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Old 06-21-2017, 12:26 PM
Reddy Mercury Reddy Mercury is offline
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Are Postal Workers and Security Guards considered white-collar or blue collar?

In the US, would you say the occupations of Postal Worker and Security Guard are considered blue-collar or white-collar employment?
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:40 PM
Velocity Velocity is offline
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Blue collar.


Oversimplified but handy definition: Blue-collar jobs use hands, white-collar jobs use brains.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:03 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is offline
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Blue collar.


Oversimplified but handy definition: Blue-collar jobs use hands, white-collar jobs use brains.
+1

Got it in one.
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Old 06-21-2017, 01:39 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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White Collar implies a desk job that involves paper work or computer work and very specifically not wearing a uniform.

Here is one Definition:
Quote:
belonging or pertaining to the ranks of office and professional workers whose jobs generally do not involve manual labor or the wearing of a uniform or work clothes.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:09 PM
Riemann Riemann is offline
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So Superman and Batman are blue-collar, whereas Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are white-collar?
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:14 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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So Superman and Batman are blue-collar, whereas Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot are white-collar?
I don't think any of them count as blue or white collar. Singular costumes are not uniforms and private detectives really don't fit either blue or white collar. I don't think this is a binary formula.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:26 PM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
White Collar implies a desk job that involves paper work or computer work and very specifically not wearing a uniform.

Here is one Definition:
So a judge is a blue collar worker despite being a professional who does bench desk work because he/she wears a uniform.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:30 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Originally Posted by John Bredin View Post
So a judge is a blue collar worker despite being a professional who does bench desk work because he/she wears a uniform.
Neither, this is not binary.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:53 PM
DSYoungEsq DSYoungEsq is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit? View Post
Neither, this is not binary.
A judge is a "white collar" worker, the same as an attorney appearing before him/her. But a better example of someone who is neither blue collar nor white collar might well be someone who habitually wears a white collar: a minister/priest.
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Old 06-21-2017, 04:42 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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It can often depend on who you ask and why. Many clerks and shop assistants wear uniforms and may well consider themselves "blue collar" as their earnings are low. If they are invited to a prospective partner's family dinner, they will be "white collar" because it has a higher status.

Last edited by bob++; 06-21-2017 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:24 PM
doreen doreen is online now
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White collar jobs generally do not involve wearing a "uniform" - but some do. You wouldn't say a military officer has a blue collar job even though he/she wears a uniform.And the blue collar/white collar distinction leaves out a whole segment of jobs that aren't really either. "Pink collar" used to refer to working class jobs in the service sector and non-professional office jobs that were predominantly held by women, like bank teller, cashier, hairstylist, receptionist, typist etc. I'm not sure if there is a new label for this sort of job.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:27 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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What about a surgeon or advanced practice nurse? They wear a uniform of sorts and work with their hands as well.

I don't think there is a very good distinction other than level of intellectual expertise required and even that fails much of the time. Even pay doesn't work because many blue-collar workers like plumbers and electricians make more than many people that work in fancy offices. I work in a very blue-collar industrial facility but I am a long-term consultant and no one would consider me blue-collar. Still, I have to wear a safety vest much of the day like everyone else.

The terms are really trying to make an arbitrary class distinction based on job or profession that doesn't hold up very well in current U.S. culture. The clearest difference I know of is exempt salaried (white collar) versus hourly pay (blue collar) in facilities like mine. Still, that doesn't work either if you are a self-employed carpenter or plumber.

Last edited by Shagnasty; 06-21-2017 at 06:31 PM.
  #13  
Old 06-21-2017, 08:27 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Batman isn't blue-collar. He's black-collar. Or sometimes very dark gray.
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:12 PM
Evan Drake Evan Drake is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
What about a surgeon or advanced practice nurse? They wear a uniform of sorts and work with their hands as well.

Dunno, the surgeon who brilliantly fixed my arm was dressed in casual clothes when I saw him just before, and the same --- shirt and chinos --- when I've seen him for check-ups; no doubt he wore the right gear for the actual surgery ( not that I would care much ). And in the whole of the rather large hospital I never see one person wearing a suit. Thank God.


Maybe it's less formal in Britain.
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:28 AM
chappachula chappachula is offline
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white collar jobs=there's a minimal education requirement, and having a diploma is considered relevant when you apply for the job. (even if's just a high school diploma)


Blue collar: experience and ability to do the job are more important than having a diploma.


Obviously, there are a lot of exceptions, but you get the idea.

So to me, postal workers and security guards are blue collar.
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:19 AM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
I'm not sure if there is a new label for this sort of job.
I thought that we had dropped such labels on the grounds that they are totally meaningless. In my career I drove lorries, managed a transport fleet and a warehouse, and was a manger in the NHS. What does that make me? My wife spent 30 years as a highly skilled nurse in uniform looking after premature and sick babies - what was she?

Last edited by bob++; 06-22-2017 at 05:21 AM.
  #17  
Old 06-22-2017, 06:22 AM
doreen doreen is online now
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Originally Posted by bob++ View Post
What does that make me?
You misunderstand- the labels were applied to jobs , not people. So if you started working on the warehouse floor and rose to logistics manager, you would have been a blue collar worker at some points and white collar at others.
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Old 06-22-2017, 11:17 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
What about a surgeon or advanced practice nurse?
Both white collar by social status and relative income, whereas an RN with no further distinction is almost prototypical of an upper-blue-collar job and status.
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Old 06-22-2017, 12:10 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
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White collar workers take a shower before work; blue collar workers take a shower after the get home.
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Old 06-22-2017, 01:13 PM
Reddy Mercury Reddy Mercury is offline
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
Both white collar by social status and relative income, whereas an RN with no further distinction is almost prototypical of an upper-blue-collar job and status.
Why would you say an RN is considered upper blue collar?
My parents were RNs. My mother only wore the little hat and uniform briefly (She became a Nurse in 1975 - by 1980 both were gone). They wore no uniform, but were expected to dress well. My father in particular was given a hard time, during the 1990s and 2000s, by his supervisor for having long hair (even tied in a ponytail) as he was told his presentation didn't fit. When he wore a leather vest, he was told the same thing. He was also told he should "fix" his Brooklyn accent as he sounded "like a dock worker" - all by his supervisor.

They made around (in today's money) $70,000 a year - which I would consider a white collar salary. Although even when both were working, we rented an apartment and we didn't live in luxury. My mother became a Nurse in 1975, my father in 1988 - yet both didn't own their first new car until 1994 and 2001 respectively. Every car prior to then was used.
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Old 06-23-2017, 02:54 AM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by Shagnasty View Post
What about a surgeon or advanced practice nurse? They wear a uniform of sorts and work with their hands as well.
.
The English tradition was clear: Physicians were white collar, Surgeons were blue collar. When surgeons rose in status, they kept the honorific "Mr", just to rub it in to the mere "Dr" colleagues.

But doctors (like ministers of religion) have often been considered "outside" the ordinary class distinctions. They do actually work with their hands, (definitely declasse) even though they wore white coats (like scientists), not brown coats (like people who get dirty)..

The distinction was, of course, also true of nurses. Nursing assistants wore blue uniforms. Only the nurses wore white.
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Old 06-23-2017, 11:46 AM
dba Fred dba Fred is offline
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
Blue collar.

Oversimplified but handy definition: Blue-collar jobs use hands, white-collar jobs use brains.
An oversimplification I’ve seen: Blue-collar workers work standing up, white-collar workers work sitting down.
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Old 06-23-2017, 12:04 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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This is a class distinction, not a logical one. Blue collar work marked you as one class, white collar work marked you as another class. Complaining that the distinctions are arbitrary misses the point. Of course it's arbitrary, because dividing people by social class is arbitrary.

Of course these class distinctions are pretty well blurred nowadays, especially because the percentage of blue collar jobs is much smaller. It's one thing if 90% of the workers are blue collar and there is a distinct management/professional class that runs everything. It's another when blue collar jobs are a minority, and blue collar workers make more money than most office workers, and there are plenty of zero-status office jobs where you sit at a desk and do menial grunt work.
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:24 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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Why would you say an RN is considered upper blue collar?
In simple terms, the level of professional independence. An RN with no further distinction, as opposed to an APRN, can not have their own practice, and must always be employed by someone, usually a hospital or, in a clinical setting, a doctor, and must always be accountable to someone.

APRNs can act independently in many instances. For example, my dad the CRNA has, at times, been part-owner of his own practice, and operates independently of, and without accountability to, the MDs he works in association with. He isn't a surgeon but, at the same time, a surgeon isn't an anesthetist.

You can say a surgeon isn't a nurse or a scrub tech, either, but there's a clearer hierarchy between a surgeon and those fields. Especially between a surgeon and an RN.

(Rant: We need a non-dismissive way to refer to an RN who has no further qualifications. "Just an RN" is dismissive. "Not an APRN" is imprecise to the point of being wrong.)

Quote:
My parents were RNs. My mother only wore the little hat and uniform briefly (She became a Nurse in 1975 - by 1980 both were gone). They wore no uniform, but were expected to dress well. My father in particular was given a hard time, during the 1990s and 2000s, by his supervisor for having long hair (even tied in a ponytail) as he was told his presentation didn't fit. When he wore a leather vest, he was told the same thing. He was also told he should "fix" his Brooklyn accent as he sounded "like a dock worker" - all by his supervisor.
By some coincidence, both of my parents are RNs, my dad, as I've mentioned, a CRNA, and my mom an RN. My mom, when she worked, definitely worked for doctors in a way my dad never did, even when they were the same doctor.

Quote:
They made around (in today's money) $70,000 a year - which I would consider a white collar salary. Although even when both were working, we rented an apartment and we didn't live in luxury. My mother became a Nurse in 1975, my father in 1988 - yet both didn't own their first new car until 1994 and 2001 respectively. Every car prior to then was used.
Saying "white collar salary" is missing the point, as others have mentioned: Social class is not entirely dependent on salary, even in America, even if it correlates to some extent.
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Old 04-13-2018, 11:35 AM
runningdude runningdude is offline
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Originally Posted by John Bredin View Post
So a judge is a blue collar worker despite being a professional who does bench desk work because he/she wears a uniform.
Judges are professionals. Professionals are subject the norms of their industry:

Judges: Robes
Attorneys: Suits
Clergy: Collars
Doctors: White Coat
Engineers: Professional Seal/Stamp
etc...

Professional fields overlap with both "White Collar" and "Blue Collar" fields, but differ in that professionals require specialized training and their judgement is relied upon for public welfare (fairly administering justice, keeping bridges from falling, etc). They have unique conventions that identify them, where as other less specialized fields blend together.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:15 PM
sbunny8 sbunny8 is offline
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When the phrase was coined, "white collar" literally meant that you wore a collar which was white. The collars were separate from the shirts and you would buy them bleached white and heavily starched. People whose clothes got dirty and/or worked outdoors were called blue collar. White collar meant you worked indoors, in a nice clean office, never did any manual labor, and were posh enough that you'd be willing to pay good money for a bleached starched collar which serves no purpose other than to brag about how you don't do manual labor.

Based on this definition, postal workers and security guards are blue collar.
  #27  
Old 04-13-2018, 07:05 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Those guards that wear blazers and ties might be white collar, as well as Postmasters, etc.
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Old 04-14-2018, 06:23 PM
szabrocki szabrocki is offline
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I worked for a reinsurance company that specialized in workmans compensation. One of our clients was General Motors, so we had some very big clients.

We classified all workers as white, GREY and blue collar workers while running the numbers as to what the client had for employees. Grey collar is a huge standard for classification and has to be determined before we sent the numbers to the Actuaries who decided what to quote.

I am surprised no one has mentioned Grey collar workers up to this point in the thread.
  #29  
Old 04-14-2018, 07:00 PM
Derleth Derleth is offline
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I am surprised no one has mentioned Grey collar workers up to this point in the thread.
That's because all of this is completely arbitrary and there are no standards, official or de facto, to allow everyone to agree on what the collars mean, or even which collars exist.

For example, HR In Asia has this to say:
Quote:
The term “grey-collar worker” refers to the balance of employed people unclassified as white or blue collar. Grey-collar is occasionally used to describe elderly individuals working beyond the age of retirement, as well as those occupations incorporating elements of both blue- and white-collar work.
This paragraph is blatantly self-contradictory: Are they the otherwise-unclassified workers, who don't fit into either of the blue-collar or white-collar distinctions, or are they old workers? It makes no sense to pretend they're both.

Oh, and there are other definitions as well:

Workforce.com says gray collar workers are "maintenance and custodial" workers, something which sounds paradigmatically blue-collar to me, but I'm someone who uses the word "paradigmatically" in sentences, so what do I know?

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says gray-collar can mean an under-employed white-collar worker, like someone with an undergraduate degree in English working as a customer service representative, which directly contradicts both of the above definitions.
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  #30  
Old 04-14-2018, 08:42 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Originally Posted by Derleth View Post
This paragraph is blatantly self-contradictory: Are they the otherwise-unclassified workers, who don't fit into either of the blue-collar or white-collar distinctions, or are they old workers? It makes no sense to pretend they're both.
To me, the way it reads is that the term has multiple, competing definitions, depending on who is using it. It doesn't sound to me like it's self-contradictory, just pointing out differing definitions. (Maybe adding an "also" in "grey-collar is [also] occasionally used..." clarifies how I read it.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-14-2018 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 04-14-2018, 09:24 PM
szabrocki szabrocki is offline
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Where I worked I was a Database Administrator. It was a long time ago. (Late 90's.)

All we needed was 4 pieces of info for each employee.
Age
Gender
Years of service
and job description code

The code could be looked up in a US Government book bigger than a unabridged Oxford Dictionary. It was not available in electronic format, so we had a huge office of data entry people updating it yearly (sometimes.).

The data was also sent to us by truck. You can imagine how large this paper data was. GM alone sent 3 large box trucks with each employees 4 pieces of info. We would only generally enter about 10% of it and threw the rest away.

Every employee was either White, grey or blue collar. No names or other info. The same data entry people had to enter that all by hand into the database. Then I could crunch the numbers for the Actuaries.

I eventually installed OCD (Optical Character Recognition) via scanner and was able to reduce our data entry department by about 3/4. I FELT BAD ABOUT THAT AS MANY PEOPLE LOST THEIR JOBS WHICH WERE CONSIDERED WHITE COLLAR, but low paying.

So there is a US Government book that lists EVERY job you can imagine, with a code and description.
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