The Freedom of the Blue Collar Worker

Tradesmen, contractors, and blue collar workers hold the jobs no one seems to want. They get paid less generally than some office desk jockeys, and they may never be rich enough to own yachts or mansions.

But they are free in a way few corporate employees are.

Excepting the more unionized trades, these men and women can generally go where they want to go and work for whom they want to work. They can work for themselves, and they can work together. And if they lose a job, they can generally find substitute work more easily than the ladder-conscious, highly specialized corporate employee.

They don’t have to follow the speech codes or dress codes of the modern HR department. They don’t have to pretend to be “company men.” They can smoke, let a few cusswords fly, and wear overalls and boots without worrying about being “professional” or “socially conscious” or “woke.” Their work exists outside of the realm in which “acceptable opinions” are necessary because their work involves changing things rather than changing people.

They don’t have to sit at desks. They get to see the sunlight. And they get to play with some of the greatest tools and machines invented by man – rather than staring at backlit computer screens all day.

There are many factors to consider in choosing a career, but freedom should certainly be one of them – and anyone choosing a career should consider the special kind of freedom which tradesman hold over their corporate counterparts.

Originally published at

Save as PDFPrint

Written by 

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, intellectual explorer, and perpetual apprentice. He opted out of college to join the Praxis startup apprenticeship program and currently manages marketing and communications at bitcoin payment technology company BitPay. He writes daily at