BUX Podcast 88: Is Web Design a Blue Collar Job?

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Is web design a blue collar job?  What is blue collar and white collar in the UX / Web design world?  Ben, Jenna and I got coffeed up to hash out some answers.  Surprisingly, we came up with a few insights about the relationships within a workplace and how to approach organizational change.

Thinking about what kind of collar you wear or what kind of collar you should wear?  Are you trying to change the color of your collar?  Is your collar being changed for you?  It sounds silly, but there is more to it than you might think.We started on a simple little jaunt into a topic we have talked about before.  and, here is the result.  Listen and Enjoy!

Getting definitions out of the way

You own it, dude!

You own it, dude!

What is ‘Blue Collar’?

Factory, Industrial, Infrastructure, “The work done”, Authentic, trust-worthy, fixed cost, Value creator, selfless, narrow scope, peer-group controlled, community oriented, co-operative, internal, micro thinking, personal goals, need to know, selfless, “not so bad when you get used to it”, specialist, practical,

What is ‘White Collar’?

The business interest, Suspect, involving ethical decisions and morals, “The money side”, revenue creator, wide scope, “command and control”, Hierarchy, competitive, external, macro thinking, business goals, “Free Radical” (reactive), selfish?, “Greed is good”, generalist, theoretical,

Random Thoughts in Random Order

Understanding the mindset of your clients and people you work with can be a serious advantage

Infrastructure is blue collar work.  A template is infrastructure. A template is blue collar work.  (Apologies to Trig teachers. logic might be shaky here.)

Are there differences between Blue and White Collar web design jobs in regards to Risk? Skill Level? Flexibility? ( My quick answers.  Blue is less risky.  Skill level isn’t an issue of collar color.  White is more Flexible and rewards flexibility. )

Three ways to look a business or organization in regards to the position of a UX / web designer. The UX group is:

  • Middle-ware between the Blue and White collar elements.  They glue them together and liaison between groups
  • Pervausive within the orgainzation.  “Total Buy in” of Non-collar type workers where all participate in a UX philosophy based company.  A lean Organization.
  • Silo’ed.  UX designer is blue collar and separated from the other business units. Could be just role playing or giving ‘lip service’ to UX.  Abby the IA speach sheds light of this type of organization.

Chef / Owners on Kitchen Nightmares:  They mostly blue collar type struggling with business skills.  UX is a white collar philosophy and is harder for blue collar owners to grasp. (maybe?)

1st priority of White Collar job – Survival.

Blue collar jobs are ‘well formed problems’ and White collar jobs are ‘ill formed problems’.  When does school prepare us for white collar work.  Even university MBA’s are focused on ‘well formed problems’.

Spend time “working in” your business.  -versus-  Spend time ‘working on’ your business.

Blue collar jobs are deep.  White Collar jobs are wide.  (I’m reminded of a Don Norman post and video about Engineering education)

Everyone wants to be white collar, right? I mean, LOOK at this guy!

Everyone wants to be white collar, right? I mean, LOOK at this guy!

My Blue / White Collar UX Job final thought

I suppose my takeaway is that Blue and white Collar web design jobs and workers exist.  You are probably a hybrid of the two … let’s say you have a Carolina Blue collar. Pink, Grey, Gold and Red Collars is a thing.  Understanding your personality and position can lead to less fear, uncertainty, doubt.   And, that’s a very good thing.

Are we on target with this or are we way off base?  Please comment and let me know.  I get the feeling that this is one of those wellspring podcasts that we’ll reference it in the future.

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