When I was a child, my mother used to warn me against not studying diligently. She used to tell me that if I fail to finish my schooling and course, I will likely end up as a poor garbage truck driver or a mere welder in a machine factor. I tried to shrug it off, as it was a bothersome statement. There is no one I respect more than blue-collar workers who are willing to do all the work so that most of us can live comfortably.
The Importance of Blue-collar Jobs
Blue-collar jobs are extremely underrated when it comes to career choices. A blue-collar job is a type of employment wherein manual labour is more pronounced and emphasised over intellectual-type or white-collar jobs. They are also mostly compensated by an hourly wage. Most blue-collar jobs are what would require more brawns to function rather than the brain. Although that is where most fears come from. Allegedly, since it only takes manual labour, it is “easier” than a white-collar job.
The above statement regarding ease of labour is definitely a false one. Manual labour is one of the hardest jobs there is. Not only is manual labour belittled and underestimated, but it is also underpaid. Low-wage workers are known to be the most vulnerable group in the economy. Aside from being underpaid, the system has already trapped them into having no benefits with little to no bargaining power. There are also some allegations that they are the example of modern-day slavery, where they are exploited and economically abused for the modern-day master’s selfish gains.
There is no cause to fret, however. Blue-collar jobs nowadays are praised for their resiliency, patience, and strength. It is mainly because a lot have become more sympathetic to their cause. They are the true backbone of every single economy in the world. If one large group of factory workers decide to hold a strike, literally the whole economy is crippled. Take the coal miners in the United Kingdom, for example. Their bargaining with the government caused their economy to collapse and for power to blackout for a few weeks at a time. While currently still prone to abuse, a lot more people are rallying and championing their causes. Blue-collar jobs are nothing to look down to. Without these resilient workers, the economy would run to a halt.
Blue-collar Workers and the Digital Landscape
They are also slowly becoming recognised as the backbone of the digital world as well. Manufacturers of the most technologically advanced items in the market still require the human touch when doing quality checks. While it is true that most of the manufactured items that are gadget-related or modern machine-related are only made accurately by a machine, not everything can be replicated by factory machines. There are still some parts of the manufacturing process that requires the human hand. General electricians have maintained the factory to continue to be working. Specialised technicians work hand in hand with engineers to keep the machines in tip-top shape. The ingenuity and training of these efficient and tireless workers ensure that the human race has enough electronics to propel us forward.
Training has also become easier for those who want to make a simple career out of blue-collar workers. Thanks to their own efforts, blue-collar work has become more accessible and available than ever. As opposed to centuries ago, where apprenticeship is needed to gain access to the skills and experience for manual labour, the combined effort of the blue-collar job has made it possible for anyone to enter the field. Electrician trade certification courses are now easily accessible even through an online class. Manual labour such as welding and carpentry can easily be learned through practice in online classes.
How These Jobs Help Society
As there is an overflow of intellectual work in the modern world, we slowly become more aware of how important blue-collar jobs are to keep a functioning society. They are the ones who sacrifice their life and limb to keep things either moving or where they should be. Similar to how important they are in digital industries, we must continue to respect the work and time we all spend suffered to work.
Blue-collar jobs and digital industries are slowly being integrated. We are moving forward to the digital age, and we are definitely not leaving blue-collar jobs behind. Our reliance on these low-income workers is becoming more significant and important than ever. This marriage of two seemingly opposing ideas — manual and automation — is the pinnacle of human ingenuity and sacrifice. As we move forward, we mustn’t forget that we were supported and led first by blue-collar workers.