The Color War of White vs. Blue

The color wars for me aren’t so much black and white, but blue and white.
The color of your career hits close to home and plays a huge part in the type of lifestyle you create. Never in my life have I been so emotionally challenged. Caught in a position so draining, destructive, depressing and suffocating! 
When I was younger and presented with what seemed an endless hurdle, I’d jump in and start from where I was at! When I was physically destroyed from my accident and emotionally crippled, I still managed to jump in and begin the arduous journey back. Always proud to take the road less traveled, but somehow I landed on a circular path and lost control of my own destiny! 
I grew up in different times. Perhaps my parents were not the best in giving direction for a future. The belief at the time, was the amount of money you made would directly affect the life you develop. And it does!! But there wasn’t any attention payed to the future state of one’s happiness or fulfillment of their destiny. Heck, there wasn’t time to consider the idea that I had a bigger purpose than earning money! Decades later, I am a creative person with so many varied interests and talents, degrees and certifications aside, stuck in the barriers of age, finances, and opportunity limitations. 
It’s a sad truth, that even though we know better intelligently, our careers or jobs DEFINE us. They not only define us, but they play a huge part in our happiness and self-esteem. After all, if you make a great deal of money or possess the power title, you should be wildly happy!!
I’m so tired of hearing “no one likes their job; they just do it for the family!” What ever happen to Ford’s philosophy ” do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life?” People spend years taking courses, getting degrees and certifications, and the realty is not many are even in the career that they studied for. The problem is multi-layered.
  • Part of it is the educational system failure. Children go to school, and by the time they start high school they’re being asked to categorize themselves into a discipline! This is the age where children should be expanding their vision, not limiting it! We force kids to choose classes in a field that they know little about. And we don’t expose them to the plethora of possibilities out there for them to experience BEFORE they limit themselves into a category.
  • By college, many have either went the route of generic BA or BS degrees for lack of truly ‘knowing’ what lights them up!!! By this time, kids have committed hours and money into courses that they don’t want to just walk away from. Therefore, even if they find out midstream that this isn’t what they truly want to do the rest of their life, they often just stay the course to finish their degree! It’s only a handful of brave, innovative kids that will take the leap into switching courses and adding time onto their college program.
  • Some children are fortunate to step into the field of their parents, but they too never truly know if it’s what they want to do for life, because they don’t expose themselves to other possibilities.

I believe the educational system in America needs total revamping. We need to offer ‘life skills’ in more than the typical or acceptable fields. The media unfortunately plays a role in glamorizing particular careers and society opinions and judgements place other careers into “white vs blue collar.” The irony of it all is that the ‘white collar’ jobs have flooded the market and ‘blue collar’ jobs such as craftsmen, laborers, artists etc. are in demand. An electrician, plumber and other craftsman jobs can name their price these day!

I don’t know where to start in setting up a well-rounded educational program that inspires and promotes student talents, but I do know that we need to start. Teachers should be teaching to the student’s passion rather than the state tests.  And it can be done!! When I was teaching English in the middle and high schools, and I had students who hated writing papers, I’d direct them to what they were passionate about. Whether it be cars, sports, or anything else; once they were asked the question: ‘what do you love?’ they’re eyes lit up and soon they’d put pen to paper and write their hearts out!!!  Dawn Ciccone