Collar Color

Collar Color

In some organizations, many “blue collar” and “white collar” people believe that these are two distinctly different groups of people and that they may not easily interchange. The shame of it is that there is absolutely no reason that people who are involved in manufacturing activities, in any assignment, through his or her own initiative, can’t reach beyond into more responsible and exciting roles. There is an imaginary glass wall and ceiling between them that may be fostered by a “bargaining unit” people versus “non-bargaining unit” people mentality or a similar code of behavior and no doubt includes peer pressure. You can bet that the “suck up” hang-up is also involved.

That glass wall has a terribly negative effect on the people who may never achieve levels of job satisfaction that are possible or even realize that they are possible, and it denies their company the use of that latent capability. The wall suppresses the passion and imagination that can achieve greatness.

How many people working in the “blue collar” areas have the very desirable characteristics of passion and imagination, but it is not recognized either by themselves or by others? Fortunately, many companies do enjoy an atmosphere where the blue and white collar people are fully integrated and all realize the rewards of their life’s work.

Working class (classic definition): The class of people who are employed for wages esp. in manual or industrial labor.

The very term working class and its classic definition can seem to imply negativity and a lower tier of society. It can imply that a level of spirit and effort less than the highest should be put forth, and that there is little connection in spirit to the outcome of that effort. Limitations for personal achievement are also implied.

Working class (author’s definition): The class of people, who by their own choice and effort realize the promises of “Why we work (W3)” and as a result are integral to the process of progress.

Is there anything negative about this definition?

“The man who founded Sears did not come from an elite background. Neither did the founders of such rival stores as Montgomery Ward and J.C.Penney. Nor did Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, John Jacob Astor or David Sarnoff. None of them went to college, and all of them began working as teenagers in lowly occupations, the kind our clever and smug intellectuals like to call dead end jobs. There are no dead end jobs. There are only dead end people – and most Americans do not fall into that category. America symbolizes, above all, freedom and opportunity for ordinary people.”[20]

Were these not working class people? What about people like Gates, Jobs, Dell, and countless others? Don’t they fit the definition also? Some started out in their garages or basement on a shoestring. Many risked everything, worked harder than most for years, and ultimately succeeded. The exceptions are some, but certainly not all, “old money” families and members of royalty, but they are rare by any measure. That status in no way assures any of them and, in fact, may be a handicap in achieving the great rewards of W3.

There is a different and more basic stratification of American and other democratic societies that better describes the tiers that do exist today: Those who strive to experience the promises of W3 and those who do not for whatever reasons.

The Success Machine:

Fuel = Reward - (The reasons we work – W3)

Energy = Passion – (refined from the fuel of reward)

Engine = Courage

Performance enhancing additives:

Knowledge - education

Guidance System = Imagination

It should be encouraging to any younger people reading this to realize that the primary ingredients in the “success machine” come from within. Add to that Thomas Sowell’s thoughts on dead-end jobs and his comment that “most American millionaires did not inherit their wealth, but created it themselves” and it becomes apparent that one’s local environment or circumstances should have little to do with success.

[20]Thomas Sowell, Fourth of July Celebrates Freedom of Common Man, (The Detroit News, July 4, 1999).