Channel 19

Todd Dills

When the white collar turns blue

| July 14, 2009

This AP Story, picked up by the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper, drips with the sort of unintended condescension often seen in mainstream media’s brushstroke treatment of the subject of working, but all the same it presents a fascinating portrait as its jumping-off point: a Bear-Stearns purchasing manager laid off in July of last year after that company’s rescue from implosion by government-brokered purchase by J.P. Morgan. That manager, Patrick Greene of New York, is today driving long-haul, though the story doesn’t specify for whom.

What it does go on to mention is the name of the truck-driving school he and several others attended (some moving from the publishing business — one from newspapers, the other from books), and I feel something lurking beneath the surface here that the piece misses, something Desiree Wood (TruckerDesiree on Twitter and elsewhere) mentioned to me recently as we talked about her experience of transitioning to trucking in midlife. It’s a something that expresses the hope that comes along with entering a new profession, and given the freedom from the office environment that is the trucking profession, I can’t imagine that these transitioning office workers don’t feel quite a bit of it here, hope and the attendant excitement of new things coming up over the horizon.

And this in spite of one clearly off remark from one of them, who remarked that trucking appealed to him because he figured it was “recession-proof…”