I use blender for all my modelling
And I really like to use it. It's fully featured and exports to enough filetypes so that anything you create can be opened in any other software. The art produced from it is easily as good as the art produced from the industry standard packages. But it's having a hard time pushing in between the shoulders of the big boys.
I was looking at a few freelance boards tonight
and all the jobs had maya or max as a requirement. In fact it was almost a requirement to NOT use blender. But I'm wondering just how necessary that is. I mean, since I can export to just about any format, can't I make my stuff in blender then convert it? If I am working from my own computer in a freelance set up, they don't need to see me working in max, right? I honestly believe that working in blender would not be a burden for jobs like this.
So that's the bottom version of 'in industry' paid work, and blender could pull its weight. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a version of max or maya to test your exports in, but who's going to spend all that money for a program you won't use?
Let's go one step up the ladder
To an in house design firm. Blender is fully featured, it's not the college project one course horse it was 5 years ago. It can do all the things you need in a design/production scenario. If a firm already uses max then I can understand that the extra step of exporting from blender to max might not look very deadline friendly. But why use max to start with? Blender doesn't require you to pay for multiple licenses, it's open source so your in house coders can modify it to do anything you need it to (ok maybe max can already do that thing you need, so tick one up there, but a day of coding would still cost less than three or five max licenses), and it would allow the firm to employ me, which is a tick off the bucket list.
So, providing some allowances, blender can cut the cheese in a small firm environment too.
What about in a high tempo, stressful, triple A games development company?
Well, blender fanboys, I'm afraid this is the break. Being a blender modeler simply would not cut it in this environment. The amount of collusion required for producing high level games on budget on time does not allow for an open source whore to hog the bandwidth and clog the pipes. BUT. Blender can make games. Blender can export to the first five game engines that pop into your head, and if it can't then all you need is a bit of python know how to make an exporter. If a high tempo games company used blender then they could be every bit as successful, AND employ me.
Luckily the story doesn't end there.
What about the indies? Indie games dev just gets bigger and bigger, I think the main reasons for this is that it's what you do when you can't get a publisher, and it grants you total freedom over your creation. This is where blender comes into its own. Indie devs live on a shoestring, it's the nature of the beast, and any free software is a likely candidate. Blender is the most logical choice here (although I'll admit I haven't looked into the other free modelling options available, but we're talking about blender vs goliath, not milkshape).
All things considered
It's probably best for someone who plans on being in the industry to brush up on their max and maya skills. It pains me to say it but blender is not a resume killer in that environment. The indie scene is the place to be for blenderheads, but even then, it's hard to be anything more than another blip on the radar.
But if your art is fantastic, why should it matter where it comes from? Damn I guess I better make some fantastic art then. Because even in the indie scene I am FAR from employable...