Essay on Blue Collar Workers: Education as Key to Success in Job Market

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1139 Words
Date:  2023-01-16

Education is often argued to be the key to success in life. In most economies such as in the US, Blue collar workers are arguably the backbone of the economy. Blue Collar jobs demand much intelligence like jobs that require academic credentials (240). Today, the job markets highly regard education levels as a measure of intelligence and therefore use education as a benchmark when hiring. Any business or employee aims to recruit the best talent that can have a positive impact and contribute to growth. As such, employers are in constant look for the best skills and talents. However, the success of the skills is dependent on several factors such as the employee's adaptation and willingness to learn. The society today measures one's IQ on their education. In fact, Rose indicates that "Intelligence is closely associated with formal education" (247). This critical paper will argue in relation to Mike Rose "Blue-Collar Brilliance," work, that education should not be taken as a measure of intelligence and that intelligence is not associated with formal education.

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Society today holds that education is a measure of intelligence. Mike Rose in "Blue-Collar Brilliance debunks this notion as he illustrates how the society use IQ scores and school grades in defining intelligence(279). Rose indicates that the society has assumed that " intelligence is closely associated with formal education- the type of schooling a person has, how much and how long -and most people seem to move comfortably from that notion to a belief that work requiring less schooling requires less intelligence."(247). Rose also observed that scholars often considered the working class and focus on their values rather than skills that their work requires (395). People in the lower class are often seen by those in the higher class as lacking intelligence and are considered to be street smart. However, those in blue collar jobs are taken to be both book and street smart.

Although education is crucial in reducing the level of illiteracy in an economy, the fact that intelligence is a measure of intelligence is just but a misjudgment. This is true because some people with formal education easily find jobs but there is also a high rate of success among those with little or no educational background. After reading and rereading "Blue Collar Brilliance" I concur with Rose that education is in no way equal to success in career and life. In my own opinion, I find that blue collar jobs are in no way subpar at all. There is a contrasting image in the level of intelligence needed in performing the blue and white collar jobs (98). Rose illustrates that many people in white collar jobs are more intelligent than those in blue collar jobs.

Rose discusses the career of two individuals who are dedicated to their work despite lacking formal education. Although education prepares one for the real world, people with formal education must also be in a position to utilize their skills and learn through experience, while analyzing and understanding every aspect of their work. Rose tries to debunk the misjudgment that education is a measure of intelligence by observing the life of his mother, Rosie, and his uncle Joe. Rosie used complex adaptation and learning strategies and succeeded in her blue-collar job. Rosie had elaborate memory strategies, grouped and sequenced tasks and was more efficient in her job as everyone counted (97). Rose reports that her mother utilized critical thinking skills in problem-solving and was always cautious about her co-worker's emotional state (97). His uncle Joe also lacked formal knowledge but was such a success in his job. At this point, Rose illustrates that education was not a measure of success in a career. In fact, Rose concluded that even without formal education, a mind with the ability to apply its entire self while critically solving problems and constantly learning is worthy in any society.

Joes and Rosie's success is a true illustration that hands-on experience could be a determinant of one's success at their work depending on their mind adaptation ability. Learning is a continuous process and is the sole aim of education. Since education is the process to transfer knowledge from one person to another and from generation to another, learning can be argued to be an education in itself. This relates to my experience at school in that I learned that one succeeds by trying and adapting. As such, I have come to realize that even success at school is dependent on how much I try solving problems on my own. Taking problems at school and working hard creates better results for me and I believe that learning is an experience and experience is acquired via trying.

Rosie's work, "Blue Collar Brilliance", also relates to me since my uncle has been a successful businessman despite having a diploma and has been in the blue collar job for long. In his job, he has developed outstanding work ethics, a drive to always a success and provides for his family and has impeccable social skills. In universities, some of these business ethics are not taught but are only acquired through hand on experience.

I believe that, through social dynamics in the workplace, those in blue collar jobs acquire intuition, skills, and knowledge. People should not be judged on their education background and should be recognized for their efforts. Blue collar jobs demand intelligence just as white collar jobs and should be recognized. Most blue collar jobs involve a substantial level of judgment and reading compared to white collar jobs. This fact is supported by Rose as he indicates in his work that, "Carpenters have an eye for length, line, and angle; mechanics troubleshoot by listening; hair stylists are attuned to shape, texture and motion"(Rose, 251). Thjrough experinec workers in blue collar jobs become attuned to different aspects in their work ennvironemnt and they enhance their knowledge in their job. As such, over time, workers are disciplined and more trained. Indeed, education is important but most important is learning how to utilize those skills. Skills acquired through the first-hand experience are true indicators of one's intelligence. However, formal education still remains important.


In conclusion, I concur that even without formal education, the ability to learn depends on the mindset and the human brain has the capability to process and absorb things. We learn through the environment. Blue collar jobs are therefore as important as the white collar jobs and education is not a measure of intelligence. Formal education provides skills but the application of those skills in real life situations is more important. Although people in white collar jobs are more educated compared to those in blue collar jobs, this does not imply that they are more intelligent than their counterparts.

Works Cited

Rose, Mike. "Blue-Collar Brilliance." They Say, I Say. Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2015. 272-284.

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Essay on Blue Collar Workers: Education as Key to Success in Job Market. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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