Why Go to School Kids? Drive a Big Rig Instead


Millennials are killing blue collar work /s

“…millennials are proving canny at seeing through some of the traditional thinking that goes into society’s ranking of employment types. Is there really anything inherently more honorable about sitting at a desk for eight hours per day, compared with working with your hands for the same amount of time? More and more members of Gen Y are answering no – and along the way are finding new types of satisfying and fulfilling work they may not have previously considered.”

When electricians, plumbers and some carpenters are pulling close to $100 or more an hour in affluent urban areas I am not surprised there is a natural gravitation.


In America, any president can grow up to be a truck driver. Well, almost any…


My uncle actually quit his job as a college English teacher almost 40 years ago to spend the next couple of decades working as a brick mason for better pay. From a financial point of view skilled labor almost always beats working as an educator.


And it’s not just educators! Many of the mechanics and electricians at my work regularly out-earn some of the managers and engineers, since they actually get paid for their overtime unlike the white-collar crew. It’s really a shame that schools have been shying away from teaching trades such as auto shop in recent decades. I don’t know how much of a long term future there is in truck driving what with self-driving technologies on the horizon, but there’s plenty of work to be done by smart people who know how to turn a wrench or wire up a control system.



I took a significant pay cut to return to school in my late 20’s and finish my advance degrees because I never saw my career in tech as anything other than a (largely frustrating) detour to pay off debts for my inadvisable choice to get my bachelors at an expensive private uni. But I had that privilege because of the opportunities afforded to me in and after college. Higher education as a function of economic class is regressive, not only for individuals, but for our civilization.

I agree that the four-year degree as the gold standard is problematic, but (as you point out) regarding university as mere job training to earn a living is worse; it’s a sign of a culture more devoted to surviving late-stage capitalism than progressing.


As far as conservatives vs. Liberals on the ground (not on TV), this is one of the few things they agree on: more, better paying blue collar career paths.


Our TV president wouldn’t last a week as an actual truck driver.


Only because this topic put this song in my head.


Remember Beverly Cleary’s Dear Mr. Henshaw? One of very few Newbery-winners I actually enjoyed – and so completely different from any other of Cleary’s books it’s easy to imagine it was written by a completely different person. And a good way to sell young’uns on truck driving.

I guess these Wal-Mart truck drivers wouldn’t be obliged to own or lease their trucks, and would have their considerable expenses included in that salary? What with Wal-Mart being notorious for cost-cutting, this seems most anomalous.


This seems relevant.

Tuesday’s case, New Prime v. Oliveira , involves a dispute between a trucking company (New Prime) and one of its drivers, Dominic Oliveira. When he began work, Oliveira was required to complete 10,000 miles hauling freight for New Prime—for free, as an “apprentice.” He was then compelled to complete another 30,000 miles as a “trainee,” for which he was paid about $4 an hour. Once he became a full-fledged driver, Oliveira was designated as a contractor rather than an employee. He was forced to lease his own truck (from a company owned by the owners of New Prime), buy his own equipment (from the New Prime store), and pay for his own gas, often from New Prime gas pumps.

Typically, New Prime would have to pay all these expenses. But because it classified Oliveira as a contractor, it deducted the costs from his paycheck. Sometimes, that paycheck wound up negative due to these deductions, meaning New Prime essentially charged Oliveira to work for the company.

The good news is that the supreme court ruled that the independent contractors cannot be forced into mandatory arbitration and may proceed with a class action lawsuit against New Prime.

On the one hand, management in trucking is abusive.
On the other, management in trucking can actually be sued.


Isn’t that just capitalism in general?


Truck driving is a shit job, at least for the ones I see in Europe, waiting for the end of the weekend on rest stops. But it pays, you are right. Electricians, plumbers, welders, etc… appear to have a better deal, especially outside of large cities.

But I think that what your article shows is that the price of universities in the USA is so high that it does not repay itself. I think it is true, except for some jobs who are on very high demand. The white collar middle class is not making more money than the upper blue collar class, therefore their education investment is a financial loss.


Not funny - only because it’s precisely accurate, and not even a well-kept secret.


That too is changing:

Not your daddy’s big rig anymore.


I adore truck drivers. Or…at least watching them.
Especially when they manuevor through teeny-tiny city streets and back up to a loading dock,
perfectly, with one inch of space to spare…

Or take a turn at a set of lights and not run over the curb with either front or rear tires…
It’s s thing of beauty.
I have such admiration for their talent, especially for tolerating dumba~s drivers who think they can “stop on a dime”.


But what will not change is that drivers have horrible working hours and regularly need to wait for the night or the weekend on shitty rest stops. That is what I meant.


It’s not even job training, in a lot of cases. I know I guy with a history degree that made his living working on wi-fi for hotels. I’m not saying he didn’t get anything out of his degree, but it didn’t help him do that job. And I’m hardly knocking history degrees, but it’s weird that a generalized “bachelor’s degree” with no specified major is a “requirement” for jobs that pay $11 an hour. The problem isn’t universities or degrees, the problem is that meritocracy is a myth. If you develop social programs that compensate for inequality, like student grants and loans, then you end up discovering that you cannot sort people by ability (because “ability” is often a function of access), and it drives up competition because there is no future under capitalism where every single person has a great job that offers them dignity.

I’m not an anti-intellectual, but maybe universalizing “expertise” as a requisite for jobs as a guarantee of universal individual prosperity as the ultimate vehicle for social change has hard limits. We need to live in a world where people feel free not to go to college, more than we need a world where college is free.



I think we need both, as long as a college education becomes less of a jobs training program (where it’s going) and more of a means of learning how to think about the world…

For me, a college education has never been a sign of one’s worth and value - how one lives in the world is. A liberal arts education is a wonderful thing, because it opens you up to all sorts of possibilities in terms of how you understand the world. that’s it’s primary value, IMHO.


Many likes Ms Mindysan!


I don’t even get that deal now that I have 20+ years IT experience. BS in something or other IT related required. Even I had got the IT degree 20 years ago is fucking fossil knowledge.
The logic and thinking skills I got while working at a Math degree have served much better than knowing Novell Netware which was the hotness at the time.