Is Your Job White, Blue, Pink or Green-Collared?

Zoe Samuel

Image: Alex Tihonovs / EyeEm / EyeEm / Getty Images

About This Quiz

While politicians tend to only notice white- and blue-collared workers, there are actually four categories in that paradigm: white-, blue-, pink- and green-collared. The white-collared workers are the middle and management class. They typically have college degrees and they are fairly immune to automation and, at higher levels, most kinds of outsourcing. They make the most money and are likely to enjoy benefits and safe workplaces.

Blue-collar workers are who politicians mean by "the working class": miners, farmers, factory workers, etc. They used to make great money, but outsourcing and automation have taken a toll, slicing their numbers and pay. Happily, those able to adapt continuously do well, though it's often more dangerous work. They're now a minority of the working class, with the majority being politically barely visible: pink-collar workers. These are workers in the caring professions, such as caregivers, nurses, teachers, nannies, and cleaners. Some of these jobs are every bit as physical, dirty and dangerous as blue-collar work, but they are typically low paid, even when they require an advanced degree. In recent years, pink collar workers have been organizing, and solidarity and cooperation between these and blue-collared workers are starting to change the conversation.

The last group is green-collared workers. These workers are a new breed, working in the transformation to a green economy. They are a mix of knowledge workers (e.g., resiliency project manager, carbon capture engineer), manual workers (e.g., solar panel installer, wind turbine tech), and carers (e.g., community organizer). This means their green collars have blue, white and pink tips, making this a great landing pad for displaced blue-collar workers who need a job that can't be outsourced, pink-collar workers who want some darn recognition and livable pay, and white-collar workers who want to do something truly valuable.

What color is your collar? Let's find out!

Where do you work?

What sort of hat might you wear to work?

How much schooling did you need to get your job?

What TV show do you like to watch?

How do you describe yourself, socioeconomically?

What income range do you consider to be a lot of money?

Some jobs are more dangerous than others. How much danger is acceptable to you?

How often do you have to travel for work?

What do you always have with you in the workplace?

What's on your feet at work?

What's the percentage of dudes in your workplace?

What sort of bullying typically occurs in your workplace?

How replaceable do you think you are, in your boss' eyes?

What's the worst thing about your job?

What about your job makes you feel proudest?

Be honest: if you were being paid according to how much social value you actually generate during work hours, what would happen to your salary?

What's your idea of a bad workplace injury?

Do people tend to treat your profession with the respect it deserves?

Which part of you is most worn out when you finish work?

How do you get to your work?

What item would you most like to steal from your workplace – and do you ever do it?

What is the weirdest thing you've ever found at work?

Until what age do you think you could keep doing your job, exactly as it is?

What is the scariest thing about your job?

What do people assume about you when they hear what you do – and is it true?

What do politicians say about you?

Putting aside what they say: what do politicians DO about workers like you?

Do you think the next 40 years will be good for workers in your job?

Have you ever had to completely change careers?

What do you think of the "portfolio" career, i.e., where you have several parallel tracks and move between them?

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