Education

Un-Stigmatizing Skilled Labor

June 01, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A recent New York Times Magazine essay, adapted from Matthew B. Crawford’s book Shop Class as Soulcraft, explores the pressures students face to get a four-year college degree and pursue a white-collar career. Crawford, who has a Ph.D. and a history of white-collar jobs (including heading up a Washington, D.C.-based policy organization), looks at the cultural stigma surrounding careers in skilled-labor. After five months at the policy organization, Crawford quit to open his own motorcycle repair shop, which, he says, has brought him emotional, intellectual, and physical satisfaction. A choice, notes Crawford, that for a “gifted young student…is viewed as eccentric, if not self-destructive.”

The stigma surrounding labor jobs, believes Crawford, is undeserved and untrue. “Because the work is dirty, many people assume it is also stupid.” His experience repairing vintage motorcycles is as intellectually stimulating, if not more so, than the white-collar jobs he held in the past.

In Crawford’s words, “A good job requires a field of action where you can put your best capacities to work and see an effect in the world.” His hope is that, along with the change in the way people think about work and money in the face of this economic crisis, parents, educators, and students might start thinking differently about careers. “The good life comes in a variety of forms … For anyone who feels ill-suited by disposition to spend his days sitting in an office, the question of what a good job looks like is now wide open.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read