Even the popular 1990s TV show Boy Meets World can give the wrong message about blue collar work.
Boy meets world
Recently I've been watching the Boy Meets World television series with my wife. It's one of her favorite shows and I enjoy it, too. It is humorous and ridiculous at times, however, there are also many deeper lessons to learn in each episode. These range from prejudice to abandonment to unemployment. The topics are dealt with in a sometimes very serious manner and shed light on many social issues. Something bothers me though.
Boy insults common man
One of the characters Stuart Minkus, constantly belittles Shawn because of his intelligence. Minkus is your typical teacher's pet, smarty-pants. He almost always knows the right answer and will most likely become a PhD professor at some prestigious university. Whereas, Shawn will be lucky to get into a community college with his average school grades. In fact, Minkus often highlights this fact, by insulting him by referring to him as a "plumber" or other blue collar occupations. In Stuart's eyes, these are beneath himself, and by extension, the viewing audience. The message is that being a skilled laborer means that you are dumb and have no potential. The reality is that the opposite is true.
Wait until the real world
Minkus won't be so smug when he is paying $75 or more an hour for Shawn to come fix his pipes or work on his engine. Just because you are book-smart doesn't guarantee that you will get a good paying job. In fact, some of the best paying jobs in the country are "blue collar." These career paths need to be valued and encouraged. Otherwise nobody will go to trade school or seek an apprenticeship to fill the open positions in the future. Minkus might get high credentials, but Shawn has just as much a possibility of having a similar, if not a better lifestyle than Minkus. Average grades do not equal low income. Success in life is determined by your choices, not your academic performance.
Ethan Hausmann is currently the Vice President of Marketing and Community Outreach for Successtar Enterprises LLC. He is an author, professional speaker, and seminar/workshop instructor. Ethan has extensive knowledge and experience in marketing, customer service, leadership, and other small business related concerns.