Whether you’re a recent high school graduate - slash soon-to-be senior - considering options for your life’s path, or of a previous generation looking to make a career move, there is plenty of opportunity across all industries of the skilled trades for us all! In this article we hope to help you weigh the pros and cons by digging into the four biggest fallacies we believe are steering people away from the skilled trades and shed some light on the truth about some of the real benefits to be had!
FALLACY #1 | YOU CAN’T MAKE AS MUCH MONEY
While we believe a fulfilling and enjoyable career is about far more than just the money, we realize it’s a big factor and often top of mind. So, let’s address it right away. Salaries range widely across both blue-collar and white-collar fields, making it hard to compare directly in a short article like this. But in a general comparison, you’ll find that there are numerous cases where starting wages are actually higher in blue-collar fields. The number of these higher-paying skilled trades positions only continue to climb as the demand to fill these positions grows.
Even in the case of white-collar careers with higher long-term earning potential, ultimately the playing field evens out once you take into account factors like hefty student loans that those earnings have to go towards. Verses in the case of the blue-collar worker, who can get through more field-specific programs quicker, for less than half the price tag of a degree for white-collar positions, and often times while already working and earning in their chosen field.
FALLACY #2 | THE WORK IS UNDESIRABLE AND UNSATISFYING
Sure, you’ll get your hands dirty. But as it turns out, that’s half the fun, and probably one of the most satisfying parts of the trades. Two thirds of people worldwide put themselves in the category of “Unhappy at work”! But what if I told you there are jobs available that can both engage you and provide for you, and ultimately lead to a happier work/life balance?
There’s no denying the satisfaction that comes with accomplishing a hard task with your own two hands! Studies are showing the most dissatisfied workers are those that are bored and spend too much idle time in the workplace, which is not a problem plaguing the blue-collar industries like it is for white-collar. Society often even mocks the drone-like environment of white-collar careers filled with cubicles and screens and yet that’s where so many of our youth have been defaulted to aim towards. But there are other valuable and honorable options available that will get you up and moving, using both your brawn AND your brain!
“Roughness of the hands and scorchings of the sun on the face are the truest badge that a man can wear to show that he belongs to the great society of the workers and not of the drones.”
- Luciano Palogan to the Philippine School of Arts and Trades, 1910
FALLACY #3 | I CAN’T BE CREATIVE OR FOLLOW MY PASSION
Wrong! Creativity: REQUIRED! The skilled trades are above all, an industry of innovation and action! These are the jobs that literally built our country from the ground up. Creativity is in high demand in these fields today as we work to modernize and streamline processes.
In today’s society, there’s a lot of talk around following your passion but more and more people are finding that at the end of the day there’s no magical passion locked inside of you that you have to find. But rather passion is created and strengthened through taking something you have an interest in and pursuing mastery in it. Enter the endless opportunities within the skilled trades and you’ll find more room for growth and mastery than you could ever dream of!
FALLACY #4 | “HARD, DIRTY WORK IS BENEATH ME”
There’s no sugar coating it, many of the skilled trades are of the hardest and dirtiest career paths, but ask any truly successful person you know and they’ll tell you that nothing worth having comes without being willing to put in the hard work. It’s just part of life. It’s time to turn the conversation back to the pride and the benefits that come with being tough enough to push through and do that hard work! You know, Americans today are known to struggle with laziness and yet we’re considered one of the most overworked developed nations in the world. Imagine a career that keeps you moving daily – important parts of health and maintaining high energy – but also provides work/life balance. Sure, you’ll put in a hard day but there’s no logging in from home or during vacation in this industry. You’re at work or you’re not.
It is much harder to outsource hands-on jobs like repairs than it is technology-based jobs done online – making skilled trades careers among the highest in job security!
As they say, different strokes for different folks! When it comes to the white-collar industries verses blue-collar, there is no right or wrong answer. They each have their pros and cons which will sit differently with everyone. But make no mistake, the cultural narrative around skilled trades work is increasingly skewed.
THE TRUTH IS
As illustrated above: the pay is good, the benefits are many, job security is next to none, job satisfaction is great and best of all the opportunities are ripe for the pickin’!
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