Millennial finds success and financial stability in blue collar work, leaving law school during the Great Recession.


Meet Doug, a millennial who made a life-changing decision during the Great Recession. Instead of pursuing law school as planned, he opted for blue-collar work and never looked back. Worried about the professional repercussions of sharing his last name and current employment, Doug’s story sheds light on the stability and potential of blue-collar careers in a world where artificial intelligence and corporate layoffs are causing anxiety in white-collar industries.

As the bottom fell out of the market during the recession, Doug witnessed the rapid loss of jobs and describes it as a bloodbath. Determined to save money for law school, he had to reconsider his plans. This experience of economic turmoil resonates with workers today who are witnessing the uncertainties of the Great Resignation and the perceived threat of AI takeover. In contrast, blue-collar work stands out as a bright spot in the economic recovery, offering available jobs, affordable training, stability, and high pay. The pandemic has also prompted many individuals to reevaluate their relationship with work, making blue-collar careers even more appealing.

Doug found his new career to be not only financially lucrative compared to his previous hourly work, but he also genuinely enjoyed it. From tinkering with his old Toyota trucks as a teenager, he went on to attend Marine engineering school and become a certified member of the engine department. This opened doors for him in the Coast Guard and enabled him to earn even more money.

Since 2014, Doug has consistently earned a salary in the high five figures or low six figures, benefiting from the union jobs that offer additional perks like benefits and pensions. He proudly owns a home, a rarity among his generation. According to Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 62% of millennials expect homeownership to become more challenging or even impossible. Doug reflects on his middle-class lifestyle and the comfort he has always enjoyed.

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These days, more and more Americans are questioning the value of a college education. With mounting student debt and declining enrollment numbers, the appeal of a career in the trades, like the one Doug pursued, is increasing. Research suggests that a worker without a college degree who is part of a union throughout their career can expect to earn more than their nonunion counterparts with degrees.

Transitioning into blue-collar work required mental adjustment for Doug, but he was drawn to the dignity he observed among tradespeople, especially during the tough times of the Great Recession. They had stability and a certain quality of life that he desired. Law school, on the other hand, seemed less appealing due to the uncertain payout and lack of work-life balance. With blue-collar work, Doug felt a sense of pride in using his hands and being involved in systems that directly impact public safety.

Of course, Doug acknowledges that blue-collar work is not easy. It takes a toll on the body, demands constant skill mastery, and necessitates continuous learning. However, the trade-off is a comfortable retirement with a pension and solid health insurance. Doug had an epiphany when he realized that college and an office job were not the right fit for him. He now values the meaningful work he does and the tangible impact it has on society.

Doug’s story exemplifies the potential and rewards of pursuing blue-collar work, especially in a changing economic landscape. As the world grapples with uncertainties, blue-collar careers offer stability, financial security, and a sense of pride. More individuals may find themselves reconsidering the traditional path of higher education and exploring the possibilities that the trades have to offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

Why did Doug decide to pursue blue-collar work instead of law school during the Great Recession?

Doug witnessed the rapid loss of jobs during the recession and realized the uncertainties and potential difficulties in pursuing a career in law. He opted for blue-collar work due to its stability and financial potential.

How did Doug find success and financial stability in his blue-collar career?

Doug attended Marine engineering school, which opened doors for him to join the Coast Guard and earn a higher income. He has consistently earned a salary in the high five figures or low six figures since 2014, benefiting from union jobs that offer additional perks like benefits and pensions.

What are the benefits of pursuing a blue-collar career?

Blue-collar careers offer stability, high pay, and often provide additional benefits like pensions and healthcare. They also offer a sense of pride in meaningful work that directly impacts society.

Why are more Americans considering blue-collar work over a college education?

Mounting student debt and declining enrollment numbers in colleges are causing many Americans to question the value of a college education. Research shows that workers without a college degree, but who are part of a union, can earn more than their nonunion counterparts with degrees.

Are blue-collar careers physically demanding?

Yes, blue-collar work can be physically demanding and require constant skill mastery and learning. However, the trade-off often includes a comfortable retirement with a pension and solid health insurance.

How does Doug feel about his decision to pursue blue-collar work?

Doug is proud of his decision to pursue blue-collar work. He feels that it was the right fit for him and enjoys the meaningful work he does, as well as the tangible impact it has on society.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Advait Gupta
Advait Gupta
Advait is our expert writer and manager for the Artificial Intelligence category. His passion for AI research and its advancements drives him to deliver in-depth articles that explore the frontiers of this rapidly evolving field. Advait's articles delve into the latest breakthroughs, trends, and ethical considerations, keeping readers at the forefront of AI knowledge.

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