RNZ - Trades beat white-collar jobs for satisfaction and dollars

2 July 2018

Radio New Zealand interviewed American philosopher and motorcycle mechanic Matthew B Crawford.

The interview highlights the benefits of trades training, both in terms of wages and the satisfaction of the jobs. 

"More real thinking goes on in a bike shop than in a think tank, says Crawford in his New York Times bestseller Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. 

And he should know, as a former executive director at Washington's prestigious George C Marshall Institute.

"Cubicle" jobs separate thinking from doing, he tells Kathryn Ryan.

Both society and our education system underplay the intellectual aspect of making and fixing things with our hands, Crawford says.

“For a long time now, particularly in the Anglophone countries, we’ve had this educational monoculture where just about every kid gets pressure to go to university and get on a certain track of working in an office.”

But so-called white collar work is often not all it’s cracked up to be, he says.

It can be mind-numbing, while there is more "agency" in skilled manual work.

“The truth is a lot of people, including some who are plenty smart, would rather be learning to build things or fix things. And I think people are starting to reassess that as a trajectory, in part because this higher education bubble seems to be starting to burst.”