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“Blue Collar Brilliance” by Mike Rose Essay

Rose challenges the view that intelligence can be measured by the amount of schooling a person has completed. He suggests that blue-collar and service jobs require more intelligence than meets the eye.

He describes his experiences growing up observing his mother as a waitress in coffee shops and family restaurants. He depicts his mother as a dynamic woman who loved her job and put her heart and soul into being a waitress. He described the way she memorized who ordered what, how long each dish is supposed to take to prepare, and how she became a professional at deciphering the emotional needs of her customers and colleagues alike. He also details his uncle’s work at the General Motors factory and shows the amount of intelligence that was required of him as he rose from being on the production line to supervising paint jobs. Rose explains how he observed different types of blue- collar and service workers in action, and came to the conclusion that each of them have a skill that takes a lot of mind power to master.

I agree with Rose that the amount of schooling a person complete doesn’t necessarily measure their intelligence level. Especially in today’s economy many people can’t afford to pursue higher education, and that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t make excellent doctors or lawyers if they could afford the schooling. Not everyone has the means to acquire degrees and titles; some don’t even have the desire. I believe that higher education is a worthwhile endeavor, but I also believe that it is the best route for some and not for all. Attending college is not the only way that a person can lead a happy and fulfilling life.

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