Yeap. I moved to Philadelphia and then suburban Philadelphia because the job market was far better than in my home state of Delaware.
Everytime I visit my parents, I see new housing develops with beautiful homes, far cheaper than I mine. But I wouldn’t be able to find a job down there. Where my parents live in central Delaware, a family of two teachers are among the upper middle class; while by me, two teachers are often in financial difficulty.
If I could find a way to move by my parents and still keep my career, I would do it in a heartbeat today. Sometimes I even wonder if it would be worth driving two hours each way to work…
I totally agree with you. Education is important, however, we are over stressing education. We are over stressing it so bad, that kids are attending top universities, only to become an elementary teacher or high school teacher. For those kinds of degrees, they could have attended a local, cheaper state school and still received the same job.
Plus, there tends to be the idea out there if you are plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc; then you are a failure.
It’s sad that as a society, we have started to value white collar jobs (note: I’m not including professional degrees like medical, law, engineering, etc) and white collar people as better than people who use their God given talents to make things with their hands.
As a Gen Xer, I remember lots of comments from people like: “you better do good in school, or you will be stuck being a carpenter.”
Now, for the millenials, it hard to become a carpenter out of high school if you wanted to.
I think the amount expected in order to get a scholarship or to get into the “right” college has increased a lot.
There are students and their parents out there frantically obsessing about grades who really need to obsess more about how the student is progressing as a scholar, how they are progressing intellectually, personally, and socially. Those are by no means the same thing. The former gets most of the attention, but the latter is by far the most important and can be the most difficult to reflect in a letter grade.
Sometimes, I don’t think parents even know how someone BECOMES a plumber, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, roofer, tile-setter, etc, let alone appreciate how much better those professions might suit someone than medicine or one of the paperwork professions, even someone with enough aptitude to choose to do essentially anything they set their will to do. (With the “best” students, it seems as if it is always “doctor” or “lawyer” being pushed, even those are professions that don’t suit everyone with the academic aptitude to complete the training.)
We’re now seeing all of these articles about how welders without a college education are making gobs of money more than college graduates trying to pay off 100K on $10/hour! With the tuition bubble ready to burst, I strongly suspect that the days of going to classes and hanging out in the dorms for four years to “find yourself” are coming to a close. One interesting factoid: I have my master’s and will never make more than a welder!
This isn’t quite the same as your carpenter example, but my dad is a retired college professor. He had a really talented student in one of his math courses. The student was double-majoring in secondary ed and wanted nothing more than to become a high school math teacher. It infuriated my dad when his colleagues disparaged the young man’s career choice and encouraged him to “shoot higher” or “do greater things.” Fortunately, the guy is now a teacher. But when did our culture decide that teaching was such a lesser, beneath-us career choice?
You should have heard the teacher feedback given to my relative who wanted to become a truck driver!
He got his college education, paid for it up front himself, and now he drives a truck–by choice! He is glad for the education and the social benefits that came from his time in college, but he is as happy as a clam as a truck driver.
Ha! I do this all the time. Walking between classes while looking at the lock screen of my phone pretending I’m reading something when I’m literally just staring at the time and date lol. Or when I’m eating alone, just reading some articles or on here or sports stats.
It’s so there is no awkwardness when nobody talks to me as I pass them, because I’m looking at my phone so it’s like I didn’t see them. But meh, I shouldn’t do this, it’s not a way to socialize
They don’t have the debt, but most people without at least post-secondary technical training (such as training as welders or electricians and so on) face very difficult prospects when it comes to making enough money to put food on a table that has a number of children seated around it. Even those with the training still have to be concerned that their job could be eliminated and they could have to move to find work. If that means moving away from the support of an extended family, that can get really precarious. Without that training? I can’t imagine the concern that there will be some really expensive medical need that would wipe out any savings. Honestly, we had to get new tires for our car that we didn’t expect we’d need, and I couldn’t imagine how people living paycheck to paycheck could have absorbed the cost.
Employers have competitive pressures to pay their least-skilled workers low wages in order to compete, too, but something has to give. It is heresy in some quarters to say it, but if we had universal health care of some kind it would lift a lot of the burden on employers who pay so much to provide health care and it would remove a big yawning cavern of fear from families who don’t have insurance. I’d think there would have to be a sliding-scale co-pay to keep people from abusing the system, but removing the fear of financial ruin due to a serious injury or illness would be a good thing for those working in the lowest salary ranges.
Getting back to the topic, I agree that the older generations have handicapped millennials and Gen-Yers in many ways. On the other hand, I get quickly tired of all of the generation-bashing in the media. The younger generations have a lot more on their plate than the Boomers ever did, as the former are facing stagnant wages and heavily over-inflated costs of housing, education, and health care. Their parents may have done them no favors, but their current struggles will make them resilient.
The other question on some of the blue-collar jobs is how hard are they on your body. Many occupations can have long term health consequences, and people may not be able to as effectively stay in a job until retirement age or beyond as they would in an office type job. The advantage of a desk job is it has little to no physical requirements.
Yep very true. My career/job (Massage Therapy) is very labor intensive. There’s only so many I can do in a day or week before I feel the effects. And if I’m sick then I lose out on the whole day’s pay as I don’t get sick pay. I also lose out if a client “no shows” me. People in this field often last only 2-10 yrs…a lot move on to another health care field and some go back to their first career.