Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Marketable Skills (and my Lack Thereof)

When I went to get my car inspected in October, I almost died when the mechanic came out and told me that it failed inspection and would need work to the tune of around $2,000 (which I most decidedly do not have at this juncture in my life).

I did what I always do in those situations--I cried for awhile, then I acted like a despondent jerk for a few minutes, contemplated filing for bankruptcy ... then I asked Andy for help. Andy knows cars. He got the necessary parts (Did you know that cars have boots? They're attached to something called a caliper. I think), did the work himself and didn't charge me for labor, and saved me many hundreds of dollars. I got my car back yesterday, and it's inspected and life is good.

Which brings me to my point. I have an advanced graduate degree. I can analyze literature from poetry to philosophy and everything in between. I educate the minds of high school students. I run the school newspaper and am the sophomore class advisor. I've written a novel and three quarters of a second one. I kicked butt on the Praxis exams (think SATs for teachers).

And it all means nothing, when all is said and done. I mean, I took a couple of courses at a business college when I was pregnant with Addie so I could stay on my parents' health insurance. While there, I learned how to type and could, at one point in my life, type over a hundred words a minute (I've slowed down some in my old age). Typing is probably my only marketable skill, and it's not even like I use it all that much (other than when I'm writing ... or blogging ... okay, I type a lot, but you get what I mean).

Andy, on the other hand, dropped out of high school, got his GED, never graduated from college, and has a manual labor job where he gets paid about what I do. And he can fix cars. He is also one of the smartest people I know, and one of the kindest.

It's funny how, on paper, I look like an educated professional in a white collar field. In reality, there's not a whole lot I can do (other than motherhood--I'm pretty good at that .. and writing. Sometimes). I can't even do the laundry without screwing it up (yeah, I mixed whites and reds and have a bunch of grayish pink ... don't ask).

Do you think the dichotomy between white and blue collar is shrinking? Do people with blue collar jobs tend to have more practical skills? And why, oh why, do some people still look down on car mechanics, hairdressers, sanitation workers, and truck drivers?