
It means go your own way. If university is for you, then great if it’s not, who cares? There are so many other ways to get into the job of your dreams. Same goes for the type of job that calls to you. If you love being hands-on, find a job to suit that. If your gifts have more to do with a computer and desk, fantastic, go do that.
Just do you bb.