Blue Collar Man

Give me a job, give me security
Give me a chance to survive
I’m just a poor soul in the unemployment line
My God, I’m hardly alive
My mother and father, my wife and my friends
I see them laugh in my face
But I’ve got the power, and I’ve got the will
I’m not a charity case

I’ll take those long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my eye to the keyhole
If it takes all that to be just what I am
I’m gonna be a blue collar man

Make me an offer that I can’t refuse
Make me respectable, man
This is my last time in the unemployment line
So like it or not I’ll take those

Long nights, impossible odds
Keeping my back to the wall
If it takes all that to be just what I am
I’m gonna be a blue collar man

Keeping my mind on a better life
When happiness is only a heartbeat away
Paradise, can it be all I heard it was
I close my eyes and maybe I’m already there

Blue Collar Man – Styx

I’m proud to be a blue collar man, and like all of us I have worked hard for what I have. I’ve shoveled snow, worked outside at 25 degrees below zero, stood in sewer water to my knees, picked up dirty diapers left in playgrounds, fallen off ladders, split my thumbnail with a hammer, cut my eye with wood splinters, cut my leg with a chainsaw, shall I go on?

My father did the same and so did his father. This country was built by the hands of the carpenter’s, bricklayers, steel workers, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen. There’s something incredibly satisfying about working with your hands, looking back on a job completed knowing you had a hand in that.

The times they are a changing! (Bob Dylan wrote great songs, but he couldn’t sing!) Technology may seem like the “wave of the future”, but we still need roads, sewers, power lines, snow plow operators, tree trimmers and so forth. You don’t call a computer programmer when your house is on fire, or your financial adviser because your car won’t start. The skills held by us are essential to the day to day running of this country.

Yes, it’s true, the world is changing, but I’m afraid we are going down a dangerous road. Its true technology has brought about a new class of jobs to the global economy. Yet in our zeal to modernize and be a part of said economy, along with our insistence on cheaper and cheaper goods, manufacturing is leaving this country very quickly. With everyone demanding a so called ” living wage”, and countries like China willing to prop up exports to keep costs low, manufacturing in the US cannot compete. If a business makes a profit, they stay here. If not, it moves or closes. Simple as that.

We have gone from the strength and growth of the 50’s, when we were able to produce almost everything we need, to being almost completely dependant on other countries for even some very basic needs. I think these are very dangerous times we live in. All it would take is a terrorist attack that shuts down the power grid on the East coast, even for a month, and you would see wide spread panic and crime sprees take off.

What if China decided to squeeze the US by cutting off exports to us? How long could we hold out? We don’t make anything here any more. Now what? Every financial advisor will tell you to diversify your portfolio, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Are we not doing just that here in the US? Look at all the collage educated people with no job. Will a degree in liberal arts put food on your table? The answer is, maybe.

But a career in welding pays a very good wage, and the skill is in high demand. Driving a truck is looked down upon by many young people, but I should make over $60,000 this year. Is that alot? Maybe not by some standards, but I don’t need food stamps. I support myself and pay some for many others. Many deserve help, some don’t.

You hear politicians speak about bringing manufacturing back to this country. It will never happen until we are willing to pay more for goods, and young people are willing to take the jobs instead of some collage degree. Yes, degrees are needed for some positions, but most just require a willingness to work hard and an understanding of how their efforts protect our way of life.

I don’t think young people are stupid or lazy, I just think they are lulled into a false sense of stability. They may feel the trains will be working tomorrow, the gas stations will be open, and they can stop at Starbucks on the way to a friend’s house. They don’t think about the sequence of events and the hard labor that put those things there. What if the chain is broken? I don’t think we should become an isolationist nation, but we shouldn’t allow other countries to control our future. Just saying!

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22 thoughts on “Blue Collar Man

  1. I’m totally relating. Manufacturing in Australia is heading down a slippery slope too. My husband is a tradesman, a qualified fitter and turner and he’s often commented, in a worrying way, that our country is selling out to China and overseas. Not good.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a powerful post – yes, I agree. The younger generation, my kids and their kids have no idea what physical labor is and the importance of it. It scares me to think about the future of the next generation.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We need leaders who are not lifetime politicians, people who have been in the workforce, business leaders that know what it take to build a strong, self sustaining economy. What we have now is nothing but self centered egotists that feel they know best, and we should trust them to make our world decisions for us. Scary!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I think we fed our children a toxic tea. We told them if they went to school and to college they would get a good job … we told them that a bigger house, a bigger car, 3 holidays a year and shiny shoes is what they have to aspire to. So they went to college and they came out and wham bam the sharks on Wallstreet and the City boys in London and their replicas all over the so called civilised world had sucked the economy dry and blown it apart. So these same kids had to reinvent themselves and those that were prepared to are beginning to find success and I believe in the case of my own daughters (only one of whom is getting a degree) they have found along the way that it isn’t about the brand-new house, the bigger car and the shiny shoes. It’s about the satisfaction of a decent day’s work, its about taking the time to see what is beautiful around you and it’s about never thinking you are too big or too important to roll your sleeves up and toil.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. There’s nothing wrong with dirt under your nails. There’s nothing wrong with a used car. If you have to go in debt, let it be a house. At least then you might actually have some equity when your done paying. PS: Get a 15 year mortgage if you can. Big savings in interest!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m with you, sir, laborers are probably the most important part of American society, even if people are unappreciative of their work. Hopefully there will be plenty of jobs and decent pay for the working class in the next few years.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I completely agree with you. We need more apprenticeships because we always going to need carpenters, mechanics etc. Not everyone needs a liberal arts degree. I, too, have worked in a hospital kitchen, fast food restaurant, as a cleaner, nanny, and school custodian. When I finally worked as a manager I cleaned the toilet in our office and expected my staff to do so, too. I wasn’t popular but we didn’t always have a cleaner available.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I guess I’d be considered a pink collar worker πŸ˜„
    Standard of living is a relative concept.. When I cleaned carpets, we did many mansions and I met a lot of folks who had what many would say is a very high standard of living, the 1 percenters.. But most of those people looked sad and/or stressed living in the lap of luxury.. One woman cried as she confessed to me how lonely she was and that her husband only married her for a trophy wife.. Her life was a mess and I felt sorry for her and then she asked me how I did it.. How was I able to live on my own ? I was taken aback by it so much I had trouble answering that question.. Because she was at least 20 years older than me and asking me that ? I was only 20 years old.. How could someone be so lost about standing on thier own 2 feet, especially at her age ? I was to learn that this is more common than people actually standing on thier own 2 feet.. So standard of living in my opinion is based on contentment of who you are and your personal fulfillment..
    Outsourcing was the beginning of the decline of the Great American Dream.. And the decline continues to grow like a snowball rolling downhill.. I don’t see that changing..
    In fact, new technologies just bring the old song In The Year 2525, that much closer to being a prophecy rather than a song..

    Will being self sufficient be enough if society spirals into chaos ? Will it matter ? Will it save those who choose to know how to live without conveniences ?

    There’s no way to know.. But I do know that I enjoy working with my hands and learning new skills.. So whether or not they becomes life saving tools or not, I’ve made the choice to be who I am, how I live, without obligation to anyone for my way in the world.. My gratitude abounds towards several people in my life who’ve influenced me greatly, past and present, beginning with my Mom and Dad..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. I think standard of living can be a conscious choice. Mine revolves around lowering the need for hard currency in my life. The more I can do on my own, the less dependant I am on “The System”, the better I feel. There are certain things I need to get there, so I will have to work hard a few more years before I’m ready. (I love that song too)

      Liked by 1 person

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