Why do some smart people (140+ IQ) prefer blue collar work to white collar work?

Updated on : January 17, 2022 by Harriet Hudson



Why do some smart people (140+ IQ) prefer blue collar work to white collar work?

I want to go home and be with my family and enjoy my private time as soon as possible. The jobs I do often give me 6 or 7 hour shifts.

In case I need to move, I want to be able to get a job basically anywhere. I hate traveling long distances. I hate the expense of fuel and car maintenance. I hate bureaucracies and prefer to work without having to talk to people or deal with management politics and other nonsense.

I also hate being tied to a place. If I hate my job, I want to change it. If I hate my apartment, I want to move. If my spouse gets a job midway

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I want to go home and be with my family and enjoy my private time as soon as possible. The jobs I do often give me 6 or 7 hour shifts.

In case I need to move, I want to be able to get a job basically anywhere. I hate traveling long distances. I hate the expense of fuel and car maintenance. I hate bureaucracies and prefer to work without having to talk to people or deal with management politics and other nonsense.

I also hate being tied to a place. If I hate my job, I want to change it. If I hate my apartment, I want to move. If my spouse gets a job across the country, I want to be able to leave my current job in a few weeks and look for a new job in a few more weeks. In the event of an economic downturn, I want to be able to return to the workplace with the same salary that I always had when the economy recovers, rather than taking a massive pay cut to keep working.

Long ago, I realized that my priorities were such that I would have to give up too much to be a “middle class” comfortably, and I was very happy with too little. I don't need a mansion, I don't need a sports car, and I don't have expensive hobbies. Most of what I do for fun is free or almost.

I give you an example: I like to watch things on YouTube. Other than an internet connection, this costs me nothing. I've been playing a certain strategy video game on my computer on and off for the better part of 15 years, because I like it so much. Some video games that I bought for $ 60 have entertained me for a few hours at most. I prefer games with a lot of replay value, and as long as I change them, I don't need to spend a fortune on my video game habits.

My wife and I also decided to have a child. That means going back to school and trying to move up the corporate ladder, working 50 or 60 hours a week, is out of the question. She has a career, as a teacher. They pay her more than me. If anyone needs to babysit, that will be me or a kindergarten, and there are age limits for that.

If I had a professional career, it would be impossible for me to take time off, manage my travel time, and my first priority would have to be my job. I would live to work instead of work to live.

Assuming I agree not to have a million dollars in my savings account when I retire, this is the life that works best for me. And it does.

Basically, he can't pay me enough to prioritize his work over my personal life and the needs of my family. I am not for sale.

For some people, money is more necessary or more important to them, or they have different priorities. Or they cannot be happy unless their work is meaningful and rewarding to them.

I have never had a job where my job is nothing more than a means of earning enough money to pay the rent. No job has been fun, rewarding, or satisfying. Blue collar work rarely is. However, all the other aspects of my life are much more fun, rewarding, and fulfilling.

For me, work is the tasks that I have to do to maintain my life. It's not my life

I find intellectual fun in the strategy games I play, I am politically active, I am quite a prolific Qur'an, I write and research things and keep up with current events. It is not impossible that I will improvise some of my best essays and answers and compile them into a book one day. I get a lot of intellectual stimulation.

And frankly, since the tasks I do at my job are so unappealing and I don't need to talk to people to get my job done, I can literally think of anything I want every time I'm awake.

I enjoy the freedom to think what I want to think. It helps me pass the time while I work. He used to deliver pizzas for a living. I could listen to the radio and not have a boss barking orders at me. That was fun. I have had similar jobs.

If you worked in the kitchen chopping onions all day, you might hate that job. You would smell like onions, you would have watery and watery eyes, and you would be bored.

I, on the other hand, do the repetitive and pointless task, while thinking about other things. I don't get bored if I keep busy and "in the zone" thinking about things.

If I had to be on the phone all day with clients, then, in fact, my work would focus on my thoughts and I would not have a moment's peace.

Certain manual jobs suck me. Others are perfect. And since I have 2 decades of experience in the type of work I do, it is quite easy for me to change jobs if I get tired of doing it.

And I get tired of it. I probably change jobs every few years or so. Keep things from getting unbearably stale.

Money is not my top priority, nor is the prestige of a middle-class life. I just don't care.

I'll answer that since I belong to that broad category:

  1. I grew up in a blue-collar family, my father was a union carpenter, my mother a school secretary; his best hope for my future was to become a union electrician. In plumbing circles, the expression is that "cold goes to the right, heat to the left, and sewage flows downhill." In electrician circles there are black wires, white wires, green wires, and sometimes red ones; You know what they mean and you have it hit. Simply put, I wanted a more challenging job than "cold on the right, hot on the left, sewage ...". I found it in electrical engineering.
  2. The payment for knowledge
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I'll answer that since I belong to that broad category:

  1. I grew up in a blue-collar family, my father was a union carpenter, my mother a school secretary; his best hope for my future was to become a union electrician. In plumbing circles, the expression is that "cold goes to the right, heat to the left, and sewage flows downhill." In electrician circles there are black wires, white wires, green wires, and sometimes red ones; You know what they mean and you have it hit. Simply put, I wanted a more challenging job than "cold on the right, hot on the left, sewage ...". I found it in electrical engineering.
  2. The pay for knowledge is better proportionally. I mean you can know everything there is to know about plumbing and still not get paid (I was tempted to say "shit", but thought better of it, as a lot of plumbers actually make quite a bit of money; especially unclogging the drains in Action Thank you), well, squat. Like EE, what I don't know would fill volumes, so there is always something new to learn; it is a challenge for life.
  3. Through my work I met a brilliant Ph.D. with whom I got along well enough to marry her. The conversations in our home were stimulating and diverse, but never dull and boring.

And frankly, only someone who IS a worker would presume that "the workers are labor while the white-collar are management." Although I held some managerial positions, my technical skills were much more valuable to my employers as a (labor) employee than they would have been in "management." What is where and how I liked it: less paperwork, more hands on work, more challenges and problems to solve and therefore intellectually stimulating on a day-to-day basis. Didn't I work with my hands? Every day I sat in front of a keyboard “working with both my head and my hands”, which beats and drives me crazy from boring work in which brain involvement is unnecessary and distracting.

First we have to define manual labor (labor) vs white collar (management). The white collar is easy to define, but there is often a "discussion" about what to include on the blue collar side. For example, does any job that requires a bachelor's degree qualify as a laborer, even if it's not labor or management (airline pilots are also generally union members, so it adds mud to the water!)

I ask that first because we had an interesting discussion about whether the programming was white-collar or blue-collar.

  • Is programming a white-collar or blue-collar job?

First, my opinion is that programming and other STE techniques

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First we have to define manual labor (labor) vs white collar (management). The white collar is easy to define, but there is often a "discussion" about what to include on the blue collar side. For example, does any job that requires a bachelor's degree qualify as a laborer, even if it's not labor or management (airline pilots are also generally union members, so it adds mud to the water!)

I ask that first because we had an interesting discussion about whether the programming was white-collar or blue-collar.

  • Is programming a white-collar or blue-collar job?

First of all, my opinion is that programming and other technical STEM careers don't really fit the traditional paradigm of work vs. management. Of course, some will place some of the technical staff under "blue collar", especially in fields like maintenance.

  • Not long after leaving the USAF, I accepted a job with the VA. State Police in its communications division. Our division maintained 14 counties and we had a state-issued vehicle (we were heading home, which was a cool bonus). We meet in the morning, get our service call, and head out for the day. I never had a job with such freedom. Between calls, I would often stop at various libraries and go online (this was in the mid-90s, when it was still new).

Some people have really embraced the concept of a "day job" that pays the bills. They are free from the stress and pressure managers face and do not seek satisfaction in their work. They find it elsewhere.

Here's a person who gets it!

Maybe it's just me, but I laugh every time I see him using the board to explain overtime pay.

I received overtime pay when I was working for the State Police. One weekend during an ice storm, I got 18 hours of overtime (two long days!).

Edit: John Purcell's answer to Is programming among the activities with the highest IQ? has a link to a graph showing average IQ for various professions. He also wrote a good answer (as indicated by the opinions and upvotes!)

I'm not sure what I would prove with IQ today. The last time I took one I was a teenager (came out 126).


Reason # 1: It feels good.

I studied programming in high school and something in college, but it turns out that I'm not fit for it: I prefer to do things physically with my hands. However, having had some formal classroom training in circuits and logic for my associate degree makes me better at what I do than a mere electrician - I am known for spotting errors in drawings that even engineers missed. .

So yes, as a blue collar worker, I can enjoy wicked pleasure

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I'm not sure what I would prove with IQ today. The last time I took one I was a teenager (came out 126).


Reason # 1: It feels good.

I studied programming in high school and something in college, but it turns out that I'm not fit for it: I prefer to do things physically with my hands. However, having had some formal classroom training in circuits and logic for my associate degree makes me better at what I do than a mere electrician - I am known for spotting errors in drawings that even engineers missed. .

So yeah, as a blue collar worker I enjoy the wicked pleasure of correcting mistakes made by people who are supposedly smarter and making more money than me. And it is satisfying to have a QA report on a cabinet that I did and not have non-conformance reports on what I did. My work in the control wiring department is always perfect (okay, almost always) and I am very proud of it.

And if you're going to a Wal-Mart, Publix, or Target anywhere in the country, there's a non-zero chance that the store you're shopping at is using equipment I built. I make my money building things that people actually use, instead of generating paperwork or making money from money.


Reason # 2: Not exempt.

My mom is a nurse. She makes more money than I do, but she comes in at 8, works until 5, and then has to spend hours updating charts when she gets home. And on the busiest days, you have no breaks. And yes, the coronavirus has affected things: We always have to worry a little bit that she is exposed and potentially takes it to my father, who is already prone to upper respiratory infections.

In my work week, I work 40 fixed hours, and then you pay me time and a half if you want me to work after that. I have a guaranteed 15 minute break every two to three hours, and a guaranteed 30 minute lunch. And my job stays at the factory instead of following me home like a lost little hellhound.

And luckily, because my company makes power generation equipment (PowerSecure is a subsidiary of one of the largest gas and electric companies in the country), we are essential, so I still have my job (hours of operation have been ruined considerably , but I have not worked less than 36 in a given week). My cousin in Florida has been laid off from her job as a hotel hospitality manager.

As someone in that category, I prefer to learn, use what I learn to do things, and teach people what I have learned. Most jobs that offer opportunities for the second and third things I enjoy require tons of degrees. But school is not really about learning; Academic achievement really only indicates how much time and effort you put into school, not whether that work resulted in acquired knowledge or skills. I work as a lifeguard and instructor for the Red Cross because it allows me the mental freedom to spend time reflecting on the things I have learned or teaching people what I have learned.

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As someone in that category, I prefer to learn, use what I learn to do things, and teach people what I have learned. Most jobs that offer opportunities for the second and third things I enjoy require tons of degrees. But school is not really about learning; Academic achievement really only indicates how much time and effort you put into school, not whether that work resulted in acquired knowledge or skills. I work as a Red Cross lifeguard and instructor because it allows me the mental freedom to spend time reflecting on things that I have learned or teaching people things that I have learned, while giving me a much greater sense of satisfaction than something like the catering or working an assembly line. Also, generally, When someone has an IQ of 140+, they will be what you would call neurodivergent, which in this context means that their brain spends its resources and time differently than the average person. Usually intelligence is the result of this, but it brings challenges that the average person does not face. I had the onset of my bipolar disorder in childhood; having to deal with manic and suicidal episodes at age 4 meant that some parts of the traditional timelines had to be put on hold while I figured out how to deal with those kinds of things. Right now I am working as a lifeguard and instructor while going through therapy to clear my mind, so I have no problem with spending hours on tasks that do NOTHING to teach me new information or skills and are only intended to shore up the grades of people who just don't get it. If it weren't for that rather troublesome emotional problem,

That said, there are more than 7 billion humans on the planet. We have enough geniuses so that people can do the work they love. Even when it comes down to neurodivergent geniuses, the life experience is extremely varied from person to person and that plays as much of a role in career choices as any innate ability.

I am on the fringes of that category, living on both sides of the fence simultaneously.

For decades, I made a living as a software engineer and traveled weekly to work on software implementation jobs.

I remember many times looking out the window of my plane at the baggage handlers and fantasizing about having their jobs. I did the same with the taxi drivers.

When in the 140+ range, you have the ability to quickly jump to conclusions and solutions to difficult problems, a valuable skill when working for / with someone who can appreciate you.

But in the real world, where most of you

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I am on the fringes of that category, living on both sides of the fence simultaneously.

For decades, I made a living as a software engineer and traveled weekly to work on software implementation jobs.

I remember many times looking out the window of my plane at the baggage handlers and fantasizing about having their jobs. I did the same with the taxi drivers.

When in the 140+ range, you have the ability to quickly jump to conclusions and solutions to difficult problems, a valuable skill when working for / with someone who can appreciate you.

But in the real world, where most of their coworkers are in the 120-130 range, they value collaboration. Instead of appreciating my quick fixes, they distrust them. Later, when they come to the same conclusion, they don't like to hear "I told you so." Every once in a while, I come to the wrong conclusion, which they then cling to as an example of why they can't trust my quick conclusions.

I suspect that many of the people you are referring to are doing some sort of LONELY work, where they are not actually subject to criticism or whims of other people. This can be manual work, but it can also be intellectual work as a lawyer, application developer, or inventor.

I like to do solo work. Uber has allowed me to fulfill my dream of being a taxi driver. In my current job, I only survive because I have a manager who understands different personality types, and he himself is what I call a “middle genius,” along with another co-worker. Nonetheless, the three of us struggle to get along in a "subgenius" (but still very "smart") world.

I'm an engineer, a mechanic, and a few other things. I have some university degrees in addition to engineering.

Maybe I made a mistake working in the corporate world as an engineer. It was a real headache dealing with people. I certainly expected more from people with a college education. The meetings were full of insults, curses, manipulation, yelling and blame. I had no use for that shit. This was at GE! In a meeting once, I told a guy to fuck off and I left. Two hours later I saw him and he offered me a job just for him. I said, "I just scold you, gosh."

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I'm an engineer, a mechanic, and a few other things. I have some university degrees in addition to engineering.

Maybe I made a mistake working in the corporate world as an engineer. It was a real headache dealing with people. I certainly expected more from people with a college education. The meetings were full of insults, curses, manipulation, yelling and blame. I had no use for that shit. This was at GE! In a meeting once, I told a guy to fuck off and I left. Two hours later I saw him and he offered me a job just for him. I said, "I just scold you, gosh." He said that I was the only one who knew what was going on. Who the hell wants to deal with that shit?

In another meeting, I confronted this engineer about something he promised me two days before. He told the group that he was not there that day. That day I went around a lot.

One day I left and I quit! Shit!

As a mechanic, it is more honest and easier to deal with people. They are not aspiring to fancy postures! They are motor heads like me. That's why I became an engineer !!!

If I had to do it again, I would go to college and get a broad education. Then I would go to work as a mechanic or machinist. That's if I couldn't keep browsing.

I am interested in many things and I call myself an information consumer. But we need to earn a living, so I couldn't spend my life in college. I did graduate school and could have become a teacher (I guess), but I didn't want to narrow my scope of learning.

A significant majority of white-collar work is, to use the technical academic term (I wish I was making this up), nonsense. Administrators are often assigned subordinates before job descriptions are defined, or for various other reasons, people are hired just to make a more prestigious superior appearance (this is almost a third of university staff private; community colleges generally avoid this bloat.) Other jobs involve checking boxes to make it look like an organization is taking some problem seriously ...

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Stereotypes and overgeneralization!

Let's think about the near-universal (and flawed) stereotypes for:

  • white versus blue collar ...
  • intelligent (developed), intelligent (innate) ... etc.

Now a reasonable assumption is that when people want something, they often gravitate toward it. And if we consider that the intention of the question is to consider why intelligent or intelligent people move away from the most commonly assumed stereotypes, we must think that it is because they are aware of the contradictions.

In a sense, we can say that they do not want false and presumptuous rights of stereotypes, but rather that they want sustainable goods that or

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Stereotypes and overgeneralization!

Let's think about the near-universal (and flawed) stereotypes for:

  • white versus blue collar ...
  • intelligent (developed), intelligent (innate) ... etc.

Now a reasonable assumption is that when people want something, they often gravitate toward it. And if we consider that the intention of the question is to consider why intelligent or intelligent people move away from the most commonly assumed stereotypes, we must think that it is because they are aware of the contradictions.

In a sense, we can say that they do not want false and presumptuous stereotype rights, but rather sustainable things that they observe and perceive.


The stereotype says that white-collar workers only need pizzas to reap the fruits of the entire harvest, but in reality they only need pizzas to make sure other white-collar workers don't deprive them of their share:

  • The bold will employ corruption and influence
  • The ambitious will line up until they can take their place
  • The aspirant will see this and will come to decide to stagnate in misery, trample with cruelty or follow his more sustainable dreams.

The boldest of all are those who have trouble realizing when something is a danger or not, and they are less likely to be observant, perceptive, unless they are, but they are not of greater wisdom or high morality ... in short, don't shoot before they look, or don't even look.


When it is said that it is common wisdom that "money does not buy happiness ..." real experience is needed to arrive at the intention of that wisdom:

  • Money is not literal ... this can be influence, materialistic gains ... etc.
  • Happiness is not literal ... this can be mastery, fulfillment ... etc.

So when we overgeneralize white-collar employees as more lucrative, we forget all of this, and we forget that only the bold are really that rich, but they will only be if they can endure the moral dispute or maintain their denial ... it will be more. difficult for those who are smart enough not to be able not to come see.


This is not the end, because once people get to see it for themselves, they don't see change as anything less than happiness, literal and metaphorical.

After all, creativity is wasted on those who are simply greedy ... which is not the case when solving things, just people.

And solving people's problems is less complicated through blatant stereotypes and overgeneralization. But only if you know better will your mind find it offensive, and when you do, you hardly want to call this exhilarating or even a winner.

Hope this helps - Thanks Evan!

As I understand it, the origins of the terms "blue collar" and "white collar" (there used to be "black collar" and "pink collar" work as well, but now they seem less frequent) actually had to do with the type of clothing. or uniform worn. All of these referred to industrial jobs, not agricultural ones.

The black collar was manual labor, that is, digging in the ground with a pick and shovel (digging trenches, digging wells, extracting charcoal from the ground). The black collar matched the color of the material being worked on. At the end of the day, if you were lucky, you would shower.

The blue collar was work

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As I understand it, the origins of the terms "blue collar" and "white collar" (there used to be "black collar" and "pink collar" work as well, but now they seem less frequent) actually had to do with the type of clothing. or uniform worn. All of these referred to industrial jobs, not agricultural ones.

The black collar was manual labor, that is, digging in the ground with a pick and shovel (digging trenches, digging wells, extracting charcoal from the ground). The black collar matched the color of the material being worked on. At the end of the day, if you were lucky, you would shower.

The workers worked with machinery, using tools like wrenches, dripping oil on the machinery (railway engineer and brakemen, servicing steam engines and electric generators and milling machinery, running a lathe). The blue neck was similar to oil and fat. Skilled job, but at the end of the day your hands were dirty. At the end of your shift, you have to wash up.

The white collar was the IBM engineer uniform. You didn't get dirty at work. You took a shower in the morning. Bob Dylan scoffed at it with the phrase "twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift."

Pink necklace was what the secretaries (all women) wore. Work in the same environment as white-collar workers, but distinguished by gender and lower wages.

The workers were definitely a step forward and could even be unionized, hence the overtime pay. The white collar was salaried.

But a lot of that was discarded when microcomputers came in and technicians started using poles.

Manual labor can be attractive to someone with great intelligence who likes to do things and see the results of the work directly. There may be less BS when the work is tangible. Less office politics. The job can vary with new problems to tackle and a sense of pride in making a machine hum or even purr.

Why do some smart people (140+ IQ) prefer blue collar work to white collar work?

"Why do some smart people (140+ IQ) prefer blue collar work over white collar work?"

That blue / white color distinction has faded a bit, but maybe irrelevant to the question anyway.

Some people choose their work based on what they do and enjoy as work.

Others choose their career on the basis of prestige and power. Those aren't always the smartest reasons to choose how you spend your life.

Furthermore, as Daniel Albert points out, "blue collar" work generally has a clearly defined work schedule, while "white collar" work often involves preparation that must be done in

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"Why do some smart people (140+ IQ) prefer blue collar work over white collar work?"

That blue / white color distinction has faded a bit, but maybe irrelevant to the question anyway.

Some people choose their work based on what they do and enjoy as work.

Others choose their career on the basis of prestige and power. Those aren't always the smartest reasons to choose how you spend your life.

Additionally, as Daniel Albert points out, "blue collar" work generally has clearly defined work schedules, while "white collar" work often involves homework preparation, after-hours meetings, and much more.

For a time I was drastically paid to restore old bikes, a job I appreciated. In an eight-hour shift he could earn exactly the same as in an hour of college class, which he was doing at the same time.

However, the reality was that the theoretical hour of a university lecture was only one hour a day and there were almost seven hours of preparation: traveling, dressing appropriately, developing the curriculum and preparing cast material, grades and other work. none of which was paid for.

For the same money, it was a lot more fun and creative to restore and rebuild old bikes, even if the curator of the collection couldn't pay me a lot to do that job. Such a variety of challenges and opportunities to use such a variety of skills. My bike restoration buddies were also better company than several of my college buddies.

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