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.
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.
What does it mean to be free?
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. They 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
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.
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 »
As someone heavily invested in the trades, I often see articles on the top-paying jobs, the jobs expecting the most growth, and similar. But one article consistently drives me crazy: "Which trade jobs are for women?"
Here's the answer: Read More »
Ask any homeowner or renter what they dread the most about home care, they will likely bring up plumbing. While some of us pick up a few skills over the years, such as unclogging a drain or replacing an old showerhead, the ins and outs of more complicated plumbing problems are often left to professionals. As a result, plumbers will always be in demand, making it a lucrative career for those looking to add to their blue-collar services or are just starting out in blue-collar work. And as aging plumbers begin to retire, this career choice will become even more financially rewarding in the coming years.
How Hard Is It to Be a Plumber?
Plumbing, like many jobs that you work with your hands, is a physically demanding job that can put a lot of strain on the shoulders and back. There may even be times that you need to work in cramped, wet, and cold environments to tackle a handful of different tasks, but experience, training, and protective equipment can keep you safe. But this is also what makes the financial reward so great, as the greatest compensation can usually come from things others aren’t willing to do. As a side benefit, the physical demands of plumbing can also help you on your fitness journey, especially if you are younger and looking to grow some muscle or lose weight. Read More »
The answer is simple - yes! The perfect storm of high demand and low supply is fueling one of the hottest markets for workers in a few decades. And with 70% of the jobs that were lost in the Spring of 2020 being recovered, things are starting to look a lot brighter for the United States.
Even so, the U.S. is facing its largest worker shortage in the last 50 years. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that 46% of small business owners have openings that they cannot fill, and 89% of small businesses are looking to hire applicants with little experience. These changes mean that now might be the best time ever to become blue-collar. Read More »
A career in welding is both stable and full of opportunities: there’s a high demand for welding skills all over the United States. In addition, fewer people are becoming craft professionals, so there’s never been a better time to enter the industry and demand high wages. Even better, a college degree is not required to be a welder. It’s a perfect option for those who prefer to learn a trade through creative exploration and hands-on projects instead of a four-year degree.
What Does a Welder Do?
In its most basic form, welding is the process of creating structures by joining two pieces of metal together using high heat. A typical day for a welder might start with reviewing blueprints, preparing materials, and putting on protective gear before starting on their projects. There are numerous techniques to weld metal. The most common methods use electricity, gas, or a combination of the two. Once the welder finishes the general build, he or she completes the process by smoothing out imperfections and applying any protective finishes or decorative touches. Read More »
If you’re looking for a recession-proof career, consider becoming a plumber. After all, people will always need toilets that flush and pipes that don’t leak. And while plumbers need to go through training and apprenticeship to be licensed in most states, they don't need a college degree, making it an attractive career path for people already handy around the house.
But what does a plumber actually do, and how much money do they make? Here’s what you need to know: Read More »
14 Six Figure Jobs That Don't Require A Degree
Think you need a college degree to earn a decent wage? Think again. As I write about in Blue Collar Cash, there are plenty of six figure jobs in the blue-collar field that don’t require four-year degrees and tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
Indeed, whether you want to work with your hands, in hospitality, or in the aviation industry, there are great jobs that pay 6 figures with just a high school diploma. Many of them are also recession-proof, meaning employees are protected from the macroeconomic environment. Read More »
Are you thinking about your career and college, but you’re just not seeing how these two pieces fit together? You’re not alone! Deciding on a career path can be exciting, but society pressures you to go to college even if it’s not a fit. Fortunately, plenty of trade jobs are in demand right now just waiting for anyone willing to get in and get their hands dirty!
If you’re looking to forge your own path, trade jobs will always be in demand, pay well, and don't require a college degree. Indeed, the number of jobs that pay $80,000 or more going unfilled while kids accumulate debt for degrees is scary. It's also exactly why I wrote Blue Collar Cash. Read More »
In August and September 2020, multiple reports came out indicating a deep need for blue-collar workers - even amid the pandemic. The need for hands-on workers is there, as many blue-collar jobs are recession-proof. Thus, these positions continue to provide excellent stability, compensation, and a life of happiness!