What’s the key to transition out of blue-collar work later in life? If you’re moving to something that is a better fit for who you are as a person, you’ll do just fine. If you’re just jumping ship for money, it might be more of a struggle.
Blue-collar roles are usually in very authoritative structures. When men move from blue-collar to white-collar roles, they tend to assume that with their new role comes a lot of positional power. But in large organizations, that’s not always true. Men in these situations need to learn to lead with influence, not power. They need to be more collaborative, and they need to understand that to get what they need they might have to leverage other departments or leaders.
In other words, simply working hard and doing the work can get you to a better position in a blue-collar workspace. But white-collar work involves more office politics, which can be difficult to navigate. They need to learn to personally create value for the organization because their contribution to the organization won’t always be clearly defined.
In a blue-collar role, your value in the organization is very clear. Your boss will usually see tangible results because of the work you are assigned. But in white-collar roles, you have to constantly be on the lookout for how you can be adding value. Your boss won’t always tell you exactly what to do, so you need to be proactive in finding work and in making sure they know what you are doing to help the organization.