Classism rant


It really bothers me when people mock people who work in offices. And it really bothers me when people who work in offices mock people who work with their hands, if you will. Who do people think is out there in the heat or the cold repairing power lines after some idiot driving drunk takes down a power pole? Who do people think is processing the paperwork to make sure that power company technician gets paid? You have to know a lot about complicated computer programs and accounting to “sit behind a desk and push papers.” You have to be physically strong and know a hell of a lot about engineering and have a hell of a lot of mechanical skills and be really brave to climb that pole! And many people these days do multiple jobs at their one job. I worked in a museum. I did paperwork, dealt with multiple government entities, designed advertising, built the website, wrote all the website content, photographed the objects on display for the local paper, set up displays, secured donors so that we would have exhibits, gave up my time off to attend parties to meet people who might help keep us running financially, organized board meetings, took notes while making sure no one ran out of coffee, carried fifty pound sheets of glass when we were setting up the display cabinets, vacuumed, dusted, cleaned the glass, scrubbed toilets, gave tours, checked every cabinet every afternoon to make sure a) it was locked and b) there were no signs of insect infestation. I came home every afternoon and immediately started planning the next day and answering emails. I went to the museum on my day off after a power outage to reset the alarm. I went to one of our storage buildings and was the first to discover the aftermath of a break-in. For my work, I was cursed at because we had the temerity to charge admission and forced to continue working with someone who sexually harassed me.

Isn’t that enough? Didn’t I do enough “blue collar” and “white collar” work to suit everyone? I was the only one there who understood how the breaker box worked!

Why can’t we respect each other?

I would not have had a job without the people who took apart the cabinets and moved them and did the really heavy work putting them back together. They were craftsmen and had actually built the cabinets. I would not have had a job without the people who installed the security system. I would not have had a safe job without the police officers who came in to make sure everything was all right because they knew I might be working alone. I would not have had a job without the power company technicians who worked in all kinds of weather to get the power back on because our delicate items would have been damaged without our flippin’ climate control system. I wouldn’t have had a job without the people who keep the power on because I couldn’t work in the dark! I wouldn’t have had a job without the computer tech who took apart my desktop computer and retrieved a CD that somehow fell out of the drive into the computer.

I wouldn’t be writing this if someone wasn’t keeping my Internet functioning.

Blue collar workers and white collar workers and academics have always devalued each other but not one of us is any better or any more necessary than anyone else.

I’m tired of classism. And don’t get me started on cashiers and servers and the people who stock the shelves and the people who drive the trucks.

I’m just tired.


5 thoughts on “Classism rant

  1. Fifty years ago, going to college was the exception, now it’s the rule. High schools now assume that every student is going on to college and prepares them to take the SAT and to handle the academic rigors of college life, whether or not the student is actually interested in that. There are literally thousands of jobs that can be filled by high school graduates, meaningful careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, and in some cases serious shortages of people to do those jobs, but there’s such a bias toward pushing a kid to go to college that most kids think they have to, whether or not they actually want to. That’s where a lot of this classism, as you call it, comes from, and that is what needs to change.

  2. It’s some competitive streak in humans. At my last job, surrounded by Ph.D.s, it astonished me that they never seemed to speak to one another. Dr. So-and-So would email me to have me let Dr. Whats-His-Face know something. Watch the back-biting on “The Big Bang Theory.” It’s presented in a humorous way, but it goes on, for sure.

    Very few people can see past the labels.

    • It is a competitive streak and it’s getting worse because of the way the workforce has been restructured. I don’t want to work in an office anymore because it’s becoming less about work and more about workshops, PowerPoint, etc.

      • Depends what field you’re in. I almost never touch Powerpoint (although others in my dept. do). Some jobs are more varied than others. But yeah, the ideal would be to make a full-time living as a writer.

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