{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Parenting question: Most of my extended family and in-laws are blue collar workers. While I went to grad school & did well in my career, they don't aspire for much & are very content working 9-5 manually intensive jobs. I realize I sound like a coastal elite, but ideas such as wealth creation and retiring early don't appeal to them. \n\n I'm concerned some of their ideas, especially the lack of drive, would impact my kid if they spent time with them. Is my concern valid & if so how to manage?", "post_id": "5f45ce148817bf002eb9c145", "reply_count": 45, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Parenting question: Most of my extended family and in-laws are blue collar workers. While I went to grad school & did well in my career, they don't aspire for much & are very content working 9-5 manually intensive jobs. I realize I sound like a coastal elite, but ideas such as wealth creation and retiring early don't appeal to them.

I'm concerned some of their ideas, especially the lack of drive, would impact my kid if they spent time with them. Is my concern valid & if so how to manage?

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Well, OP, to reiterate above - your concern is clearly heartfelt, but not valid. All the kids I know who were exposed to blue and white collar work before college (which, btw, if we’re talking about when your children is < 10yrs old, this is VERY non valid) generally stood out from the pack (starting businesses, doing exceptionally well in school, etc). Assuming you’re not convinced - Id say expose your child to both types of work, Pick a summer, make him do manual for half and an internship for half. He’ll understand the physical toll blue collar work takes.

I wouldn’t do this to my own child, but I also have cousins whom hold no influence over me...


OP there is an in between.

I am in a similar boat. Most of my family and in-laws are teachers, therapists, government workers, etc.; but my wife and I are both in Financial Services.

Our oldest son (8) just spoke to me about his future in a real way for the first time. He explained which subjects he likes and he’s good at and that he wants to make a lot of money (he’s 8 and has no idea what that is) but also wants to help people.

He decided that he wants to be a emergency room doctor (his words).

I think there is a medium between white collar work and blue collar work when it comes to effort and wealth accumulation.

On a side note, some of the wealthiest people I know are contractors, plumbers and electricians.

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Blue collar workers do important work and I think your attitude is condescending. We need these important workers to run our nation.


Yeah I understand. Sounds like you know what to do already. Good luck. We all wish better for our children, whether emotional, financial, or both


I wouldn’t say so, I think you should instill that people have different views on wealth creation, and show your kid the advantage of working hard and saving. It will be good for your child to see diverse perspectives/how different people live financially and personal choice wise.


Yeah I understand that, your kid is going to look up to you the most and want to make you proud. If you work hard and show passion for those around you, they’ll replicate that behavior to make you proud (speaking from personal experience w my parents). Again I think it’s still a net positive for you to allow kids to see relatives, it will appease your SO and give your kids a wider world view.


I know ppl that have left Corporate America bc sitting at a desk isnt for them they like to be active during their workday. Every job is necessary and if everyone with a labor intensive job tried to be in corporate America or "early retire jobs" the world would stutter to a halt.

Just bc someone doesn't want the life you have doenst mean they are lazy/ unmotivated. You're comment are very elitist and cringe. No your kids hanging around hard working people that are needed to hold-up our economy won't ruin them.


I made no sweeping generalizations about all blue collar workers. I was speaking specifically about my personal experience. But you still chose to engage with your projections about what i said with hyperbole.
Everyone knows they are good for the economy but still here you are hammering slides.

Do you generally try to keep your kids away from blue collar folks?


You already know your answer then. Instill your kid with good values and make sure he gets an education.


Weird thing to worry about. Kids aren’t like incapable of learning diverse experiences. It’s not like if they form a strong relationship with a family member who is a laborer they’re going to have zero ambition. It might just mean they have many role models in their lives. That’s a good thing, no matter how you look at it. I have a family member who retired at 50 and his wife has never worked. Their 7 year old has the most warped world view. I’d be more concerned about that rubbing off on your kid.


I doubt that your hard work of instilling strong and driven values will be erased by them spending time with your kid. I have a lot of drunk uncles, lazy cousins, and leeches for aunts and it didn’t change me in the slightest (not saying a blue collar worker falls into any of those categories). It made me want to do better.


Agree with McK1 - if anything, you are benefiting your kids by showing some diversity. Don’t disparage or be condescending - personal choices are personal. There are positives to not chase wealth. Be a role model to all.


I dont know - when I was young all my friends from my local sports club ended up in blue collar jobs. I don‘t think there is anything wrong with it and many of them are still among my best and most reliable friends despite very different career goals. It is also not only about money / career success - I would support your child as good as possible but in the end they should have a say in pursuing what they enjoy. My sister, for instance, is not motivated by money at all (though went and became an oral surgeon)


OP, your kids aren't going to fall in love with a blue collar life by seeing it. Any adults in pain they see will show the value of education.

If you are real lucky one of them will get them a tough blue collar job during HS summers. Nothing motivates studying in college like swinging a sledge during a summer.

You also can't say you value diversity and people as individuals if you shelter your kids from seeing the consequences of choices.


College and white collar jobs aren't for everyone. At the end of the day you should support your child in what ultimately makes them happy.

That being said, I wouldn't shelter them and instead let them see things from both perspectives. I'm under the impression that everyone should at some point work a blue collar job so that they can become well rounded members of society and appreciate those doing the jobs they don't want to do. Can't remember the quote exactly, but it is along the lines that you treat the janitor the same as you would the CEO.


I get it. Guess what I'm saying is everyone has a different path in life even if the destination is the same. Might as well be happy with whatever path you take to get there.

Having worked in restaurants and manual labor/construction growing up, I knew early on my body wasn't gonna hold up to picking up a shovel/hammer for 30-40 years. It actually gave me the drive to get my crap together and finish college. Not sure I made the right choice some days, but it's definitely gonna get me to my destination quicker.

I’m the child of immigrants and all of my family members are “blue collar” workers. My family has taught me the value of hard work, integrity, and resilience- I have met many people with college degrees that lack those values. I feel like I would be doing a disservice to my children if I didn’t expose them to a diverse group of people. Also- it’s important to consider that maybe your in laws or fam didn’t have the same opportunities as you? Working a 9-5 at an office would be a dream for my dad seeing that he has worked labor Intensive jobs for 20+ years.


Let the kids see both worlds and pick what they like or may be a blend of it. I’m exactly like you but sometimes relax and passing time is also good. Looking back, I wish I have seen both sides when I was a kid.


My brother and I grew up middle/upper middle class surrounded by a very working class extended family (and community). Honestly, if anything, it motivated us even more because we saw how good we had it compared to our cousins/friends. I think that juxtaposition is what drove us to be even more ambitious than our parents, who did way better than the rest of their respective families.


Thanks, this is helpful


In Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris interviewed Chris Sacca. Chris talks about"sweet and sour summers", where his parents split the summer shadowing white collar workers and go make him do heavy blue collar jobs. This was to show the range of work, varying quality, and skills to take from each. I'm not sure he had the fullest appreciation for the work but it certainly motivated his future direction.

To add ..
Prior to consulting I worked in manufacturing as an engineer and would talk with the mechanics. It was shocking to see some truly brilliant people doing work that could be mostly commodified. I would always ask how did you end up here? Why this job? What else do you do with your time? And the last question was key. Many of the individuals had rich and meaningful objectives outside of work. Dedication to being present for children; working in local government, non profit, religious groups; developing side hustles with innovative goals. The status wasn't always as visible and compensation fell far short but they struck an amazing balance around a content life. Others had different issues, usually challenges in their upbringing, never told they could be anything, dependencies on drugs or alcohol, physical or health impairments, similar things along these lines. They were making due the best they could.

Myself, I meandered and continue to do so. Some of those blue collar jobs were extremely enriching periods of my life. Consulting has had some great moments but can also create damaging perspectives if not careful, if only from the socioeconomic bubble we've entered into. And some of the gaps have been bridged through finding the right life partner. So I'll plus one for the diversity of learning, but also acknowledge huge opportunities can extend from learning to live through other people's shoes. If your family is decent and loving then I'd encourage the exposure.

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Imagine posting about how you're afraid to let your children rub shoulders with The Poors in case their inferior values are contagious and then getting snippy at any reply suggesting that you look down on blue collar work.

If my children spend their whole lives around people in the same class or above, I will have failed as a parent and not prepared them to understand the world they live in.


Gotta remember you're the parent and therefore have the most exposure and impact on their perception. The way my wife and I handle this is to acknowledge all jobs and careers, remind our kids everyone has choices in what they do and all of them can be valid, but continue to push hard work and education in our house. They will get it through osmosis.

Also, FWIW, I am lucky to have a few key people in my life that are blue collar but super motivated. I have a positive attitude of those kinds of jobs as long as you apply yourself and reach for better. Like Lincoln said, "whatever you choose to be, be a good one".


You should definitely only let your children spend time with people who think like you in all things.

Also, don't imagine that you might change in your own thinking as you get older. You'll always think the way you do now about money and career.


I bet they sleep thru night just fine. To each their own :)

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