I adore Mike Rowe. Never more so than when he’s talking about trade careers and so-called “dirty jobs” –
Tucker’s face when Mike told him how much a welder could make is priceless. It’s so funny when city folks realize what blue collar-types can actually make. It’s like “Dang… I’m sitting here in a suit and tie and I could be making the same amount of money getting dirty and greasy all day!”
I’m going to try to explain my thoughts on Mike Rowe and his mission and I hope I can do it justice without getting too confusing –
Sometimes, it baffles me why Mike Rowe’s message resonates the way that it does. Don’t misunderstand me – I agree with Mike Rowe 100%. Blue collar jobs like welding and mechanics are absolutely vital to society. They pay good money and you could support yourself and your family quite comfortably – and they’re pretty fulfilling. I grew up around blue collar people – maybe they went to college, maybe they didn’t. But they still were good, solid folks that you could trust to be honest with you. There’s very little cynicism or duplicity about them. Living in a bigger city, I sometimes miss that salt-of-the-earth kind of attitude.
(That’s one thing I worry about for my future kids – that they’re going to take city life for granted. Though Mr. CJ and I have talked extensively about sending our Tiny CJs to Grandpa’s ranch to move sprinkler pipe for the summer when they’re old enough. Talk about a dirty job!)
I feel like we’ve lost the message that “dirty jobs” are still worthwhile jobs. It’s like – if you had a dad who was a welder, you had to go to college and get a degree so you could be a businessman and have an easier life than your parents did. Which is an admirable sentiment on some level. But then we sent whole generations to get their degrees in business and forgot what blue collar jobs were about. Suddenly, we started looking down on blue collar work – like those people were too stupid or too poor to go to college (even though you have to be pretty intelligent to do a lot of these jobs and you have to know how to manage your finances, if you’re doing freelance work like this).
That’s probably why people are listening to Mike Rowe – the things he’s talking about use to be common knowledge. People used to take this information for granted. But, again, we put more and more emphasis on kids going to college and making lives for themselves that were somehow “better” than what their parents did. That’s not terrible – but we lost something in that emphasis. Not just skill sets that current employers are dying to find in potential employees, but also a sense of humility and hard work. A sense of respect for the working class. They have respect for themselves, but society as a whole seems to not give a crap about them.
Then a guy like Mike Rowe comes along, and blue collar America says “FINALLY! Someone who GETS it!” And before you know it, there’s a scholarship program for people looking to learn a trade and he’s got his own show, but he’s still talking about the same things he always has. He’s still the same down-to-earth blue collar dude. And sending my future kids to trade school looks more and more appealing (granted, a traditional college education is looking far less worthwhile the more I hear from college campuses. But that’s another story.)
God bless Mike Rowe.