Beloved television host Mike Rowe offered his thoughts on the dignity of blue collar work and the noble pursuit of responsibility in a new interview with actor-turned-evangelist Kirk Cameron.
Rowe began the Takeaways discussion by explaining how his own meandering career path led to his true calling: highlighting the resiliency and dedication of the American workforce.
“Dirty Jobs came to me late in life. It was 20 years ago actually, when I was 40. And that show snuck on the air,” Rowe explained, as reported by Movieguide. “I kind of ‘Forrest Gumped’ my way into a different kind of show at the time. I realized that the country just was starving to have a conversation about the dignity of work the definition of a good job, about the willingness to get dirty, and the success that often is hidden beyond a veneer of grime or slime or mud or something much worse.”
Rowe said that the best thing to come from his first hit show was the sentiment that an honest day’s work still mattered to a society swept up in technology, social media, and entertainment.
“The best thing that came out of Dirty Jobs back in 2008 was [that] it mostly as a PR campaign for a couple million good jobs that were out there that nobody seemed to want,” Rowe said. “Typically, jobs that didn’t require a four-year degree but rather the mastery of a skill. The more I began to talk about those opportunities, the more it became clear that [they required more than a] certification. [They did not need] a diploma, or a degree, or some sort of proof from the Ivy League. It was truly a willingness to show up early, stay late, and master a skill that was in demand.”
Mike Rowe said that the American government shoulders many responsibilities, but that it shouldn’t encourage laziness
Rowe said a lot of the nation’s workforce woes began when the adage “work smarter, not harder” became popularized.
“Most good advice that turns into conventional wisdom eventually collapses under its own weight,” Rowe said. “Hard work is never the enemy. Hard work is not a bad thing. If you can work in a way that’s more efficient and more effective, that’s a good thing. But not at the expense of working hard.
“What we want today in our workforce and for our neighbors, are people who work smart and hard.”
Rowe also emphasized the importance of encouraging personal responsibility and self-sufficiency among American citizens. In his opinion, the government exists to discourage poverty, not to eradicate ambition.
“At some point [adults] simply can’t be taken care of,” Rowe said. “I just don’t believe part of being a grown-up is looking for the government to become our parent. Our government has a lot of responsibilities. And part of those responsibilities is putting policies in place that discourage poverty and encourage ambition. I don’t know that simply paying people to do nothing is going to accomplish either of those things.”