What is Blue Collar?
There are a lot of answers, which often center around the type of jobs considered to be Blue
Collar, like the trades, as well as the people who do these jobs.
I agree that the work has a lot to do with it, but I believe there’s more than that to what Blue
Collar is. There’s a mentality to it, a way of looking at and existing in the world, that a lot of
folks have in common.
Ultimately, all I have is my own, personal view on what Blue Collar is. I’d like to share that view with you, and in doing so, I’d like to honor the Blue Collar tribe that I was raised among. It was from them that I received the view of life and the sense of morality that guides me. It is of them that I am speaking as I share with you throughout this piece.
To be Blue Collar is to have an open heart and a love of family, friends, community, and the
place we call home. To be Blue Collar is to have a willingness to help when someone needs it, whether you know the person or not, both because it’s the right thing to do and because you can. And, you never know when you’ll be the one in need, so it’s best to treat others as you’d like to be treated.
To be Blue Collar is to have a sense of camaraderie and fun. We love to gather – whether it’s for a bonfire party, to put the dock in, for the 4th of July, or just because we can. We love good food, good stories, good drinks, being easy around one another, and making each other laugh. Softball, darts, pool leagues, riding clubs, bowling, and more – Our weekdays are for working, then we get together to lighten up and have fun.
There is a moral code that is a part of what Blue Collar is. We work hard, which means we do our best, regardless of the conditions, and we improve as we can. We take personal
accountability for what we do, we own it if we do something wrong, and if we don’t, we expect to be called out on it. We do our part, we work as part of a whole to get the job done, and we know that everyone is expected to pull their weight. We are authentic, humble, and down-to-earth; no one has time for anyone pretending to be what they’re not. We are courteous, we say “please” and “thank you,” we watch out for each other’s kids and families, and we do our best to set a good example for them. Respect is a must, respecting yourself, respecting others, knowing your place, and acting like it.
Lastly, dealing with uncertainty is a big part of what Blue Collar is. The work that we do is often seasonal, temporary, or weather- and economy-dependent. These factors apply to all sorts of jobs, to an extent, but it’s often a constant with Blue Collar work. Stress and pressure usually come hand-in-hand with these kinds of jobs, but we are the ones to do them, because we feel called to, because it feels right, and because we can.
Sometimes the stress and the pressure get to us, though, and having fun on the weekends isn’t enough of a release anymore. If we drink, sometimes we start hitting the bottle harder. If we smoke, sometimes our world starts to revolve around the pipe. If we gamble, sometimes we barely flinch as our life savings slip away. Blue Collar can mean falling down, succumbing to the things that eat away at us, and becoming someone we never meant to be. Blue Collar can mean falling down, but it also means owning what we have done and getting back up. More than that, Blue Collar means to be watching out for your brother and sister, to extend a helping hand when he or she is down and lending a shoulder to help them get steady. It is also keeping a watchful and caring distance if help is refused. Above all, Blue Collar is never kicking another, blaming or shaming, while they’re down. It is knowing that anyone is capable of getting themselves up and back together again. It is having the humility to see that we could be the ones who are down some day, that life has curve balls and we’re susceptible to being in the very same place.
These are the things that to me describe what Blue Collar is. If they had to be broken down and summarized, then I feel that Blue Collar is synonymous with love and honor. We love ourselves, what we have, and the people, places, and things that shape us. We consciously make the choice to show up and do our best, to make the right choice in any given situation, and to take care of what is ours to care for.
This is my tribe. You are my tribe. I am proud to be a Blue Collar woman, and as you read my words, know that I’m writing with a heart full of love and of pride for who and what we are. Blue Collar is a family of people that spans the world; bound by our beliefs and our willingness to do what needs to be done. Remember that you matter, even when you don’t feel like it, and someone among us has your back, even if you feel that’s not the case.