Switching from blue collar to white collar.

Postby Lakotagirl » Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:32 pm


Can I get some tips on switching from blue collar work to white collar work.

I graduated college in December, while I was in college I've always held pretty laborious jobs and even after I graduated I immediately started a bluecollar job (housekeeping). I liked my job and the people that I worked with and said I wouldn't quit but I unexpectedly got offered a job that is way more professional than I'm used to and it's in a mental health field and I get paid more money. I'm so used to wearing uniforms all the time and this will be the first time that I have to dress more professional. I'm not sure how to act around people in the professional field. From working those jobs on the bottom I'm so used to professional people pretty much being rude. On top of that my ex is getting married so I'm going through so many emotions all at the same time excitement, being nervous, and saddness altogether.

Any tips would help in the transition.
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Postby newinmay » Fri Jun 08, 2007 3:40 pm

Hi Lakota Girl,

If I was you I would go and buy a nice office outfit. Than see what it does to you. How do you feel? You might feel better once you wear the clothes.

It's fantastic that you were offered a job! WOW! That's really great. That means that somebody believes in you and sees your potential.

As about your ex: He is an ex and that's in the past: Just imagine how many doors will open when you start your new job.

This is your journey!!! Even when you feel nervous: Walk on!

On top of that: Just imagine what a great asset it is to know the blue collar world that well! The next world is only different.

With regards to the behaviour at work: When you start a new job it is a lot about observing anyway. So just keep things neutral and look at how the other people behave.

Good Luck!
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Postby 3/4's hope » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:14 am

newinmay offers great advice.

I was amazed at what wearing a tie does for me - I feel better about myself and seem to have a bit more credibiility (all about perception I guess).

Another excellent point is having the blue-collar experience, especially if you're working your way through school. That seems to draw alot of respect from your peers and potential employers.

I found the people pretty much the same only they had more money. The most awkward moments come when they talk about the things they are able to do with their money. Flying back and forth to McMansions every couple of months is still foreign to me. Some once asked what kind of exotic tile I had on my shower, I replied: Well, in the shower I rent, it's one big plastic tile that hangs from a rod.

I think it ends up being evident who is where in the economic spectrum and the conversations morph accordingly. When I walk into a meeting of high-rollers, the conversation adjusts to a level that is to comfortable to everyone and I appreciate that. And I believe that they know I appreciate it and are happy to do it. It also allows them to 'de-suit' and talk about their early careers or their blue-collar jobs. Funny how many of us have had the same blue collar experiences - it's a unifying, paid your dues, kind of thing.

But yes, observe, and then slide in. Actually, people in the cubicle still cuss, chew tobacco, smoke, cough without covering their mouths, don't wash their hands after 'going', have coffee or breakfast dripping down their shirts or something hanging out of their nose. You'll see.

I sincerely hope that helps.
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Postby ReesaWoolf » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:58 pm

Some people find it helpful to be honest about this issue with the new boss or someone of the same gender, at their level or above, who seems trustworthy. Don't jump into this until you do feel the person is safe for you.

Ask for advice and input. Dress like your bosses (the expensive clothes and the knock-offs are similar). Speak like people you admire. Volunteer your ideas in meetings so you will be perceived as a team player.

After all, just because they are white collar, they may not have massive amounts of money or live extravagantly. People are people. And most people are decent. Try going in with an open mind.

Hope this helps.
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Postby apollomed » Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:55 am

There is an old saying in management-" Not all leaders are managers-but not all managers are leaders". The dress code only serves to indicate your change in position, it doesn't change what is inside you. Some people yearn for the day when they can put on a suit instead of overalls but unless they have the ability to fulfill their role the suit is worthless. You clearly have the confidence of your bosses and any move into management is traumatic for all of us and we all make initial mistakes until get it right-that's what learning is all about. My only advice is have confidence in yourself, take things slowly, don't try to make an immediate impression in your new rols as that is sen as trying too hard, and always listne to advice and never be afraid to ask for it. The most successful managers are those who stay the same person inside and learn the new roles slowly, but never forgetting that they were also once blue collar.
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