I view "blue collar" from the leans of a machinist. Some of the most successful machinists I have known worked 12 hours a day plus weekends until they could afford the machine(s) of their choice. They then cut back hours to get work for their garage shop and eventually cut the safety net and try to survive the rough seas of machining work. Even as an employee working for time I worried about how little costs like poor tool life added up and how mistakes that slip down that chain because "we had to rush" would turn a one hundred dollar mistake into a multi-thousand loss. Coincidentally they were also the craziest machinists I have known.
Last edited by UnknownKnown; June 13th, 2014 at 05:51 PM.
In the past I may have agreed with you, but I think the country is so services oriented now that good tradespeople are becoming harder to find, thus are being paid more than you may suspect. Couple that with the fact that a college degree these days is a common thing. It's just assumed little Johnny is going off to college after high school. That creates a glut of similarly qualified people for companies to choose from, which lets them offer lower and lower salaries. That whole supply/demand trading thing I guess.
In my experience, I could have gone either way. I was in college preparing for a career in the corporate world but dropped out. I then got involved in the trades because I enjoy working outdoors and being more physical. I'm glad I did because I have friends who continued on with the college thing and I earn far more money than they do. I'm paid for what I know. I just happen to have to turn a wrench once in awhile as well. Don't be fooled, just because a guy gets his dungarees dirty at work doesn't mean he's a dummy. Those guys you see up in the bucket trucks working on power lines when you drive by are all making 6 figures.
If it's not obvious already I would classify myself as blue collar. How this distinction relates to BM's theory about trading I really don't know. My opinion is it's mostly personality based. Certain personalities will be able to pick up trading faster or better and others will bang their head against the wall.
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I live by this. You never really know the person you are talking to or looking at. (Especially online.)
I have a friend who flips burgers for a living and I have a friend who makes $650K a year. You could interchange both. Burger flipper went to college, now can't find a job. $650K friend dropped out of college and started an app development company here in Austin.
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That probably is true, but I wonder if certain personality types are attracted to certain lines of work, and if there is any connection there to trading success.
On the other hand, I know several people in the construction trades who are or have been supervisors, project managers or contractors, who worked all their lives in the trades and got where they ended up (pretty successful) by having the same personal qualities as the managers in the Wall Street bank I once worked for.... their hands just were dirtier under the fingernails, and they took their showers when they got home from work, not in the morning before they left home....
It's easy to assume that "blue collar" workers are just simple souls who learn to take orders, and that is often assumed, but the reality is much more complex.
That said, I wonder if my friend down the street, the retired ex-carpenter (and job foreman, supervisor, project manager, etc.) whom I just spent an hour with drinking beer in his garage, and who is a very intelligent man, would have over-analyzed trading (as I do ), or would have just found out how to do it and gone straight ahead and done it, like he did everything else....
We're verging on stereotypes here, but I'm not sure. (Being an analytical type, that's what I would say, of course....) But maybe it's the personality type that is the important distinction, not career type.
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Im blue all the way. Just sneaked by out of high school. One week after graduation Dad gave me some leather gloves, a few tools, and sent me to a chemical plant here in Houston Tx. Worked 7 12's as a helper for 3 months and made alot of money. Paid for and dropped out of my first semester of college. Back to construction work. 3 years later that got old and seeing how beat up some of the old timers were, time for a change. So 3 years in the U.S. Army got me the GI bill. After the Army I worked 10 hour days as a LDAR Tech and school 4 hours each evening. Got training in Instrumentation and Operations for chemical plants. Fast forward to today, I now have 12 years experience in chemical plant operations, work 4 days on 4 days off 12 hour shifts(so you can say I only work half a year) and make 100k+. My job is half working outside, half watching a process control screen.
So how does that help me as a want to be trader?
Ive had to work hard to get and keep what I have. I am financially stable. Trading wont be my only source of income so the fear of failure and not making the house note isnt a factor. Ive lost half of all I own twice (2 divorces lol) so a loss in the markets I can handle. Ive been beat up and torn down physically and mentally but I survived and got stronger and wiser each time.
I think being 'blue collar' is the ability to take a punch or even get knocked down a few times and get back up and drive on.
Motivation is also a key factor. Work outside in August in Texas for 12 hours a day. That office job in the AC looks really damn nice, who I got to kill to get that job, lol.
Last edited by adamt; June 13th, 2014 at 07:21 PM.
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I wish there were ways to do this with trading but unfortunately we can't just work harder and buy a machine to automate part of the process or make it easier. That's why in some ways being a machinist, at least if you can control some of the aspects of your own freedom, is more enjoyable because it's hands on and you're more in control of the task at hand and know the pace of completing work.
My friend co-owns a sheet metal factory with his family and they got this one very expensive machine that does something like cut into metal from 3d computer designs which took the place of a few people's jobs. He said that it was their goal for years to get this specific machine and it pretty much allowed them to increase the amount of contracts several fold.
Sometimes he gets these odd jobs he asks me if I'm interested in like taking a pressure cleaner and cleaning obscure pieces of dirty metal parts for 20 dollars an hour under the table just because he trusts me and it's easier to pay a little more and get one of his friends to do it than drive to home depot and get some stranger who might steal parts. I know it's highly illegal and I couldn't press charges if I lost a finger somehow but I'm extremely safe. Plus sometimes I just enjoy manual labor and fixing things for a few hours here and there because as a big guy sitting at the computer all day can get to me.
Last edited by Itchymoku; June 13th, 2014 at 08:57 PM.
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The reason for that might be that there is quite much Blue collar workers which can't afford spare money for trading and those who can have suitable personality for trading. Trading is not rocket sciense where you need to be a mastermind. What it needs is good motivation for working hard and discipline.
Not saying that white collar worker can't have those traits of course they can and some has. White collar workers just tend to have more money for spending/trading and that's why there is so much more white collar workers who trades.
I'm an engineer so I count my self as white collar
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I agree. A good job at (ownership of) a financially stable shop is a nice, stable, life. I would never recommend that anyone do what I have done. I can't explain it but I couldn't forgive myself for not trying. If I don't make the cut trading I can go back to machining and I think I will be a little wiser and a lot more humble for the experience. I feel the same way about machining, no matter where my life leads I have been enriched by my experiences and the knowledge I have gained.
I think I know where you are coming from. I'm a total computer/science dork and machining was only meant as a source of income because my Mom and I were taking care of my Grandmother with Alzheimer. She had to take care of her Mother full time so I got a job sweeping floors for a weekend that I quickly turned into full time work doing Quality Control and tool grinding.
Manually grinding forms while holding a curved profile +-0.0005" is not easy and I took great pride when I started achieving that level of accuracy. I could spend upwards of four hours grinding and honing a complex profile no longer then 1/8th of an inch in length. I can't even describe the feeling of holding the finished tool after four hours of praying that you won't screw THIS one up.
I love money but no amount of it (gain or loss) will ever mean as much to me as the pride of holding in my hand the end results of my knowledge and skill. That's why I'm going to continue with knife making in my spare time. People appreciate a beautiful knife more then a well honed carbide endmill anyway.
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