All jobs have risk, but you may as well maximize your earnings anyway

I saw this tweet going viral:

“MarshallLane229” is right:

It’s funny how everyone has to tell you how bad white collar work is, in much the same way people must insist that IQ does not matter. What I have found is that things that are actually great, few people go around telling everyone how great they are. If everyone is talking about how great fracking is, then that probably means that the fracking job market is close to a top, like in 2014-2015. But because coding and other white collar jobs have high intellectual barriers to entry, such jobs can never get saturated to the point where everyone can do them and can proudly proclaim on Twitter how great those jobs are.

Things with lower intellectual barriers to entry can become saturated almost instantly and without warning, in which they stop working . When I say ‘stops working’ I don’t mean a gradual letdown in which dwindling profits can still be extracted, but I mean a cliff in which everything dries up at once.

Anecdotal evidence does not mean that much. The data shows that wages are inversely correlated with suicide rates, especially for minimum wage.

But in regard to the above tweet, all jobs have have risk and are unpleasant in varying ways, but white collar work generally pays better and is otherwise superior, holding risk constant, compared to blue or grey collar work. You may as well earn as much money as possible for your personal sacrifice or risk so you can retire sooner and with more money (like ‘FIRE style’). People too often assume white collar jobs are somehow more risky or vulnerable to unforeseen conditions or changes, but imagine at 45:

Going into the fracking industry, at around 2014-2015

Working in the oil and gas industry, at 2007-2008 or 2014-2015

Starting a landscaping, home restoration, or construction biz in 2007-2009

Opening a restaurant in early 2020

Investing in NFTs and or crypto in 2021-2022 or creating a crypto start-up (prices down 90 percent or more for most NFTs)

White collar jobs, like coding or consulting, seem to much more immune to the ebbs and flows of the overall macro environment. In high or low inflation, good times or bad, there will always be high demand for those jobs (at least relative to other type of jobs). During Covid, the first jobs to be downsized were low skilled jobs, or workers who were deemed ‘essential’ were exposed to the virus. Meanwhile, white collar workers were given the option to work at home with minimal Covid risk and full pay.

2 comments

  1. White collar jobs often require less actual skill and what skill they do puts younger people at advantage. Blue collar jobs at least skilled ones like steamfitters certainly there’s a youth advantage to the physical part but the knowledge takes decades to acquire. OSS may want to lay off grey hairs but can’t. Also blue collar jobs have much more freedom no one questions a gap in your resume you don’t even have one. I worked six months a year for 30 years at $100 hr walked with three pensions. while on my off months collected three unemployments plans plus state. Sometimes took years off never had a problem coming back when I wanted to.
    Also it’s easier to start own blue collar company than your own Microsoft and doesn’t take more than the tools you already own.
    Sure if I could have seen future in 1982 I’d have gone to wall st it was still open enough and time was ripe. I’m high IQ and yeah work kinda bored me after a decade but I decided to just work winters and play summers

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