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👕 The rise of new collar workers
April 20, 2022
PLUS: German grocery chains are taking over America.
MIT researchers have determined it’s impossible — even in a lab using their custom-built “Oreometer” — to split an Oreo cookie with the creme evenly distributed on both wafers. “That’s just not how the physics works,” Ph.D. candidate and lead author Crystal Owens said.
In today’s email:
New collars: Blue-collar workers are switching to white-collar jobs.
Feature story: The 1st “Easter eggs” were a rebellion.
German grocers: Americans love them.
Around the web: The 1st detective story, an interactive tale, a bot search engine, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark and Zack discuss how the workweek is being reinvented, differentiating time vs. task, the impact of moving off the 40-hour workweek, and more.
The big idea
What’s a ‘new collar’ worker?
For decades, the workforce has been divided by the colors of its collars.
You’ve got “white-collar” jobs (AKA desk jobs), and you’ve got “blue-collar” jobs, which usually entail manual labor — think construction, landscaping, and food services.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, a combination of macro factors have led to a new trend — workers switching collars.
“New collar” workers…
… are workers who previously held low-paying hourly roles or blue-collar jobs, and transitioned to jobs in tech.
The trend was sparked by a simple equation:
More tech jobs are available as technology injects itself into every industry.
Fewer workers: The pandemic kicked off the Great Resignation, leading many people to quit or switch jobs, and leaving tech companies desperate for hires.
This gap created an opportunity for front-line workers to make a career change and benefit from the flexibility, upward mobility, and higher pay the tech sector offers.
What does this mean for higher ed?
The trend is rewriting conventional wisdom around the qualifications necessary to get a tech job — many “new collar” workers aren’t college grads.
Instead, they’re using a combination of cheaper online alternatives to level up, including:
Skill platforms, like Pluralsight and LinkedIn Learning
Coding bootcamps, like the Flatiron School
YouTube tutorials, which are totally free
Tech companies are adapting accordingly. Okta, which makes identity security software, removed degree requirements for many sales roles, and IBM and CVS are helping inexperienced applicants hone tech skills on the job.
And this is just the beginning
A recent study by [email protected], a nonprofit, found there are 32m Americans who lack college degrees but have the skills to transition to higher income jobs.
Pair that with rising interest in coding — the relative Google search interest for “learn coding” was 292% higher in January 2022 than 10 years prior — and it’s easy to see how “new collar” could become the new normal.
Meow: The makers of card game “Exploding Kittens” — the result of an $8.7m+ Kickstarter campaign — are partnering with Netflix on a new mobile game and animated series. #ecommerce-retail
Fish-friendly: A study determined that the 1st offshore wind farm in the US doesn’t hurt fish. But fish do seem to enjoy hanging out by the turbines’ foundations. #clean-energy
Paging Moxi: Robots are helping stressed hospital workers. The Moxi makes deliveries that, while simple, can save nurses time. #emerging-tech
Much meme: Memestonk AMC announced it will accept meme crypto, including Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, as popcorn and ticket payment via its app. #fintech-crypto
Uber is no longer requiring riders or drivers to wear face masks, following a federal judge’s decision to dismiss a mandate for masks on public transit. #big-tech
The first ‘Easter eggs’ were an act of corporate rebellion
In August 1980, Atari’s consumer relations division received a handwritten letter from a 15-year-old boy.
“I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR COMPUTER,” he wrote, using all-caps.
The boy, Adam Clayton, had been playing “Adventure” — a 1980 game in which the player journeys through various rooms in search of a golden chalice — when he discovered something strange.
Clayton accessed a secret room that was mostly bare aside from a message that read, “Created by Warren Robinett.”
Clayton was confused. “COULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS,” he wrote in his letter.
But Atari’s employees were just as mystified. They had no idea what the kid was talking about.
And unbeknownst to them, hidden behind the message was a story of corporate subversion.
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