Ken Rusk

A man in a blue jacket stands at the peak of a mountain with his arms outstretched.

Choosing Your Freedom

What does it mean to be free?

I’ve asked some difficult questions during this series, but that one might take the cake. The concept of freedom can mean so many things to so many people. So before we jump into today’s lesson, let’s keep the pattern going and start with a definition.

Freedom /ˈfrēdəm/ noun – the state of being free, the absence of constraint in choice or action, not having necessity or coercion, the opportunity to pursue one’s happiness.

In my book, Blue Collar Cash, I’m more worried about true freedom. I want you to be free in your mind, in your outlook on life, free to choose how you want to spend your time and your money. And, most importantly, free to choose how you want to live your life.

If you look back at what we’ve learned about comfort and peace, you might be able to see how each one lends itself to freedom. Remember your life drawing? You can decide what things you want to surround you in your life which, in turn, gives you a lot less to think about. With those choices made, all of your stresses, anxieties, necessities, and coercions are behind you. Remember our talk about planning? You’re living a life where all you have in front of you is the anticipation of every opportunity and milestone that you’ve laid out.

That sounds pretty freeing to me.

I’d like to submit that the feeling of freedom is an emotion, and a very powerful one at that. Imagine living your life with so little negative energy that you allow your spontaneity to live and breathe. Or that you’ve got that much more bandwidth for love, affection, creativity, and charity to move in and stay as long as they’d like. How do you think your daily decisions would change if you had those guests staying upstairs instead of things like fear, anger, jealousy, or depression?

The reality is that good feelings beget good feelings. Freedom begets freedom. When you start making those deliberate decisions for yourself and how you spend your time, you’ll start to notice that you’re doing things that make you feel freer. And after taking stock of what you’re doing, you can start focusing on what you want.

There’s an incredible amount of freedom in living a life you’re in charge of. And the best part is that you already have everything you need inside of you. And you also have time. Your ultimate path to requires you to acknowledge the preciousness of your time. As short as our time on Earth may be, we’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day. You can do whatever you want with your “free time”  once you put your plan into action. You and only you get to decide what you do with that time.

You get to decide what feelings and experiences you want to have.

You get to choose your ultimate path to freedom.

Remember that.

If you’re new to this series, be sure to check out the articles on Comfort and Peace for the whole picture. And if you’re interested in some more hands-on work with my Blue Collar Cash mindset, be sure to check out The Path.

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5 Top-Paying New Collar Jobs

When it comes to the American job market, we typically think of things as either white collar or blue collar. The folks that sit behind the desks and the folks who go out there and get their hands dirty. It’s a helpful delineation when it comes to the work being done, but that line is getting more and more blurry as time goes on.

Enter the new collar worker.

I’ve written about new collar jobs in the past, but here’s a refresher in case you missed it: New collar jobs are in fields that have been historically considered white collar, like tech, healthcare, and the mortgage industry. They are classified by their soft-skills and vocational training, and don’t necessarily have to include a four-year degree.

And here’s the kicker: According to an  article from ZIpRecruiter, some of these jobs can pay well over six figures. And some companies are actively removing things like minimum education requirements in an effort to get more of these workers.

Today, we’re going to look at a few of the highest-earning new collar jobs.

Ruby on Rails Developer

Average Salary: $115,514

Job Description: Ruby on Rails developers write server-side web applications in Ruby using the Rails framework. Developers build back-end components to help their applications interact with third-party web services and help front-end developers integrate their interfaces with the application.

Education Requirements: More than 75% of Ruby on Rails have bachelor’s degrees, according to Zippia, but it’s not a requirement to enter the field.

If you’d like to learn Ruby on Rails, you can visit CodeAcademy, Go Rails, or check out this great list on Medium.

Nuclear Power Reactor Operators

Average Salary: $111,220

Job Description: Nuclear Power Reactor Operators control nuclear reactors by adjusting control rods, which affects the amount of electricity the reactor generates. The monitor other critical systems like turbines, generators, and cooling systems and adjust as needed and record any data produced.

Education Requirements: According to Indeed, the job doesn’t require advanced schooling past a high school diploma or GED. They do recommend attending a vocational school with relevant programs to the field, and all Nuclear Power Reactor Operators are required to be licensed through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

For a list of vocational schools by state, check out Real Work Matters. And for more information on the NRC licensing program, check out the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission website.

Senior Web Developer

Average Salary: $99,632

Job Description: Senior Web Developers design, build, and optimize websites and other online applications. They’re familiar with various programming languages and search engine optimization best practices, and can work as a part of a larger team or on a freelance basis.

Education Requirements: While more than 67% of Senior Web Developers have a bachelor’s degree, according to Zippia, most programmers are actually self-taught. If you’d like to learn to become a Senior Web Developer from the comfort of your own home, check out Code Academy or check out this extensive list from Learn To Code With Me.

Mortgage Protection Specialist

Average Salary:$92,074

Job Description: Mortgage Protection Specialists sell homeowners protection products like final expense insurance and mortgage protection insurance.

Education Requirements: According to ZipRecruiter, most Mortgage Protection Specialists have a bachelor’s degree but it isn’t required to enter the field. The minimum requirements for the field are a high school diploma, a current life insurance license, and a valid driver’s license. Previous sales or marketing experience is also a plus!

For more information on life insurance licensing by state, visit the National Insurance Producer Registry.

Medical Sonographers

Average Salary:$75,380

Job Description: Medical sonographers use imaging equipment called ultrasounds to form images of various parts of the body. They are trained to acquire and analyze these sonographic images.

Education Requirements: There are several different options for education to become a Medical Sonographer, but the most common is a two-year degree from an accredited sonography training program. There are also bachelor’s degrees available, as well as one-year programs for folks that are already in the healthcare field.

To find more information on accredited ultrasound technician programs near you, visit Ultrasound Schools Info.

So if you’re not going to college and a blue collar job isn’t in your future, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options out there to help you live your best life without a four-year degree. Read More »

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Finding Peace AKA Blue Collar Zen

In my opinion, every person’s ideal future requires establishing their own version of Comfort, Peace, and Freedom. We’ve already covered what comfort means in this context and now it’s time to talk about peace.

What is peace?

That’s a hard question, right? There are so many types of peace that we’re always striving for. There’s peace of mind, peace and quiet, and even the ever-elusive world peace. Before we jump into the lesson for today, let’s and start with a definition.

Peace /pēs/ noun: in a general sense, a state quiet or tranquility, freedom from disturbance, to temper the mind.

As you can see, “peace” is normally a calm state, but the peace we’re talking about is actually a bit different. My peace can only be attained by making a conscious choice to pursue your ideal future, and in my version you can work hard all day long, even in discomfort, and still experience peace, as long as you are aware that your work is getting you closer to your ideal future. Think of this version of peace as more like the working person’s Zen – a kind of blue-collar coolness, if you will. Read More »

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