“The flaw in our character is our insistence on separating blue-collar jobs from white-collar jobs, and encouraging one form of education over another.” – Mike Rowe

We never tell our children or anyone to go into the blue-collar field to make a living. Instead, they’re encouraged to go to college and get a degree to work for a company. Frequently we put the wrong focus on blue-collar work and treat it as a secondary position. Why is this?

hands-691499_960_720When it comes down to it, most Americans don’t realize the potential gold mine in blue-collar business. The service industry is wide open, with thousands upon thousands of opportunities, but many people don’t consider blue-collar work as an option and are missing out as a result. In 2014 alone, 3 million blue collar jobs went unfilled while over 15 million people were claiming unemployment in the U.S. Crazy, right?

I vividly remember telling my dad that I wanted to start a chimney sweeping company, and he told me “You don’t want to do that. There’s no money in it.” It was hard to swallow at first, given that my parents were always extremely supportive of me, but I knew I had to do my own thing regardless.

It’s easy to tell your child that they should go to college and get a degree, but I don’t necessarily think that’s right for everyone. In fact, there’s nothing worse than someone being forced to go through a long and stressful college education they don’t want and aren’t passionate about simply because their family or society made them think it was what they had to do.

The fact is, contrary to popular belief, blue-collar workers aren’t all roughnecks in dirty overalls with scowls permanently plastered to their faces, but actually friendly folk; who enjoy hands-on work and serving people face to face. Of course, there’s no doubt that chimney sweeping is hard -and definitely dirty – but among most chimney sweeps there is a joy in the work that we do, as we build services and relationships that we can be proud of. If young people are given the choice to consider trade jobs and blue-collar work, unemployment has the opportunity to decrease, bringing more money into the wallets of the workers and improving the economy overall.